young adults hanging out with Next

The St. Louis Arc is excited to announce the expansion of Launch into St. Charles County and Jefferson County. With the support of funding from DDRB and DD Advocates, the expansion offers qualifying residents of St. Charles County and Jefferson County free access to the virtual Launch program.  

Next and Launch

In 2019 the St. Louis Arc launched Next, a new area of services that provides focused, impactful supports for individuals with autism or learning differences. Understanding that not everyone needs the same level of support, these programs support individuals as they navigate what is next in various aspects of their lives. Individuals choose the areas they want to progress in, whether living independently, connecting with their community, or building personal and professional relationships. 

A successful part of Next has been the Launch program. Launch works with young adults, ages 16-25, who are interested in taking the next step to plan for their future. With a combination of one-on-one coaching sessions and peer group classes, individuals identify and work toward self-identified goals. While each goal is different, basic transferable skills are taught throughout the program. Launch staff encourage self-management and accountability. Working on skills such as organization and time management support individuals in not only achieving their identified goal, but the skills also transfer to individuals gaining greater independence and personal responsibility throughout their lives. 

Virtual Classes and Support

Over the past year, Launch has been successful in offering individual and group sessions in a virtual format. Courses that focus on in-the-home skills, such as cleaning or cooking, have provided participants the opportunity to immediately practice the skills they are learning. Additionally, socializing with peers online has reduced the anxiety often associated with starting a new program or meeting new people. Individuals who may be shy or are working to improve their speech are able to comfortably use the chat feature or work in small breakout rooms with peers.  

Begin Today

Launch has seen many successes in just a few short years. Participants of Launch have achieved many small and large goals from obtaining jobs and driver’s permits to trying online dating. The Launch program and staff have also been recognized nationally for their work supporting young adults as they navigate their next steps.  

If you or someone you know is self-motivated and would like to begin working toward their next goals, contact JR Johnson to learn more about Launch and begin the intake process.