Explore Our Programs

Overview

Aspire programs are designed for teens and young adults who identify with an ASD, Asperger’s or similar social profile. Participants come to Aspire with a broad range of abilities, interests and personalities, and they all have the potential to grow and change. Success and personal growth look different in every individual we serve.

At Aspire, we create a safe space where our teen participants feel supported and empowered to make individual choices and advocate for their own needs and preferences. Our process begins with Aspire staff getting to know each participant as an individual and learning more about their unique strengths and abilities, areas for growth, personal goals, and special interests.

Through our multi-disciplinary approach, our experienced staff help teen participants to develop their self-awareness and begin to define how they relate to the world around them; manage their own stress and anxiety effectively; and increase their independence and social confidence. 

For our teen participants, skill development may include setting and achieving personal goals, developing and maintaining relationships, community living skills, increasing emotional awareness and capacity to manage stress, and fostering a sense of self that values their uniqueness and recognizes their strengths.

Aspire’s year-round teen programming includes weekly social groups, special events, and summer Explorations and Transitions programs. View our current teen programming schedule here

School Year

Teen social groups meet during the academic year, once per week for 75-90 minutes. Participants are “matched’ in a peer cohort of four to eight participants, led by Aspire staff. By placing participants in small, similar-age peer groups, staff are able to provide “real-life” opportunities for learning and skill-building around special interests that are inherently motivating to our participants. Aspire group leaders use the excitement and motivation of these shared passions to teach and practice skills through structured activities and with the support of real-time feedback.

Group themes may change annually. Examples of teen group themes include college explorations, cooperative gaming, film club, college transitions, and trivia group.

During our Fall and Spring sessions Aspire also runs Explorations, a Saturday group that meets for four hours in the afternoon each week. This unique program provides teens with an opportunity to learn practical life skills while participating in supported recreational and social activities out in the community. During weekly outings, teens learn money management, trip planning, using public transportation, peer negotiation and time management.

Special events provide additional opportunities for our teen participants to make new connections, practice developing skills across settings, and learn from shared experiences. Aspire staff provide structured fun using highly motivating activities to facilitate engagement in a group setting.

For more information, follow this link to view our School Year Frequently Asked Questions.

Summer

Explorations is a six-week weekday summer program where teens, aged 14-19 years old, participate in supported recreational and social activities while learning a variety of practical life skills out in the community. Topics include money management, trip planning, using public transportation, peer negotiation and time management. Teens are placed into small cohorts of 5-6 participants. Throughout the summer, participants will have opportunities to engage with other cohorts and participants within the program. Participants are encouraged to balance their needs with those of the group. Community trips take place throughout the metro Boston area (Faneuil Hall, Prudential Center, movie theater, bowling, museums, and restaurants) and typically utilize public transportation. 

Transitions is a six-week weekday summer program where young adults, aged 16-22 years old, participate in group activities and practice skills that support the transition to work and college environments. Participants are placed at a volunteer work site two days per week where they receive job coaching and career skill training. Participants are placed at the volunteer work sites in groups of three participants with one Aspire Transition Specialist on site. When not at their work site, participants engage in college exploration, recreational activities, and team-building activities within a larger group of their peers.

View samples of the Explorations and Transitions schedules.

For more information, follow this link to view our Explorations and Transitions Frequently Asked Questions.

College Coaching

Aspire offers college coaching services to support students, aged 14-22 years, with the exploration of and transition to college. For pre-college students, Aspire coaches work collaboratively with teens and parents to set personal goals for college and explore programs supportive of neurodiverse students. Once in college, our individualized coaching is available to help address goals and needs in the following areas:

  • Making connections on campus
  • Strategies to improve executive function and adulting skills
  • Skill building in the area of self-advocacy
  • Facilitating access to supportive services
  • Support for wellness and mental health needs.

College Coaching Fee:  $150 per 50-minute session.  Sessions may be conducted in-person or virtually.