In 1976, Chapel Haven moved its growing population to 1040 Whalley Avenue, New Haven and continued to expand its mission of providing individualized services to people with developmental and social disabilities.
That mission took a huge leap in 2006, when the agency embarked on the creation of a 24-month residential transition program followed by lifelong supports designed specifically for adults 18+ with Asperger Syndrome and related social disabilities.
Building on Chapel Haven’s success of more than 40-plus years as a leader in the field of teaching and supporting individuals with learning challenges, Chapel Haven recognized that the needs of the Asperger adult are unique and require a highly specialized program to help adults gain competence and confidence in social communication while pursuing college, independent living, employment and a satisfying circle of adult friends.
Developed in conjunction with the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Conn., Chapel Haven’s ASAT program was guided by an advisory board comprising some of the top Asperger’s experts in the country, including Fred R. Volkmar M.D., director of the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine, and Ami Klin, Ph.D. director of the Autism Program also of the Child Study Center at Yale University. Dr. Ruth B. Eren, who chairs the special education department at Southern Connecticut State University, helped write the curriculum and is a key advisor, along with Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP, who coined the term “social thinking” and developed the social thinking treatment approach for individuals with high-functioning autism, Asperger's and similar challenges.
Dr. Volkmar said the program’s focus on teaching skills that can be practiced in real life settings is unique.
“There are very few programs that focus on the needs of individuals with social disabilities,” said Dr. Volkmar. “It is clear that lack of ‘real world’ or adaptive skills is a major obstacle for many individuals being able to successfully make it on their own. Chapel Haven has a strong developmental focus with realistic expectations to hone in on these needs.”