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Full-time Vocational Classes Designed for Adults With Special Needs

Noozhawk - 6/14/2018

Solvang nonprofit Hidden Wings has announced its fall course schedule, designed to teach job-related and independent-living skills to young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.

In a new partnership with the Tri Counties Regional Center, Hidden Wings aims to serve more students through its full-time vocational and community integration program.

Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 27. Classes are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday with occasional Saturdays.

Founded in 2009, Hidden Wings helps young adults with autism and other special needs to find the right job and a good friend. Students learn to focus on their gifts, not their deficits, which empowers them to lead full and productive lives in society.

"By popular demand, we have expanded to a full-time program and our student population to include young adults with a variety of special needs who would also benefit from the same social and job skills training as those on the spectrum," said Rev Jim Billington, who cofounded the nonprofit with his wife, Julia, a local physician.

"Our program is community based. We will spend five out of six hours out in the community - doing an internship at a local business, for example - while also building individual social skills," he said.

Billington said students will learn job-specific skills and participate in specialized music therapy and physical education to build teamwork, fitness, and social skills.

Courses also focus on developing independent-living skills and learning how to integrate in the community, from learning how to take public transportation to balancing a checkbook.

Hidden Wings' courses are open to high school graduates with developmental disabilities, who are enrolled at the Tri Counties Regional Center. Those not enrolled can pay privately.

The Tri Counties Regional Center serves San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as part of California'sDepartment of Developmental Services.

Activities will take place in Solvang and various resource centers throughout the Santa Ynez Valley. Transportation will be available on a limited basis, provided to and from Hidden Wings headquarters, 517 Atterdag Road, Solvang.

For more information, contact Jim Billington at [email protected] or 805-705-3918.

- Jim Billington for Hidden Wings.


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