Chapel Haven » News Unique Integration of Social Communication + Independent Livng Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:26:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 CHAPEL HAVEN TO HOLD FIRST ANNUAL GOLF CLASSIC SEPTEMBER 29 Wed, 20 May 2015 18:41:19 +0000 Golf logo 2

Chapel Haven is proud to announce its first annual Chapel Haven Golf Classic, presented by Yale-New Haven Hospital and Alexion, at the prestigious New Haven Country Club in Hamden, CT on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.
The tournament begins at 1 p.m. and will offer a day of golf and a celebratory dinner at the New Haven Country Club, 160 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden, CT.

For ticket information or to become a sponsor, please contact Ms. Peggy Baker, (203) 217-4691. Participants may sign up for a golf foursome, may join Chapel Haven for the dinner only, or may choose to invest Log onto to find out more about the tournament. Click Chapel Haven Golf Classic to see the tournament brochure.
Chapel Haven President Michael Storz credited parent Peggy Baker for laying the groundwork for the tournament. “We have more than 40 corporate and business partners in Greater New Haven who fully support our mission of providing services to adults with disabilities,” Storz said. “The purpose of the golf classic is to not only celebrate our wonderful track record with current businesses, but to attract and engage even more New Haven-based businesses who may want to support what we do.”

“We are excited that Yale-New Haven Hospital and Alexion Pharmaceuticals will be honored as co-presenting sponsors,” Storz noted. “We sought both organizations out as our top sponsors because they have been model partners to Chapel Haven, and we believe their investment in our adults paves the way for other businesses to follow suit.”
Yale-New Haven Hospital partnered with Chapel Haven in 2013 to host the first Project SEARCH location in the state. Project SEARCH is a national one-year, high school transition program for students with disabilities that provides training and education with the goal of obtaining competitive employment. Through Project SEARCH, Chapel Haven participants spend a year rotating through different YNHH departments, trying their hands at a variety of roles. The goal is to help clients gain job skills, learn to work in a team, understand the rules of a workplace and be better positioned to move into paid employment. They work five hours a day and gain several hours more of classroom instruction, all at the hospital.

Alexion partnered with Chapel Haven to employ a young man who graduated from Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program in a full-time, human resources auditor position.

Founded in 1972, Chapel Haven is a nationally accredited transitional living program and approved private special education school founded in 1972 in New Haven, Connecticut, with a mission of teaching adults with cognitive disabilities and social disabilities to live independent and productive lives. Chapel Haven has grown to serve more than 250 adults (18 years of age and older) in the residence and the community with three distinct programs; REACH, Asperger’s Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT), and Chapel Haven West (Tucson, AZ).

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Chapel Haven Excelled at CT Special Olympics Regional Games Mon, 18 May 2015 19:51:18 +0000 So regional games 8Chapel Haven did an outstanding job in CT Special Olympics track and field and swimming.

The Regional Games were held at Weston High School.

Recreation Supervisor Michael Verzella said Chapel Haven athletes did an excellent job in all competitions. He also extended a big thanks to the coaches and volunteers who turned out to help with the event.

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SO regional games 2So regional games 9

Check out more photos on Chapel Haven’s Facebook page!

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Prospective families invited May 29 to a Sample Morning in the REACH program Fri, 01 May 2015 18:07:16 +0000 REACH classroom shot 1Chapel Haven Invites You
to Our Friday Sampler!
on Friday, May 29 from 10:30 am to 1 pm

Are you a prospective family with a young adult getting ready to transition?

Chapel Haven’s REACH program cordially invites you to learn more about us at a Friday Sampler! Join us Friday, May 29, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. for a program overview, and then visit typical classes in the REACH program from 11 a.m. to noon. The visit culminates with lunch in our cafe, a chance for your son or daughter to lunch with students in the apartment setting, and a student panel.

In the traditional REACH (Residential Education at Chapel Haven) program, based in New Haven, Connecticut, adults 18+ with mild developmental disabilities and autism live apartment-style in an award-winning intensive 24-month Residential Life Skills program on the Chapel Haven campus. They learn to negotiate all aspects of independent living, while enjoying a state-approved education program and a nationally-accredited transitional living program. Upon graduation, they may choose to continue living in the area and receive continued supports from Chapel Haven.

Chapel Haven is proud to note that 85 percent of our graduating students choose to stay on and continue the journey of adult independence with select supports!

Registration for this morning event is limited.
If interested, register here: Register for Friday Sample Morning

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Chapel Haven joins with Yale in marking World Autism Awareness Day Sun, 26 Apr 2015 15:21:01 +0000 Autism-Awareness-art-2015-300x225
On April 2, Chapel Haven joined thousands of groups across the world in recognizing World Autism Awareness Day.

Chapel Haven joined with Yale University’s undergrad group, Yale for Autism Awareness (YFAA), to create and display artwork commemorating World Autism Awareness Day on the campus of Yale, in the rotunda of Woolsey Hall.

That evening, Yale lit Harkness Tower in blue lights to continue raising awareness.

More-art-300x225On March 24, over 50 students from Yale and Chapel Haven gathered together at the Chapel Haven campus, under the guidance of Chapel Haven art teacher Tina Menchetti, to create the artwork that was on view in Woolsey. After being displayed for the day, the art will be moved to the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, 80 Wall St., where it will remain for the rest of the month.
During the evening, world-renowned autism expert Dr. Fred Volkmar, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center, led a discussion over dinner in the Berkeley College Fellows Lounge aimed at explaining what autism is, current research in the field, and successful intervention techniques, according to a press release by Yale. Dr Volkmar serves on the advisory board of Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program.

two-faces-300x225Click here to see more press about the day. Chapel Haven’s art exhibit moves next to Yale’s Slifka Center for display for the remainder of the month of April.

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Why Chapel Haven puts such a focus on social communicative competency Sun, 26 Apr 2015 15:15:47 +0000 Sarah Davison, SLP, Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program

Sarah Davison, SLP, Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program

In attempting to build independent lives, a major stumbling block for many young adults with Asperger Syndrome, high functioning autism, or other social disability is a lack of confidence, or competence, in their ability to navigate the world socially.

Chapel Haven’s speech-language pathologists, including Sarah Davison and Ryan Shoemaker, talk in this article about why Social Communicative Competency is such a building block for success in the adult world.

“Social communicative competency (SCC) is at the core of the disability for students with As-perger’s,” notes Virginia Hodge, Executive Vice President of Autism Programs at Chapel Haven, and a certified speech/language pathologist. “A student who can’t cook dinner can still get take-out food. But a student who can’t interact socially will see an effect in every part of his or her life.”

Instruction and coaching in social communicative competency can help students learn how to in-terpret facial expressions and gestures, engage in reciprocal conversations, and appreciate another per-son’s point of view. Students can learn, through role-playing, videotaping, and continual practice, how to pick up the phone to make social plans, call a professor to arrange for extra help, or interview for a job effectively. Students can learn to modulate speech clarity, speed, phrasing, the correct use of for-mal and informal language, figurative language, and irony and then take those skills out into the real world.

Speech-language pathologist Ryan Shoemaker, Chapel Haven West

Speech-language pathologist Ryan Shoemaker, Chapel Haven West

Individuals on the spectrum often have difficulty establishing new relationships, as well as man-aging existing relationships. The process of learning how to classify a relationship, identify strategies for keeping that relationship going, and determine what kind of information can be shared with that person can be quite a challenge. However, the importance of this skill cannot be overstated as these individuals experience a wide array of both positive and negative relationships and need to be able to interact in an expected way with each.

Social environments are filled with unwritten rules, or the “hidden curriculum”, that can shift dramatically with even the smallest change in that setting. Learning how to identify and follow these rules across such a wide range of social contexts is especially challenging for individuals on the spec-trum who tend to be more rigid in their thinking. As students become more familiar with this concept and the process, they find it easier to be comfortable and successful in unfamiliar social settings.

Learning to identify and value the perspectives of others is also at the core of successful social communicative competency. As students acquire this skill, they often experience increased self-satisfaction as social interaction becomes more intuitive and successful. The benefits of considering the perspectives of others span every kind of relationship and social setting, not only assisting in creating positive experiences, but also in avoiding or de-escalating potentially negative situations.

Three Success Stories

How can SCC help young adults? Typical responses are:

“My eye contact has improved. I show interest in other people. I am more empathetic toward friends. I have improved in my ability to terminate conversations appropriately and initiate questions in conversations.”

“My son has learned how to listen and, even if he is not engaged, give facial expressions indicat-ing that he is listening. Whereas before he would just walk away, he can sit at the table now at Thanks-giving and Christmas, where there are 20 people at a table, and engage in conversation.”

“My son would attempt to enter conversations by asking over and over: ‘Do you like pizza?’ He would have zero timing on that. It would be disconnected from anything going on and he would inter-rupt. As he has gained competence, he has become confident enough to go up to a group, listen, and comment on what is being said—and his timing has improved.”

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Wellness and Fitness Craze is in Full Swing at Chapel Haven Sun, 26 Apr 2015 13:00:41 +0000 Fitness-group-300x258One of the hottest locations on campus right now is Chapel Haven’s Fitness Center, located on the lower floor of the community center building.

If you attended our 2014 Bowlathon, bought tickets, bowled or donated prizes, thank you! Some of the proceeds from the $40,000 raised went to buying all-new equipment for the fitness center, including low-impact ellipticals, Cross Fit rowing machines, a recumbent bike for low-impact workouts and new treadmills.

Trainer Kim Neal teamed up with Recreation Supervisor Mike Verzella and Erik Frodel, Operations, to move in all the new equipment and to paint the center. It’s rare to go down to the center and not see a client or employee working out on the new equipment, with tunes belting from the stereo.
Another new development is thanks to Chapel Haven President Michael Storz, whose own fitness regime has inspired many at Chapel Haven to get fit. Mike has enjoyed working out with CrossFit Milford and Crossfit has now agreed to bring their world-renowned fitness programming to Chapel Haven. The main focus of these classes will be to provide Chapel Haven employees with the foundations of functional movements and a healthy fitness regimen, while providing maximum flexibility for their schedule.
Jason Leydon, Owner and Head Coach at CrossFit Milford is looking forward to working with Chapel Haven. Classes are initially being offered twice a week and will continue to build on the basics of moving the body and improving physical fitness. There will also be a focus on team building and communiCFM-Logo-Blk-Teal-2-300x93cation strength among staff. Most importantly these classes will be challenging, exciting and FUN!

Chapel Haven President Michael Storz said he is delighted that Crossfit Milford will be offering classes at Chapel Haven. This new development fits into an overall focus on health and wellness that pervades the culture at the agency, he said.

fitness-Tim-and-David-225x300“Living a healthy lifestyle is difficult for anyone. If we truly want to make a difference in helping people with disabilities live healthier lifestyles then we need to lead by example.” Storz said. I’m thrilled to partner with CrossFit Milford because they share the same values of taking pride in making people’s lives better. Jason’s commitment and passion for fitness is contagious and one that I’m looking forward to seeing spread through our agency.
Add to that, two ongoing developments:
In the spring of 2013, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center and Chapel Haven created a new class to help adults at Chapel Haven with developmental and social disabilities achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The award-winning program, entitled “The Weigh To Live,” is trimming waistlines, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
And on Fridays, Chapel Haven offers a Weight Watchers At Work chapter for employees. And most recently, Chapel Haven used its annual Bowlathon fundraiser to install $40,000 worth of new equipment, such as treadmills, low-impact ellipticals and rowing machines, in the fitness center to encourage clients and employees to work out at work.

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David Hogin December Artist of the Month. Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:44:12 +0000 David HoganDavid Hogin is the Chapel Haven “Artist of the Month.” Born in Glendale NJ David graduated from Chapel Haven in 1989. He is a community member and lives in New Haven. David is also a member of our CH Art Guild and participated in the annual CH Art Show and Sale.  He is an established watercolor artist and loves doing architectural paintings.

Recently David entered an art competition for the McLevy Building banner and had an honorable mention for his entry. David has many fans for his precise and beautiful work. Congratulations, David!

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Chapel Haven to host “Exploring Artism” this spring Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:40:18 +0000 Chapel Haven is excited to announce that “Exploring Artism: A Program for Families,” run by the Yale Center for British Art, will continue off-site at Chapel Haven, located at 1040 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515 during museum renovations.

Dates for the class are: Saturdays, February 21, March 21, April, 18, May 16 and June 20, 10:30-12:00pm.artism-flyer2015 3

This is a free program for families with children 5 to 12 years of age on the autism spectrum. Families learn to look and respond to art work in the museum’s galleries. Join us and engage in group conversations in the galleries, a follow-up art project in a museum classroom, and much more. While we have taken into account the needs of individuals with autism in designing this program, it is intended to be fun for parents, siblings, and other relatives too!

Free but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail: or call 203 432 2858 with your name, number, and a good time to reach you on the telephone. A museum educator will contact you by phone to complete your registration.

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British-style “tea party” celebrates Chapel Haven’s unique partnership with Yale Center for British Art Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:24:01 +0000 brit art with jennyYCBA ActChapel Haven students and community members enjoyed a unique, British “tea party” last week with the help of docents and staff from the world-renowned Yale Center for British Art.

Click here to read a story in the New Haven Register about this unique partnership:

Since 2009, Art Teacher Tina Menchetti has worked closely with the museum to develop a cutting-edge museum educational program called Out to Art. Participants from Chapel Haven take part in a wide range of museum activities and sensory learning. They enjoy behind-the-scene tours, close looking at works of art and studio activities. Participants are able to build life skills while also developing theory of mind, memory and interpersonal connections.

Classes take place weekly at the Yale Center and are taught in collaboration with museum staff. Chapel Haven students study famous British paintings and sculptures, and draw and paint with direction and influence from the extensive collection.

The program, developed in 2009, was the idea of museum Curator of Education Linda Friedlaender, and put into action with Chapel Haven art teacher Tina.

Recently, in a British-style tea at Chapel Haven, students, docents and others closed the semester, saying they can’t wait for the new one to begin.

Next semester the program will temporarily change, as the museum will be closed from January 2015 to Feb. 2016 for renovations.

Instead, they’ll bring the program to Chapel Haven and students will visit other galleries, including Yale Art Gallery. Chapel Haven will also host another program at the museum for younger children on the autism spectrum.

Tina, who has developed many successful programs at the school, said the hope in the future is to collect data on the program – viewed as a national model – to demonstrate the program’s success.

But anecdotally, Tina, who knows the students well, has noticed a huge difference in their mannerisms, posture, vocabularies, social skills. She said the changes are physically visible.

“It’s a place they’ve been so welcome in an environment filled with brilliant, educated people,” she said. “They love the way they feel there.”

After the tea party, staff and docents from the museum led an art lesson at Chapel Haven,  with students and docents working together using clay to learn the process used in ancient times to duplicate wall  reliefs.

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Special Olympics Bowling Holiday Classic Draws 85 participants! Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:30:15 +0000 Chapel Haven had a huge turnout this weekend for the Special Olympics Bowling Holiday Classic at the Milford AMF Lanes.

Chapel Haven Rec Supervisor Michael Verzella reports 85 people bowled, both residential students and community members. Chapel Haven participated in both the Special Olympics “Traditional” games (teams made up of all athletes) and the “Unified” games (teams that were made up of athletes and volunteers/staff)

Many Chapel Haven families turned out to cheer on our bowlers, along with recreation staff and fraternity members from Southern Connecticut State University. Our teams competed against those of surrounding towns and everyone walked away a winner, with medals and ribbons.

Beth Sklar had the honor of giving the Special Olympics oath at the games. Congrats to everyone on a great job!

Great fun at Special Olympics Holiday Classic Margaret had fun! What a team! thanks to the volunteers! Carl had fun Special O with group Jordan teamwork! Special O with Sandy Will has a big smile Thumbs up!


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