Greater Expectations Program at Independent Living Resource Center

As part of the Independent Living Resource Center, Greater Expectation’s mission is to become a catalyst for growth and opportunities for individuals ages 15 and up on the autism spectrum and other developmental differences. Personalized visions and goals are developed by using evidence-based practices and a team approach with parents/caregivers.

Comprehensively, this information is folded into an individualized plan and is the starting point for each individual. Within an environment of structure and support, our highly qualified staff facilitate customized levels of the program to learn:

  • Work Skill Acquisition
  • Social Connections and Relationships
  • Advocacy

Ultimately, each individual is set up to experience a much more fulfilling, and gratifying quality of life.

How Do We Empower?

As part of the Independent Living Resource Center’s “Empowering People with Disabilities,” mission, the Greater Expectations program is a transitional liaison helping develop needed “systems” to help identify and implement “soft skills” into life opportunities for individuals ages 14+ on the autism spectrum and other developmental differences.
View Greater Expectation’s Site

What Makes Us Different

EXPERIENCE – We have 20+ years in speech-language pathology and expertise in communication/social pragmatics and training individuals with learning differences. 

RESEARCH – The Greater Expectations program was designed in 2015 with programming that targets core issues discovered from intense research in preventing individuals from connecting others, hindering them from establishing quality of life. 

EVALUATION – These challenges are directly related to a lack of sustained services/support after high school, impaired social thinking abilities, and inadequate soft skills. In turn, this affects higher executive functioning skills and together hinders confidence and success.

RESOURCES – Program participants have the opportunity to receive additional services through the Independent Living Resource Center!

How It Works

Greater Expectations is a program inside Autism Avenue Gift Shoppe designed to create employment opportunities in the community & develop future endeavors for individuals on the autism spectrum and other developmental differences. Read more about Greater Expectations level session times.

Graduates of all 4 Levels of the program will have: 

  • An Accumulative Portfolio 
  • A Personal Profile
  • Completed a Self-Awareness Curriculum Workbook
  • Confidence in Personalized Future Goals!

Prior to starting the program, the individual/caregiver will:

  • Complete Case History/Intake forms
  • Have an Informal “Meet & Greet” Meeting with Staff 
  • Participate in 1-2 Sessions for Required “Rapport Building” Time (45 minutes each, free of cost)
  • Complete Initial Assessment and Parent/Caregiver Involvement Information Form

**Participants must be able to read at least on a 7th-grade level and have the ability to independently communicate their wants/needs. Once these items are complete, our staff will determine if the program is suitable for the individual.**

Our Steps

  • Step 1: Greater Expectations

    This program has 4 levels and begins by addressing the following areas:


    • Relationships/Friendships
    • Emotional Regulation
    • Self-Regulation/Self-Awareness
    • Perceptions/Inferences


    • Building Self-Esteem
    • Understanding ASD/DD
    • Advocating for Self
    • Effective Communication
    • Problem Solving


    • Planning for the Future
    • Time Management
    • Effective Task Execution/Completion


    • Independent Living (managing daily organizational needs; appointments, schedules, etc.)
    • Self-Care (hygiene, etc.)
    • Home Management (maintaining a comfortable and clean living space)
  • Step 2: Connections Club

    We often hear of families searching for much needed “social groups” to help their individual’s connection in society. Once established into the Greater Expectations program & if suitable, the individual can be integrated into our Connection Club social groups! 

    This allows us to apply the skills obtained and studied in the Greater Expectations program into real situations with other individuals facing the same challenges. Research shows when we socialize with others, the brain retains skills & relates them to a meaningful memory. 

    The Connections Club group helps provide social experiences in a structured work setting, which in turn facilitates meaningful connections. 

    Social groups in the program meet to further work on the foundations of:

    • Social Thinking 
    • Life Skills 
    • Effective Communication 
    • Advocacy 
    • Organizational Skills 
    • Stronger Relationships 
    • Opportunity to Engage in Enjoyable Events!
  • Step 3: Autism Avenue Gift Shoppe

    Finally, each individual has the opportunity to apply the skills learned in the Greater Expectations program, practiced in Connections Club groups and generalized into a real, public work setting at Autism Avenue Gift Shoppe, where they serve as an apprentice.

    Autism Avenue is a one of a kind retail shop with a mission to provide a structured, repetitive work environment that delivers a platform for job training and real-world experiences for young adults on the autism spectrum and other developmental differences. Autism Avenue Gift Shoppe is the final step of the multi-level Greater Expectations program.

    Autism Avenue seeks to provide an uncommon shopping experience while serving as a stepping stone towards each individual’s life goals beyond the program. Autism Avenue is their opportunity to generalize skills while improving social connections and building self-esteem.

    When visiting our shop, you will find “Sensory Avenue” with a variety of informational books and therapy materials! These items address sensory seeking needs (i.e. chewing, fidgets, calming, etc.) and adaptive feeding materials (i.e. utensils, plates/bowls, cups, etc.).

    We also carry awareness items such as necklaces, bracelets, lapel pins, t-shirts, etc., for those wanting to promote awareness in the community. Other merchandise found within the shop includes unique gift ideas for birthday gifts, wedding gifts, holiday gift ideas and more!

    Other merchandise found within the shop includes unique gifts you need for a special occasion or no occasion at all. Best of all, 100% of Autism Avenue proceeds support the Greater Expectations & Connections Club programs!

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