First Place Transition Academy operated by SARRC

First Place® Transition Academy operated by SARRC

The First Place Transition Academy, operated by SARRC, is a two-year intensive and comprehensive community-based program designed to transition young adults with autism to living independently in the community. Within the Transition Academy program, SARRC uses applied behavior analysis (ABA) teaching strategies to work on independent living skills such as daily living, and social and employment skills. These skills are taught through a 32-course sequence culminating in a life skills certificate. Courses of the Learn4Idependence® curriculum include advocacy, safety, personal finances, conflict resolution, interpersonal relationships, food and nutrition, transition and career education and much more, all completed at various community college campuses. Students receive direct training on and practice all skills taught in the classroom. Paid internship programs are also available, with the goal of employment by graduation.

First Place® AZ

Founded in 2012 by SARRC co-founder Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ develops new residential models that maximize independence, community integration, personal enrichment and quality of life by supporting individuals with autism and other special abilities to live more independently. First Place–Phoenix is the first such innovative residential property that leverages the benefits of a supportive urban community. Within walking distance of public transit, residents are connected to jobs, friends, lifelong education, healthcare, recreation and culture.

First Place–Phoenix includes three main components:

  • 55 studio, one- and two-bedroom First Place Apartments for lease by residents and supported by a suite of independent living services and amenities.
  • The two-year, tuition-based Transition Academy, operated by SARRC, for 32 students annually transitioning to more independent living and who reside at First Place in year one and off campus in year two.
  • The First Place Global Leadership Institute, inspired by a national faculty of experts, advancing the continued education and training of support service providers, professionals and physicians while serving as a robust site for research and public policy.

Qualification for the First Place Transition Academy

First Place Transition Academy program participants have a range of abilities and disabilities. They must also share the common goal to live independently in their own homes. A participant must demonstrate a combination of motivation and interest in independence and basic living and safety skills, as well as a willingness to participate in instruction, employment and clinical programs. The family must also commit to supporting the participant in their independent living pursuits and allow for the benefits of natural consequences and important life lessons. Learn more about the qualifying criteria.

Partnership with GateWay Community College

Through this partnership, Transition Academy students enrolled at GateWay Community College in Phoenix can pursue a non-credit certificate in Independent Living Skills and Career Development. Students receive their certificates after successfully completing four semesters of the Learn4Independence® curriculum coursework. This certificate is unique to the Maricopa County Community College District.

Learn More

For more information, visit First Place online to learn more about the Transition Academy’s qualifying criteria and/or complete the contact us form to apply. Student evaluations and enrollment are underway.