learning social skills

The St. Louis Arc is excited to introduce Next! Next provides focused, impactful supports for individuals with autism or learning differences.

What is Next?

Next provides focused, impactful supports for individuals with autism or learning differences. This division of the St. Louis Arc helps individuals navigate what is next in various aspects of their lives.

Many individuals with autism or learning differences don’t need the intense support that most Arc programs offer. Next currently includes two program areas, Launch and Connect. The programs in Next helps individuals find their motivation, navigate support, and celebrate when goals are reached. Focused support can be provided to:

  • connect with the community
  • build personal and professional relationships
  • continue education
  • live independently

Transitioning to Adulthood

The Arc’s newest program, Launch, is designed for teens and young adults, age 16-25, who are interested in taking the next step toward their future. This program offers a combination of one-on-one coaching sessions and group classes to identify and work toward an individual’s goals.

“The real world can be intimidating,” says Gabrielle Szarek, Director of Transition Services. “Launch provides an environment for teens and young adults to learn about the possibilities around them and the resources they can access so they can feel more confident in the choices they make as it leads to the future they want to live.”

Through Launch, individuals will enhance their interpersonal and self-management skills in order to achieve goals in the areas of relationship development, education, employment, and independent living. We invite anyone interested in the program to attend our Open House on Tuesday, June 4 from 4 – 6 p.m. or to contact us for more information.

Connecting Adults

The Arc’s Connect program continues to guide adults, ages 25 and up, as they maximize their independence and plan for the future. “Connect is all about finding the right people with whom to collaborate,” says Beth Moeller, Director of Community Living. “We can all move forward much more safely and successfully with a network around us, than if we tried alone.”

For individuals interested in moving out on their own in the near future, or who already live on their own, Connect can provide support. A variety of community and one-on-one supports are offered, including apartment searching, finding a roommate, and budgeting. Additionally, opportunities are provided to connect with and build meaningful relationships in the community.

Social Opportunities

Next offers opportunities for individuals to meet new people, stay active, and have fun with a variety of social activities. From social gatherings to workshops, individuals can build on their social skills while making connections within their community. Established programs such as Meetups and Bounce Forward will continue and we are looking forward to introducing new opportunities in the future.

For additional information or resources on transitioning to adulthood, contact Gabrielle Szarek, Director of Transition Services, at 314-817-2255. To learn more about getting involved in Connect, contact Beth Moeller, Director of Community Living at 314-817-2271.

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