The transition program (students 18-22 years) at Giant Steps individualizes programming to meet the specific needs of each student based on their transition plan (starting at 14 1/2 years). 

Focus is on: 

  • Life enrichment skills : Preparing students to engage in the world around them – Helping students to take part in new activities that may serve as lifelong hobbies 
  • Functional living skills : Preparing meals, grooming, responsibility for personal items, doing laundry, cooking, etc. 
  • Vocational readiness skills: Community engagement skills : Students take part in a community outing 1 day per week to practice generalizing skills outside of the Giant Steps environment and interact with community members. 
    • Jobs around school : Paper retriever, loading vending machine, snack cart, library, stocking, and much more
    • Volunteer opportunities in the community : Hilton Hotel, Lisle Bowling, Hobby Lobby, and We Grow Dreams are some of the current placements Giant Steps students have volunteered
  • Sensory regulation : Every student has a sensory diet which is proactively implemented to help keep them regulated and ready to learn throughout the day 
  • Increasing leisure and recreational skills : Teaching students how to appropriately engage in a variety of social activities

Transition Community

The focus of community based instruction is on job readiness skills, increased independence, and functional academics, as well as, if appropriate, jobs in and out of the building.  Each learning environment can include individual as well as small group (2-4 students) based instruction.  The curriculum is catered to the individual needs of the students and focuses on collaborating with the family on the transition plan and planning for the future of the student once the student graduates from  the therapeutic day school at 22 years.

For the students in vocational track, they may work on goals that build their independence and job readiness skills through participating in student jobs such as cleaning, stocking collecting attendance, recycling, and cafe cart.  Students may also participate in volunteer jobs at community job placements such as the Hilton Hotel  Buffalo Wild Wings, Lisle Bowling, Hobby Lobby and We Grow Dreams.  The transition students also participate in weekly shopping trips.  Embedded throughout the classroom and academic sessions are Special Rec, Technology, and Creative Media.  Transition students also participate in Community Outings one full day a week.

Therapeutic Programming

Transition students receive music therapy, social work, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.  Additional therapeutic programming allows students the opportunity to generalize skills in a variety of settings.  Some examples of ways therapies have been integrated for transition students at Giant Steps:

  • Special Recreation - weekly swimming program using space donated by local hotel
  • Animal - assisted therapy utilizing two full-time therapy dogs
  • "Chargers" group - works on anger management and self-regulation
  • Hair-cut programs - systematic desensitization which allows students to tolerate haircuts
  • Integration of membership in "clubs" including theater Club, Comedy Club, Running Club, as well as others.

Staffing   Staffing is based on student need level.  At Giant Steps, we understand that the need level of students can vary from day to day, which is why we use flex staffing.  We also understand the need for students to build independence throughout their lives.  We also understand the need for students to build independence throughout their lives.  We allow the students to work as independently as possible while still giving them the supports they need to be successful in a variety of environments.