Transition Program & Vocational Training for Young Adults with Special Needs

Transition Program

The goal of Acacia Academy’s Transition Program is to maximize a student's opportunity for independence.  The Transition Program (ages 17-22) is for students who have completed their high school requirements and wish to further develop skills in job training, academics, independent living, and life skills while obtaining therapeutic services such as social work counseling, speech therapy and occupational therapy if needed. Students have the opportunity to customize their schedule designed to address personal needs and goals. After completion of the Transition Program, students obtain full time or part time employment, enroll in additional postsecondary programs such as community colleges, universities, career and technical schools, vocational programs, or day programs for further enrichment. In many cases, the school district provides both the tuition and transportation for students to attend Acacia's Transition Program

In addition, A Transition Plan is written for each student when they turn fourteen years old and continues through their educational career. Acacia Academy transition planning concentrates on exploring universities, community colleges, trade schools, job training programs, careers and full-time employment opportunities.

A Typical Day:

The Transition Program focuses on three specific areas of development:

  • Vocational Training – Students work in off-site locations through internships and/or paid employment at local businesses and participating organizations within the community.
  • Independent Living / Food & Nutrition – Students develop independent living skills for a successful transition to adulthood.
  • Academic Skills & Related Services – Students receive individualized instruction in specific areas of need (math, reading, writing, all subject areas) as well as potential related services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social work counseling). 

Vocational Training

Working at offsite locations, students participate in on-the-job training and skill development in:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Task prioritization
  • Teamwork
  • Customer service
  • Organization
  •  Listening skills and ability to take direction
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Development of positive work ethics and motivation

Students work one-on-one with a job coach developing strategies to help them succeed in their designated vocational program. 

The job coach:

  • Observes students in their work environment
  • Provides feedback to how students respond in certain situations
  • Offers prompting or guidance when necessary
  • Adjusts training based on student strengths and weaknesses
  • Develops scripts for effective communication
  • Provides performance and quality of work evaluations for measurements of success
  • Provides positive constructive feedback

Participants in Acacia Academy’s Transition Program include:


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Independent Living 

Students are instructed in independent living, career discovery, self-advocating skills, independent living issue, critical thinking skills, organization, goal setting, self-understanding and esteem, problem solving, communication, decision making, and relationships. 

Personal Development                                                                             

  • Health and wellness                                                                       
  • Goals and resources                                                                        
  • Responsible decision-making 


  • Vocational evaluation review
  • Career interest inventories 
  • IRS forms, W-4, W-2, W-9, 1099

Relationship Skills 

  • Getting along with others 
  • Communicating effectively 

Management and Consumer Decision 

  • Managing resources 
  • Managing money
  • Using credit wisely 
  • Consumer skills  

Job Research

  • Finding a job
  • Applications
  • Interviewing
  • Job vs. Careers                                                                                                                                                                                                            


  • Renting vs. Owning 
  • Leases 
  • Home buying procedure
  • Bank loans, financing, interest rates 
  • Household budgets, fixed/variable budgets 


     Foods & Nutrition 

      The food & nutrition component of the Transition Program is designed to assist students in making critical decisions about food that contributes to health and well-being. Practical problems addressed related to attitudes toward food, nutrition facts, special health concerns and diets, management of food resources, preparation skills, and careers in nutrition and food service. 

Food, Nutrition & You

  • Food choices 
  • Nutrition 
  • Food and fitness 

      Workplace, Tools and Techniques

  • Kitchen principals
  • Recipe skills
  • Cooking methods
  • Mealtime customs 

      Consumer Decisions

  • Planning meals
  • Shopping for food 
  • The food supply 

      Foods for Meals and Snacks 

  • Vegetables and fruits 
  • Grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds
  • Dairy foods and eggs 
  • Meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish

      Careers in Food & Nutrition 

  • Chef, cook, culinary arts 
  • Food service managers 
  • Hospital service worker 
  • Restaurant industry and service 

Academic Skills & Related Services

An individualized program of instruction is written for each student based upon his/her specific learning needs. 


Word recognition, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency and rate, reading enrichment, study skills, metacognition and metacomprehension techniques, critical and creative reading skills, and divergent thinking strategies. 


Students learn to apply mathematic knowledge to everyday consumer experiences. Students learn life skills math, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percents, time and measurement. Advanced mathematics is also available such as Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, Chemistry, Statistics, and Business Math. 

Speech & Language 

Instruction/therapy for expressive and receptive language skills as well as written articulation. 

Occupational Therapy 

Instruction/therapy for basic motor functions, visual motor integration, sensory processing, visual perception, plus coordination, and strength. 

Community Integration 

  • Provide information regarding The Department of Human Services/Division of Rehabilitation
  • Link students to appropriate community agency
  • Provide information regarding postsecondary educational programs
  • Tour local postsecondary colleges, community colleges and/or trade schools
  • Link to volunteer opportunities within the community
  • Research employment opportunities within the community