ASAT Program Overview

Chapel Haven’s ASAT (Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition) program offers a wide range of services to adults with Asperger Syndrome, high functioning autism and related social disabilities.

Please explore this section of our website to discover all that ASAT has to offer, from a comprehensive residential transition experience to day/weekend services to social communication therapy, help with college and independent living.

Please explore this section of our website to discover all that ASAT has to offer, from a comprehensive residential transition experience to day/weekend services to social communication therapy, help with college and independent living.

ASAT Residential Program

The ASAT residential program is focused in four key areas:

  • social communicative competency              
  • self-determination
  • independent living
  • supports for college/work

The Program begins as an individualized residential program that targets social competencies resulting in effective coping strategies, problem solving, independent (adaptive) life skills, and career experiences.

The focus of the program is to assist adults in developing independent social competencies across all settings, as opposed to simply treating behavioral symptoms and providing transactional supports and behavioral interventions.

The ultimate goal of the program is to help each person develop a broader repertoire of social competency and adaptive skills across multiple settings and with diverse populations. Community integration is a pivotal component of the program and the Greater New Haven Community offers a wide range of opportunities in the areas of social encounters, recreational activities, academic institutions and vocational training.

Throughout the two years of the residency, students receive instruction and coaching in these four curricular domains:

1. Social Communicative Competencies (SCC)

The ASAT program is nationally unique in its focus on social communication. The SCC curriculum was designed by a team of experts and centers around a core component of social communicative competency (SCC).

Living in an apartment with roommates, managing an academic schedule and transitioning into productive and meaningful work, all require that students compromise, solve problems, and advocate for their needs.

This highly important curriculum area provides opportunities for:

  • Development of appropriate interpretation and use of nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions, gestures and physical proximity, in a variety of contexts and settings;
  • Instruction in receptive language skills, developing the individual’s ability to respond to information that is presented both visually and auditorially;
  • Demonstration of increased expressive language skills in a variety of contexts, including but not limited to speech clarity, speed, phrasing, the correct use of formal and informal language, figurative language, irony, metaphors and non-literal language; and Development of perspective-taking theory of mind skills is the cornerstone of the social communication curriculum.

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2. Self-Determination

The second component of the curriculum which is blended into all instruction is self-determination.

This is an individual’s awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses, the ability to set achievable goals and make choices, to be assertive at appropriate times and to interact with others in a socially competent manner.

These skills are taught by aiding the individual to identify his own emotions, needs, interests, and values as well as to develop an understanding of his strengths and limitations.

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3. Independent Living

asperger_syndrome_atkins_residence_residential_program_chapel_havenThe Residential Program

Students reside in apartments with private bedrooms and shared common space. They learn through a sequenced curriculum the day-to-day skills necessary for independent living, living with round-the-clock oversight of staff. Each day is bracketed by a morning meeting and evening recap. Beginning with morning preparation for each student’s individualized schedule, to menu planning, grocery shopping, budgeting and banking, meal preparation and apartment maintenance, our staff teach and coach, watching for any areas that may need extra support. An increasing focus on nutrition and fitness helps students learn to plan nutritious meals, adopt healthy eating habits and pursue exercise and fitness.

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4.  College / Vocational Supports

A fundamental goal of the ASAT program is to help our adults prepare for careers and college. Our approach is highly individualized. For some students, the college environment will offer the opportunity to sample classes and perhaps matriculate; for others, exposure to vocational opportunities may be a priority. Some adults come to Chapel Haven with some degree of college already completed. Our location in a college town supports many choices in the area of college, vocational and professional studies.

Post-secondary Options

The ASAT program’s location in historic Westville Village means students are only two miles west of downtown New Haven and close to several colleges and universities. Working closely with staff, students may register for and begin attending local colleges, with tailored support in the areas of executive functioning, planning and time management. Students can choose among several choices in a college town.

Popular college choices include:

  • Southern Connecticut State University ( an easy walk or bus ride from campus; one of four universities in the CT state system
  • Gateway Community College (

ASAT helps students learn how to:

  • use academic and system survival skills,
  • use advocacy skills,
  • make social connections both in and out of the classroom, and
  • benefit from opportunities to explore accommodations that are beneficial.



Tuesday night Arts and Crafts

Vocational Students in the ASAT program participate in a wide range of activities to prepare for successful employment. They explore various fields through group community service projects, individual volunteer opportunities, internships and paid employment. They also participate in coursework and individual discussions designed to help them to identify career paths that may match their interests, skills and post-secondary ambitions. Staff teach social competencies necessary for the workplace, taking advantage of teachable moments as they arise. Levels of employment assistance vary based on individual needs, from 'behind the scenes' support to maximum assistance locating vocational opportunities and on-site job coaching.

ASAT staff assist students in seeking employment opportunities by establishing contacts and developing relationships with local employers, community members and organizations. Staff may act both as advocates and liaisons, working to broaden the understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome and related disabilities, and providing proof of the positive attributes of such working relationships to potential employers.

To achieve the goals outlined in this area of the curriculum, the student works on resumes, interview skills, identifying sources for career education and exploring volunteer work. He/she also explores postsecondary settings (college, adult education, trade/technical school, military service, etc.) by completing the necessary applications. The student is taught how to determine financial need, to locate financial support, to use academic and system survival skills and to use advocacy skills and make social connections both in and out of the classroom. The acquisition of these skills leads to success in academic and/or vocational settings.

ASAT residential students and graduates are also eligible to apply to Project PAVE, where they spend a year at Yale-New Haven Hospital, rotating through different hospital departments with coaching and instruction by Chapel Haven’s Project PAVE team. This experience teaches participants valuable skills such as learning to work in a team, understanding the rules of the workplace and sampling job functions in a variety of hospital departments.

Social Recreation

The ASAT program offers a range of social activities on evenings and weekends that individuals living within Greater New Haven can enjoy. From enjoying sushi at a downtown restaurant to taking in a movie, going to a festival, enjoying cultural offerings in the New Haven area or gathering to plan a trip into NYC, weekends are an ideal time to make friends and spend leisure time with a wonderful circle of adults friends. All recreation activities are client-directed. Some are chaperoned by staff, others are independent. To learn more, inquire at

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ASAT Day program

Chapel Haven offers a day program, both for students 18 years of age to 21 who are supported by their local school districts and individuals finished with high school and looking for a structured day experience.

The ASAT day program offers:

  • Social communicative competency instruction with a certified Speech-Language Pathologist; (Individual and group sessions), with social communication infused throughout daily activities
  • Self-determination
  • Problem solving and asking for help
  • Decision Making
  • Goal Setting
  • Independent Living
  • Cooking
  • Learning to use public transportation
  • Learning to manage money –how to manage a bank account and budgeting for programmatic needs
  • Learning how to navigate the community
  • Employment preparation and readiness
  • Social skills training for the workplace
  • Support to initiate college coursework is available, if the PPT determines this is a goal (i.e., help with executive functioning, time management and accessing supports in the college setting)

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Program Design

The program is centered in two multi-family apartment buildings, where participants live in two- and three-bedroom apartments, each person having a private bedroom. The buildings, all located within the same block, are adjacent to Chapel Haven’s main campus. Much of the teaching is done in settings in the community, but participants also receive instruction in a three-story classroom building a stroll away from the apartments.

Weekly house meetings for the entire group address domestic responsibilities, meal preparation, social engagements, grocery shopping, community involvement, (including what the group can do for its community), personal appointments, work and school schedules and planned time alone. Meetings with the student’s support team are held, at a minimum, at the 45-day mark and at the six month, one year, 18 month and two year milestones. Progress is measured against our benchmarks for transition.

Community Outreach Services

The Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) Program at Chapel Haven provides an array of services to support individuals with Asperger’s and related diagnoses to live increasingly independent and productive lives.

Our Community Outreach Services program involves a menu of services available to both our graduating residential students, and adults living within the Greater New Haven area who aren’t residential students but can benefit greatly from our a la carte services. Learn More >

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