Our staff is the bridge that supports growth in all of the skills necessary for independent living.

Independent Living Services

Meal Planning and Nutrition - small groups meet twice weekly where they choose two recipes, plan a food shopping list and then go to the supermarket. In the supermarket, the students learn how to navigate the store, comparison shop, how to choose produce, and ask for assistance. During the cooking component, students are exposed to a variety of nutrition lessons, learn how to follow a recipe, cook the meal and eat together as a group.

Individual Cooking Instruction - Weekly lessons take place in the students’ apartments. The students will prepare a meal while also learning about safety in the kitchen, use of the microwave and oven, practice measuring skills, knife skills and proper cleanup after cooking. The goal is for our students to develop a repertoire of meals they can cook independently.

Apartment Organization - instruction focuses on learning how to clean and maintain their apartment, proper use of cleaning materials, division of chores between roommates, and how to do their laundry. Staff will also work with students on preparing a shopping list and budgeting for weekly expenses.

Luxury Style Living

Our students reside in a modern, attractive tree-lined apartment complex in Hauppauge, New York, about one hour from New York City and one hour from Long Island’s eastern end. The apartment complex is equipped with two swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center and other recreational facilities.

Educational Services

Giant Step is an ideal alternative for academically able young adults who have deficits that compromise their ability to live on a college campus. While living in a supportive environment that promotes growth in the area of executive functioning and social skills, a college oriented student with Asperger’s Syndrome receives individual academic supports and finds growth enhancing appropriate social opportunities. They also receive supports geared towards independent living and life skills.

Vocational Services

A mainstay of Giant Step is our highly individualized vocational program. Prior to a student’s official starting date, our vocational coordinator assesses each student’s aptitude for particular training or job placement. This assessment is coordinated with parent input and that of prior schools and work placements. Each student is assigned to a work setting or training program for approximately 10-15 hours per week.

Job Acquisition

When a Giant Step member demonstrates the readiness skills to enter the world of competitive employment, typically after the completion of Step I, the job acquisition process begins.

We provide personalized and group sessions to secure entry-level competitive employment. Assistance is provided in:

*Resume development

*All facets of the job search

*Completing job applications

*Practice and participating in job interviews

Giant Step relies heavily on their networking base, as well as state resources where applicable, to enhance and augment opportunities.

Members are encouraged to take an active role in their job search to provide a sense of autonomy and ownership.

Career Development

Community based work experiences such as volunteer positions, and other types of on the job training, provide increased opportunities for members to learn specific skills, tasks and develop career paths.

Giant Step’s solidified relationships with the business community at large affords the vocational team the ability to explore worksites in the following areas:

*Clerical support

*Hospitality

*Food Services

*Retail

*Child Care

*Elder Care

Vocational counseling and natural supports allow for ongoing reinforcement of skills, tasks, and interpersonal behavior.

The highly skilled vocational team recognizes that job retention is dependent upon maintaining the ”soft skills” at the work place.

Interactive workshops and classes focus on:

*Time Management

*Interpersonal skills

*Developing a work ethic

*Self-Advocacy

B.O.C.E.S Board of Cooperative Educational Services

Giant Step maintains a relationship with Eastern Suffolk BOCES. BOCES offers many nationally recognized certification courses that enhance employability in areas such as HVAV, Facilities Maintenance, Animal Care and Physical Therapy Aide. Communication with instructors maximizes the potential success of those enrolled in these courses.

Benefits Advisement

In preparation for competitive employment members and their families are advised about federal and state funding resources and employment supports.

The New York State Department of Adult Career and Continuing Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES_VR) and/or The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) are examples of eligibility based referrals that are typically discussed.

Medicaid waiver and Self-Direction

You may be able to use your Medicaid self-direction funds towards the transition tuition at Giant Step (Step I). Self-direction families should check with their broker

 

Social Life Services

Giant Step considers the development of positive social skills to be one of the most important goals for our members . Through structured and unstructured interactions and events, the members can develop and practice social skills seven days a week. The Giant Step staff guide the members through their social experiences, teaching them problem solving and negotiating skills for various social and vocational settings.

With input from the members, a monthly calendar includes a wide variety of activities :

Fitness Club at the YMCA in Bay Shore

Weight Watchers/Nutrition

Art Club

Monthly group meeting

Additionally, the weekends have organized social activities such as :

Movies

Restaurants

Plays

Sporting events

Amusement parks

Beaches

Bowling

We offer yearly overnight weekend trips which are chaperoned and supervised:

New York City for Broadways shows and Museums

Foxwoods Resort

Mystic Seaport

Frost Valley Environmental Center

Washington D.C.

 

Each year there are longer travel experiences. Past excursions have included :

Alaskan Cruise

Nashville/Memphis

Disney Cruises to Disneyworld and Atlantis

Cruise to Italy, Spain and France

These social experiences provide our members with opportunities for learning about different cultures, environments and customs outside the world in which they live their daily lives. The members strengthen their skills with strategies to enhance all levels of interaction. Through interpersonal relationships with people outside of their familiar circle of family, friends and co-workers, the members improve their understanding of their place in the world. The members also work on improving their communication skills as they encounter new places and people, all while making memories for themselves that they share with their friends for years to come.

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