La Grange Campus

6425 Willow Springs Road
LaGrange, IL 60525

Burr Ridge Campus

6880 North Frontage Road
Suite 100
Burr Ridge, IL 60527

Mon - Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Admission open


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 18-22) is designed for students who have completed their high school requirements and wish to further develop skills in academics, on-the- job training, independent living, and life skills while obtaining therapeutic services such as social work counseling, speech therapy and occupational therapy if needed. The instruction is individualized based on each student’s needs, goals, employment and postsecondary aspirations. Students have the opportunity to customize their schedule designed to address personal needs and goals. 

Located at Burr Ridge Campus, the Transition Program is home to a 6,400 square foot facility providing large, spacious classrooms, related service areas, athletic room, offices, and open floor plan for appropriate social distancing. The Burr Ridge Campus is conveniently located within a five minute drive to the La Grange Campus and provides easy access to student work sites, community outings, postsecondary programs, and other community related opportunities. 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. 

A Typical Day:

The Transition Program focuses on three specific areas of development:

  • Vocational Training – Students participate in a variety of internship programs at local businesses and organizations throughout the community 
  • Independent Living – Students develop a variety of  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, and all academic areas ) as well as related services in speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social work counseling. 
  • Transition Program Class Learning Standards

Vocational Training

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

  • Development of positive work ethics and motivation
  • Learning new hands-on skills 
  • Task prioritization and completion 
  • Work involving teamwork and co-operation 
  • Interpersonal communication and social skill development 
  • Organizational skill development 
  • Listening skills and ability to take direction
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Providing a service to members of the public 
  • Understanding how businesses and organizations work

Students work one-on-one with a job coach developing strategies to help them succeed at their job sites. 

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: 

Double J Riding Club
A-Team Tire & Auto
Home Goods
Lifetime Fitness
Fuller Carwash
Brookdale Senior Living
The Barker Shop
Score Sports Center
T. J. Maxx
Adventist Memorial Hospital

Independent Living

Students are instructed in all areas of  independent living including but certainly not limited to:

Self-Advocacy / Self Care / Daily Living Skills                                                                           

  • Self identification of disability and development of self-advocacy strategies
  • Self-assessment / independent living assessments
  • Goal setting
  • Develop self-awareness and behaviors for personal growth and fulfillment
  • Health and wellness
  • Medical needs/concerns                                                                       
  • Time Management
  • Active participation in Community Outing Days  
  • Maintaining a safe environment    
  • Daily hygiene                                                                     
  • Responsible decision-making, organization, and critical thinking skils  

Employment / Career & Education Planning / Job Interviewing

  • Active participation in internship programs at a variety of businesses/organizations throughout the community 
  • Career interest assessments, on-site vocational performance evaluations, and employment skills assessments
  • Career exploration using a variety of resources including Career Cruising and O’NET online platforms
  • Identify and articulate skills, strengths, knowledge, values, interests, and experiences to develop career path
  • Understanding the American Disabilities Act (ADA) / identifying beneficial accommodations at employment/postsecondary 
  • Job interviewing and resume development 
  • Researching employment/volunteer opportunities within community 
  • Attend career/job fairs
  • Postsecondary research, tours of local colleges, community colleges, & career/technical schools 
  • IRS forms, W-4, W-2, W-9, 1099

Relationship & Communication Skills

  • Enhance the acquisition of social thinking and social skills 
  • Interpersonal skills, positive contributions, managing conflict, and problem solving 
  • Networking and creating relationships
  • Self-regulation, social awareness, and friendship building 
  • Self advocacy and success in the workplace 
  • Appropriate behavior in social and professional situations 
  • Respect for people with different beliefs, opinions, and cultures 
  • Communicating effectively / conversation practice models 

Money Management and Budgeting

  • Manage online student checking accounts through Countryside Bank 
  • Deposits, withdrawals, organizing weekly budgets 
  • Participate in a variety of student led businesses including the Acacia Lunch Program 
  • Learning and implementing the 50/20/30 budgeting model  
  • Identifying essential, savings, and personal expenses 
  • Understanding bills and payment processes 
  • Understanding credit, credit score, debt, and using credit wisely 
  • Daily consumer skills  
  • Shopping for groceries, comparison shopping, following a budget                                                                                                                                                                                                      


  • Renting vs. Owning 
  • Leases and applications
  • Home buying procedure
  • Bank loans, financing, interest rates 
  • Household budgets, fixed/variable budget 
  • Exploration of independent living or assisted living services and supports 

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.

The Wilson Reading Program

The Wilson Reading Program is a structured literacy program based on phonological-coding research and Orton-Gillingham principals. The program directly and systematically teaches the structure of the English language. Through the program, students learn fluent decoding and encoding skills to the level of mastery. Acacia Academy students receive individualized instruction from our Certified Wilson Reading Specialists.


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. Students develop money management and budgeting skills by actively managing personal bank accounts at Countryside Bank. Participation in student run businesses creates daily income for program use (community outing days, public transportation, consumer spending, etc.).

Social Work Counseling

Students will receive services from the school Social Worker. The goal is to enhance the acquisition of social thinking. Sessions address areas such as self-regulation, friendship building, problem solving, and success in the workplace. 

Speech & Language Therapy

Speech language pathology services will provide the student for intervention and treatment of a variety of communication disorders, including cognitive aspects of communication (attention, memory, problem solving, executive functions), speech (articulation, voice, and fluency), receptive and expressive language skills, as well as pragmatic (social) language skills. 
Occupational Therapy

The occupational therapist will work with the student in a number of areas to promote functional independence in the classroom and employment setting. The goal is to improve the student’s ability to perform tasks requiring visual perception skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory processing skills, organization, and self-care. The occupational therapist aim to give the student the tools needed to successfully participate in a school and community setting. 

Community Integration

  • Provide information regarding The Department of Human Services and/or The 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/employment opportunities within the community 

ONEder Transition Curriculum

The Transition Program instructors have access to an assortment of curriculum resources including ONEder Transition Curriculum. ONEder is designed as a blended solution to provide instructors the flexibility to implement the program in a variety of settings. The curriculum focuses on eight areas that employers find are most critical to success in the workplace:
  • Identifying Personal Strengths 
  • Identifying and Overcoming Challenges 
  • Building Self-Advocacy 
  • Developing Self-Determination
  • Interpersonal Skills 
  • Setting Personal Goals 
  • Cultivating Communication Skills
  • Exploring Career Options 
Transition Program students benefit from the differentiated instruction and curriculum designed to address individual needs, goals, and learning styles.