Four years ago, Life Development Institute (LDI) launched its first five-week Emerging Leaders Summer Academy at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, AZ.

As a leader for 35 years in the education of students with learning disabilities, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and other social and learning differences, LDI recognized the need to provide older teens and young adults the opportunity to experience an ideal transitional bridge to higher education and career development.  As such, the Emerging Leaders Summer Academy was created in order to prepare participants for the next stages of higher-education as well as transitioning into adult life, using a specialized approach to learning, specific strategies harnessing the potential of each person’s learning styles embedding diversity/cultural/leadership skills usually only offered in corporate and business communities.

The success of this program has been so great that alumni students and families have requested additional sessions to continue to provide opportunities for students to strengthen social and leadership skills while venturing on their own to obtain some independent living skills.  As a result, LDI will launch a two-year approach to the summer academy beginning in 2017.  The two sessions exist independent of each other and do not require continuation into the next summer.  However, they each provide opportunity for students to develop employment, diversity, and leadership skills through three distinct courses.  Beyond the “in-class” learning, students develop a mission-based team, work in team-based settings, demonstrate respect, sensitivity, and acceptance, design professional job seeking documents, and develop the capacity to effectively use positive behaviors for success.  Additionally, the relaxed and fun atmosphere combined with off campus excursions and activities empower attendees to make new friends, develop social confidence and skills, and discover the joy that can be had when building on constant successes.

The Academy’s location, on the beautiful campus of NAU, is surrounded by the largest ponderosa pine forest in the United States and maintains an average summer temperature in the 70s with cool crisp mountain air.  Furthermore, students are offered the opportunity to live in The Suites, which are NAU’s newest resident hall.  Additionally, academy members have access to explore many magnificent area attractions, which include Lowell’s Observatory, Antelope Canyon, the Museum of Norther Arizona, Walnut Canyon, Arizona Snowball, the world-renowned Red Rock of Sedona, and the Grand Canyon.

For students and families interested in attending LDI’S Emerging Leaders Summer Academy, additional information has been listed below.  

  • What: 5-week Emerging Leaders Summer Academy
  • Where: Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ
  • When: June 26, 2017 – July 28, 2017
  • Who: Individuals 16 – 26 who have learning disabilities, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and other social and learning differences
  • Why: To experience individual growth in independent living, social skills, employability and empowering success

How: For more information, please visit, call (623) 773-1545, or email