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Navigating the Future



Preparing Neurodivergent Teens for Summer Employment and Beyond


At Spectra Centers, our primary focus is to prepare our students for the next stage of their life.


Preparing students with autism and neurodivergent behaviors for adulthood and life after graduation is a journey that requires thoughtful planning, support, and encouragement. 


As these young adults approach graduation, it’s essential to explore a range of post-secondary pathways that align with their interests and strengths, whether that be college programs, trade schools, or other opportunities.


Internships and Work Experience


Hands-on experience can be incredibly beneficial. Internships or volunteer opportunities in fields of interest can provide practical insights and help students gauge their preferences and capabilities in real-world settings. These experiences not only build confidence but also enhance resumes for future applications. 


At Spectra Centers, we encourage our high school age students to find internship and part time job opportunities early on in order to find certain types of jobs that they can get excited about.


Many companies are discovering the value of hiring neurodivergent employees and are seeking them out. Thrive Autism Coaching has put together a list of the top companies recognized for their inclusive hiring practices.


In Colorado specifically, the Colorado Neurodiversity Chamber of Commerce (CNDCC) has also compiled a list of job resources for neurodiverse individuals


Developing Life Skills


Fostering independence through life skills training is crucial. Skills such as time management, self-advocacy, and financial literacy equip students for the demands of adult life, whether in academic settings or daily activities. 


At Spectra Centers, much of our curriculum is designed around incorporating these behavioral and social skills into our day in order to develop structure around simple routines and instill a sense of responsibility and independence within the student. 


Finding Community


Support groups and mentorship programs can offer valuable guidance and a sense of community. Connecting with peers and mentors who have navigated similar paths can provide encouragement, advice, and a sense of belonging. 


While at Spectra Centers, these students are finding community within their classrooms and peer-groups. After graduation, it can be hard to find a similar sense of belonging. 


In the Denver area, there are young adult groups that meet regularly to build community and offer resources to young adults with autism.


The Autism Community Center in Aurora hosts a Metro Autism Consortium, or M.A.C., on the second Saturday of each month. More information about this and other events can be found on the Autism Community Store website


College Opportunities


Exploring educational institutions and programs that offer strong support services for neurodivergent students can make a significant difference. Many colleges now provide specialized resources to aid in the transition and ensure a supportive learning environment. 


The University of Denver offers two programs to assist students with special needs. Through their Disability Services Program (DSP) and their Learning Effectiveness Program, students are provided a range of accommodations to facilitate higher education. More information about these programs offered by the University of Denver can be found here


Trade School Opportunities


College is not the only option after graduation. Attending a trade school after high school can offer unique benefits, specifically for young adults with autism or neurodivergent behaviors. 


Presenting a practical and focused path to a fulfilling career, trade schools typically offer a more structured learning environment, an emphasis on skill mastery, and can offer a fast-track into the workforce. 


Additionally, the shorter duration of programs and smaller class sizes allow for more personalized attention and support which can align with the strengths of many neurodivergent individuals. 


There are several highly esteemed vocational programs within Colorado that each offer specific training for various industries. Click here to see a list of accredited and online learning programs available in Colorado


Then there is TACT (Teaching the Autism Community Trades), whose mission is to empower the next generation of full spectrum adults by providing the education and training for skilled trade professions. TACT offers a wide range of programs from workshops and summer camps to career tracks and job coaching. Some of these programs are even designed for younger ages. To find out more about TACT and what programs are available, visit their website at www.buildwithtact.org


The Road Ahead


At Spectra Centers, we want to empower neurodivergent students and students with autism to confidently step into their futures, ready to face any challenge and embrace the opportunities that await them. 


For additional resources for job seekers, be sure to visit www.hireautism.org and www.thespectrumcareers.com


And to learn more about Spectra Centers and the services we offer, please visit www.spectracenters.org/contact-us or reach out to us directly at (303) 665-6800. We would love to talk with you and see how we can be of service. 







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Our Location

7205 West 120th Avenue,

Broomfield, CO 80020

Hours: 

Monday - Friday: 8am - 6pm

Saturday: Closed 

Sunday: Closed

Email Us: info@spectracenters.org

Call Us: (303) 665-6800

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