What is

Asperger syndrome (AS) is one of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), which are a spectrum of psychological conditions that are characterized by abnormalities of social interaction and communication that pervade the individual’s functioning, and by restricted and repetitive interests and behavior.

It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. A pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are not currently a formal diagnostic category, however it is widely in use, both clinical practice and in the professional literature, as a descriptive term which refers to three of the disorders classified within the PDD diagnostic category of the DSM IV-TR (Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

While ASD and PDD are often used interchangeably in everyday practice, PDD is the appropriate terminology to use when identifying a formal diagnostic category, until the DSM-V is published in 2013, at which time Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will become a new diagnostic category in its own right. Asperger’s, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, and PDD-NOS are to be either folded into the new ASD category or are not recognized as separate and distinct conditions.

How is LDI a good program for teens and young adults with Asperger syndrome?

Using a strength-based (non-disability) approach, LDI’s evidence-based, peer-validated pragmatic model is designed to address the specific developmental, academic and career needs of this under-prepared students that are 14 years of age and older through several levels in their transition to independent and self-supported living – from earning a high school diploma, starting college to achieving careers through employment that is compatible with their unique capabilities.

The program focuses its classroom instruction on achieving mastery of specific, major adult life demands in the areas of career planning, social/emotional maturity, establishing independence & competitive job development/placement- which are based on the behaviors that any individual- disabled or not- will need for personal success in their home communities.

For bright, twice-exceptional college capable students with Level 1 High Functioning Autism, LDI embeds developmental content into courses whose assignments & competencies integrate practical college strategies, promote interpersonal communication skills, career development and enhance social responsibility. All students engage in both academic and experiential learning in the ” how to’s” of handling common problem solving & decision making demands for adult life success -especially pertinent to self-advocacy & leadership.

LDI is part of the community, not an “island’. It provides a supportive campus, inclusive residential community, and access to institutions of higher learning that provides the education, skills and training needed to live independently.The usual limitation of similar residential or boarding school situations is that they are “sheltered” or “clinical” in their orientation whereas our setting is an actual apartment complex-not a dormitory, institutional setting, or group home.

The Institute is authorized to enroll and provide M-1 visas for nonimmigrant foreign students by the Department of Homeland Security , is fully accredited through AdvancEd/North Central Association Commission on Accreditation & School Improvement, multi-agency vendor approval & private party paid.

What improvements have been recognized in students with Asperger syndrome after completion of the LDI program?

  • Can make informed career planning decisions by utilizing a system of tools/methods that recognize & build on individual assets and manage functional limitations.
  • Makes better logical connections between personal wants & needs across a variety of adult life decisions.
  • Can functionally and emotionally “shift” between environments, people, and tasks with less struggle, frustration, and perseveration.
  • Awareness and improved performance in commonly accepted and practiced social graces.
  • Less avoidance-type behaviors due to increased practice and personal responsibility in dealing effectively with the perceived risks of “failing.”
  • Can make informed career planning decisions by utilizing a system of tools/methods that recognize & build on individual assets and manage functional limitations.
  • Independently enrolls, passes and completes/continues college degree or career college certification.
  • Able to conduct an independent job search, interview, accept and retain competitive employment for at least 120 continuous days.
  • Comprehends and appreciates that employers expect all employees to perform certain job functions in specific ways.
  • Understands and complies with the policy/procedure demands of a particular work setting.
  • Successfully lived on own, managed daily tasks of independent living, and begin to support themselves financially.

Learn More

If you wish to receive additional information about Life Development Institute and how we can help your child with Asperger’s syndrome, please complete this form.

You may also contact our Admissions Manager at (623) 773-1545 to discuss your needs.

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