Overview

Aspire offers a safe and caring environment where teens, with a high cognitive autism spectrum disorder or related social profile, learn to make positive social connections and transition successfully into young adulthood. Programs are designed to meet the adolescent's need to be part of a group while exploring their strengths and healthy independent living skills.

 

School Year Groups

 

New Teen Design Challenge Group!

If you are interested in technology or engineering - this group might be for you! "Hackathons" encourage people to come together to solve problems, be creative and collaborate with each other for a common goal. Every step of the design cycle process builds life skills like self awareness, social competency and stress management. In this group we will address these life skills while engaging in the engineering design cycle process. Group members will work collaboratively to design, build and test their prototypes. Teens will analyze, create, problem solve, think creatively and critically which will prepare them to be an active participant at the Design Challenge event and make a difference!0


Social Groups: 

Social Groups focus on social skills and improving social competence by teaching ways of thinking and being social, life skills, relationship and friendship development as well as stress management and self-awareness. The group’s objectives are to give teens the opportunity to practice skills and to see themselves as part of a community of learners. The group is structured around interest-based activities, supportive discussions, social coaching, direct instruction, and community outings.

Women’s Group:

The Women’s Group is a safe space to discuss the unique demands that young women face in daily life. Examples of discussion topics include:  navigating peer and romantic relationships, advocating for yourself in the classroom or on the job and in your relationships. We will also discuss ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and developing coping skills to use in the real world. Examples include self-advocacy skills (e.g., learning about your own unique needs and how to get what you need and want from relationships, school, and/or work), stress management skills (e.g., relaxation and self-care skills), and social competency skills (e.g., ways to effectively communicate with others at home, work, and/or school). A particular focus will be placed on how to utilize these skills outside of group as well.

Magic: The Gathering:

Magic: The Gathering was the first trading card game created and currently has 20 million players. In this group, participants will engage around the shared interest of Magic and will have opportunities to initiate and develop positive social connections with peers.  Specific focus will be placed on improving skills related to social competency and helping adults generalize these skills to other settings.  Additionally, participants will receive feedback and reflect on their unique strengths and challenges in a group setting.  To create a level playing field, the vast majority of games will be played with cards and decks provided by Aspire – participants will have opportunities to create decks from a collective bank of cards as well as participate in a draft tournament. *Magic: The Gathering will be run as either an Adult or Teen group, depending upon interest.

Games Group: 

Board Games provide opportunities to engage with peers around a shared interest, have positive social experiences, and develop relationships.  In this group the participants will have options to play board games such as Settlers of Catan or Pandemic.  Through playing the games, participants will practice perspective taking, communication and collaborations skills.  Also, participants will be engaged in reflection about skills that help improve social competency and build relationships with peers.

Guild Chronicles

Guild Chronicles invites players to imagine themselves as heroes in an interactive story with fantasy themes. Participants must work together to overcome challenges while exploring situations, themes, and story elements that allow them to practice their developing social skills. Through playing the game, group members develop valuable communication and collaboration skills, perspective taking, active listening, and flexibility. Teaching and discussions are built-in allowing for skills to generalize outside of the group setting. Guild Chronicles groups focus on improving social competency, increasing self-awareness, and learning to manage stress by playing a highly engaging fantasy game. See flyer for more information.

Explorations

Explorations is a Saturday program where teens, ages 14-19, participate in supported recreational and social activities while learning a variety of practical life skills in the community. Topics include: money management, trip planning, using public transportation, peer negotiation, and time management. Participants are encouraged to balance their needs with those of the group. Community trips take place throughout the metro Boston area (e.g. Faneuil Hall, Prudential Center, movie theatre, bowling, museums and restaurants) and typically utilize public transportation. 

College Mentorship:

College Mentorship is a program designed to help college student’s transition and adjust to college/university life throughout the academic year. The program aims to help college students learn various social and executive functioning skills needed to thrive in college both academically and socially. College staff and student mentors are trained by Aspire staff to work with mentees on their college campuses to use their campus resources effectively and appropriately while gaining independence and self-advocacy skills.

College Social Group:

The College Social Group is a safe space to discuss the unique social challenges and opportunities for neurodiverse students enrolled part or full time in a local college or university. Various topics will be explored and discussed including connecting with peers and professors in the classroom, joining and/or starting campus organizations or clubs, attending social events on and off campus, and engaging in self-advocacy to communicate needs to professors, peers, and university staff members. In addition to participation in group sessions, group members will also take part in a brief bi-weekly phone call or contact through a technology platform. The purpose of this individual coaching is to provide an opportunity to foster generalization of social skills outside of the session in the college/university setting (e.g., to help follow-through with initiation of a social event on campus; trouble shoot self-advocacy efforts with a professor).

 

 

Summer

College Boot Camp

College Boot Camp helps college bound high school seniors and young adults transition into college. In this one-week summer program, participants learn about campus life, how to connect with peers, how to decode a syllabus, and access resources. This program will help to enhance participants’ self-advocacy, time management, organizational skills and awareness of learning and communication styles. Participants learn about the differences between the structure, as well as the academic and social expectations, of high school and college.

 

Explorations:

Now in two locations: Charlestown and Newton!

Explorations is a week-day program where teens, ages 14-19, participate in supported recreational and social activities while learning a variety of practical life skills in the community. Topics include: money management, trip planning, using public transportation, peer negotiation, and time management. Participants are encouraged to balance their needs with those of the group. Community trips take place throughout the metro Boston area (e.g. Faneuil Hall, Prudential Center, movie theatre, bowling, museums and restaurants) and typically utilize public transportation. 

 

Transitions

Transitions is a program that offers youth ages 16-22 opportunities to take part in experiences and practice skills that help with the transition to work and college environments. Participants are placed at a volunteer working site two days per week and receive job-coaching, career skill training, and college exploration, and engage in team-building experiences.

 

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