Impact OASIS is proposing to create a Transitional
Residential/Adult Independent Learning (TRAIL) Center that will
provide young adults with autism a unique experience parallel to
their non-disabled peers once they graduate from high school. After
High School most young adults have a first opportunity to live on
their own. Some go on to college; others may get a job and an
apartment. Both begin to learn how to manage their own lives more
independently; from ensuring there’s food in their homes to
learning how to manage their time and take on adult role
responsibilities such as work, continuing education or other type
of community role.
This process starts, for most young adults, at the age of eighteen.
For individuals with autism they are entitled to an education from
their local Board of Education until twenty-one, hence delaying
this move towards independence four years later than their peers.
This service would remove that gap in terms of Real Life Skills
growth by affording them the opportunity to move out on their own
and experience the world the same way as their peers.
The OASIS TRAIL center will not only benefit individuals with
autism, but the community at large. The center will be adjacent to
open space that can be utilized for recreation by all community
members. Visitors will be welcome to observe our organic farm and
learn from our example of “green” living. The focus of our farming
practices is to be sustainable and environmentally responsible. We
will be open to ideas to help educate our children and community
members about these practices. Additionally, we will be providing
the community with employment opportunities and healthy
The OASIS TRAIL Center will provide the following services to
assist in facilitating the transition from the role of student to
that of an adult for those served:
• Residential/Habilitation services
• Vocational services
• Respite services
• Continuing education (focus will be on language comprehension and
usage and social skills training)
The OASIS TRAIL center will be open throughout the calendar year.
From September through May, six to eight individuals will reside at
the facility, parallel to that of a college dormitory. There will
also be the capacity to take on six-eight day students. These
individuals will be able to go home on weekends and holidays, as
any college student may choose. During the day these residents will
participate in a variety of activities and groups, dependent upon
their needs. In the early afternoon, when they return from their
morning chores, residents will learn to utilize their time and
maximize their independence by participating in an array of
exercises designed to facilitate their move towards greater
independence. Learning how to utilize personal time; how to manage
one’s finances; how to determine preferences, interests and
hobbies, and self advocate for their needs and dreams will be built
in to their daily schedules.
Starting in June the OASIS TRAIL Center will become a
“camp/respite” center for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Specialized educational programs will be set-up to meet the unique
needs of teenagers on the autism spectrum. Other specific programs
will cater to higher-functioning autistic individuals and include
special reading programs and an integrated social experience.
Respite weeks will be planned to compliment the local summer school
The OASIS TRAIL center will provide housing for to eight
individuals with autism from eighteen to twenty-six years old.
These individuals will all have semi-private rooms and share a
kitchen and other amenities of a “farm” environment. Skill building
may include, but not be limited to daily living skills such as
grooming and meal preparation; healthy eating and living choices;
housekeeping skills; self awareness and advocacy strengthening;
money management, etc. Learning how to utilize one’s leisure time
will also be part of the planning in order to ensure that personal
energies can be directed to as many personally productive
activities as possible throughout one’s day.
The OASIS TRAIL center will also serve as a Vocational site.
Potential opportunities for vocational skill- building and job
training may include:
• Gardening and nursery skills
• Animal Care
• Farming skills
• Creative arts utilizing flowers & plants
• Catering opportunities/Food Service
• Operating a Retail business selling arts and organically grown
The OASIS TRAIL center will also be utilized by the students for
recreational purposes. Such recreation will include, but not be
• Bike Riding
• Music lessons
• Art lessons
• Dance lessons
As stated above, the facility will be used as a Respite/Camp
facility from June through September. Summer programs will be
posted on our website.
Consumers to be Served
Individuals with autism between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six
will utilize the facility from September through May each year.
These individuals will demonstrate a desire to live on their own
similar to their siblings and non-disabled peers. Individuals
served will be able to function within a certain skills frame in
order to ensure that appropriate staff supervision is available to
support these individuals in their experience. Individuals will be
screened and a team of professionals will review applicants and
ensure that the supports available will match the individuals’
needs in order to ensure their own protection and welfare at all
times. Parental or family participation will also be a
Process used to develop proposal
This proposal was created one hundred percent by the input of
families and parents based upon their children’s needs and desires.
IMPACT families have become cognizant that their children with
autism were not being afforded the same opportunities as their
other children once they became adolescents and young adults. While
their nondisabled siblings were beginning to attend college and
work part-time, these individuals were still at home, dependent
upon their parents and/or other family members for entertainment
and activities once they completed school for the day/week. This
often becomes complicated when parents are balancing the needs of
other family members (including themselves); their careers, and the
time it takes to complete routine chores that go into the running
of a household.
While other families go through the natural process of their
children becoming more independent and leaving home these families
were becoming more stressed. The needs of adolescent/young adult
are far different than that of a child, and involve much more
planning and time to ensure that they can be productively engaged
in activities of choice. Complicate this with the additional needs
of full time support during these leisure activities, and families
have no time to run errands and/or manage their own personal
As a result, these families came together to explore where the gap
was between their children with challenges and other children in
their families. They noted that while the other children were off
and running in their late High School years, the children with
challenges not only were in school while residing at home for an
additional four years, but also in need of more intensive supports
when engaging in community-based age-appropriate activities. This
became the seed to look for an alternative experience that would
parallel the developmental process of other teenager and young
adults in the family. The group then began to formulate the
aforementioned concept and is now seeking funding and support to
convert this concept to reality.