Chapel Haven West (CHW)

Chapel Haven West, Inc. in Tucson, AZ provides a residential transition program followed by lifelong supports for adults 18+ with mild developmental disabilities and those on the autism spectrum.

Building on Chapel Haven’s success of nearly 40 years as a leader in the field of teaching and supporting individuals with learning challenges , Chapel Haven West teaches young adults to live independent and productive lives.

Students live in a beautifully renovated apartment complex with 24-hour staffing and within walking distance to the University of Arizona (U of A). The program’s proximity to the U of A provides a rich array of benefits for Chapel Haven West students. The students attend classes and have access to university facilities including the Student Union, libraries, newly renovated Campus Recreation Center, state-of-the-art Disability Resource Center (DRC), and the renowned Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center. They also enjoy a rich array of classes, life skills training and social recreation opportunities at Chapel Haven West’s campus in the heart of Tucson.

The 24-month curriculum focuses in four key areas:


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 part of the curriculum addresses how to establish and maintain relationships, how to problem-solve social communication breakdowns, and how to consider the perspective of others.  Expressive and receptive language is targeted to improve conversational interactions

With two speech-language pathologists on staff, social communication is taught in classrooms on the Chapel Haven West campus and at the U of A and reinforced in all settings. A unique feature enrolls our students for two years in a college-level, credit-earning SCC class offered by the University of Arizona and held on its campus. The course is taught by clinicians in the University’s Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Department under the direction of Chapel Haven West speech-language pathologists.

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.

Students move into apartments in the Chapel Haven West residential building It is our proven belief that the only way to teach independence is in a setting that imitates life.

Students are taught the day-to-day skills necessary for independent living.

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

A Wellness Coordinator works individually with students on nutritious meal planning, healthy eating habits, exercise routines and healthy lifestyles.  All students enjoy memberships to the U of A Campus Recreation Center, where they can also access personal training.

At the conclusion of the two year program, all the benchmarks for graduation have been achieved, and the big day arrives—transition into the community. At that time, students can enter the community in one of two ways—through the Bridge Program or the Supported Living Program.

The Bridge Program

If students need extra support after the two-year residential program, the team might recommend the Bridge Program. Participants in the Bridge Program live in the community, but receive extra support for one year before their transition to a more independent lifestyle. They continue learning about community resources, get more practice in mobility, receive additional money management instruction, and receive individualized additional support wherever it is needed.   The Bridge Program is a tuition based program.

The Supported Living Program

After the Bridge Program, students become part of the Supported Living Program, joining other community members who entered the program right after graduation. Graduates in the Supported Living Program access the level of support that they need in the areas of life skills, employment, education, and recreation. Supported Living is a fee for service program.

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