Gateway Academy is cognizant that its students tend to experience greater difficulty during transitions.  To that end, we monitor our students during those times and provide preparation and scaffolding to help them navigate those passages.  Strategies for successful transition include:



  • Shadowing – Potential students “shadow” current students before enrolling in Gateway Academy which assists both teachers, students and candidates with a time of familiarization.
  • Summer programs and Orientation – Incoming students frequently participate in these programs which create familiarity in a low-pressure context.



  • Parent conferences and trajectory review – Formal conferences are scheduled twice a year.  During those times, parents can review progress and also preview the next steps.
  • Parent Cohort Meetings – Each semester parents are invited to “Cohort” meetings of parents of students in a given grade.  The conferences are designed to prepare parents for the upcoming social and academic milestones in their students’ lives.
  • Magic Curtain – Each Spring, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors, along with their parents participate in a day-long retreat aimed at reflecting on the student’s abilities and accomplishments and defining their trajectory for the future.  The “Magic Curtain” imagery is derived from the scene in The Wizard of Oz in which Toto pulls back the curtain revealing the real “wizard.” The goal is to distance both students and, at times, parents from magical thinking and to promote realistic and hopeful planning for the future
  • College visits – Juniors and Seniors visit a variety of post-high school educational settings in order to gain information and to envision themselves in the next phase of their growth.  Institutions include 4-year colleges, junior colleges, and community colleges, as well as vocational schools.
  • My Day Café – Gateway has an equipped on-site kitchen to facilitate My Day Café, a program developed at the Gateway Academy. My Day Café teaches kitchen and cooking skills, aspects of teamwork in a restaurant/hospitality setting, and the basics of project management.
  • Internships – Gateway Juniors and Seniors are exposed to numerous training opportunities including intern positions in retail stores, restaurants, local schools, healthcare facilities, fitness centers, and elder care services. This process also allows students to develop work-related social skills through interactions with coworkers, customers, and managers.
  • Part-Time Job Acquisition – Gateway expects each member of the senior class to obtain and hold a part-time job before graduation. These jobs are acquired by the student. The staff supports the student in the search, application process, and interview process but does not make the connection. After participating in the My Day Café, Personal Finance, and Internship programs, each Gateway Senior is equipped for the part-time work world! Our team then supports the student as they adjust to the job requirements and expectations through onsite student coaching, company management coaching, and consistent evaluation.
  • Personal Finance – Gateway is committed to ensuring that every individual graduate with appropriate financial acumen, so students are equipped to handle basic financial skills they will need to manage their earnings and pay bills associated with independent living. Upperclassmen take a Personal Finance course full of financial planning, costs of independent living, and budgeting.
  • AIM – During their final year Seniors participate in the AIM Program.  AIM is facilitated by the school counselor. Seniors take a true assessment of their skills, weaknesses, and interests.  With that information, they imagine and choose one or two long-range goals for career and independence. Next, they extrapolate smaller, achievable goals.  The end product of AIM is a written document defining the first 6 months of post-high school life which they present to their parents and their faculty mentor.

Transition Fair 2019

The Gateway Academy Transition Fair is an annual event featuring programs throughout Texas and the U.S. that serve young adults with social and learning differences. Featured programs cater to students for whom college, adult independent living and/or vocational careers are attainable with the proper structure and support.  

Participating programs serve high school graduates aged 18 and up with average to above average IQ. The programs represent educational options for experiential learners, such as trade schools, immersive adult life skills programs, vocational, and certificate courses. 

In addition, our Transition Fair features community and 4-year colleges that support students with social and learning differences. Common learning differences addressed by these programs include dyslexia, AD/HD, autism, and mental health challenges.  

Our Transition Fair is free but registration is required to attend!  Everyone is welcome …educators, students, and parents! 

College In-State

Alvin Community College STRIVE Program
Alvin, Texas

The STRIVE Program consists of a 2-year college program for adults with intellectual disabilities.  The program provides vocational training with the end goal of the student obtaining a job. Some required courses for the program are: Career Exploration/Planning, Communication Skills for the Workplace, Interpersonal Skills, Occupational Math, and Safety and Accident Prevention. Upon completion of the program, each student will receive a certificate of completion. This is not an accredited college degree program.


College of Health Care Professions
Houston, Texas

As a leader in healthcare education and training, CHCP will help you develop the skills you need to meet the demands of today’s healthcare industry and be on your way to a promising career that’s right for you. Founded by physicians, we’re 100-percent focused on healthcare education and training and our accredited programs have been developing healthcare professionals for 30 years. CHCP faculty have real-world, on-the-job experience, and are committed to helping each and every one of our students succeed. Just as importantly, our wide range of on-campus, online and hybrid program offerings give our students flexible options to learn on their schedule. Join the CHCP family and let us guide you on your path to a successful career helping others. CHCP offers a full range of clinical and administrative Health Care programs to meet your specific education and career goals. Our programs are delivered via campus, online, or blended instruction.


Houston Community College System – VAST Academy
Houston, Texas

VAST Academy provides post-secondary transition programs and comprehensive support services, which lead to meaningful credentials, employment and independence for differently-abled individuals. Opportunities include vocational certificates, pre-college and freshman success bridge courses, career readiness credentials, internships and employment assistance offered through an inclusive, relevant and affordable avenue.


Texas A&M – Spectrum Living Community
College Station, Texas

The Spectrum Living Community at Texas A&M welcomes all students with a connection to the Autism community. Students participating in Spectrum may be individuals with Autism or simply have an interest in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Spectrum LLC allows students to surround themselves with others who are connected to or interested in the Autism community. Students will participate in both academic and social programming and interact with staff members who can direct them to academic supports and university resources as needed. Departments such as Career Services, Disability Services, Academic Success Center, and other various departments will give specific opportunities for students to learn about campus resources and activities. LLC participants will have the opportunity to form study groups for shared courses throughout the academic year. Students within the community will coordinate additional social events including but not limited to bowling night, community dinners, campus traditions, intramural sports, volunteer opportunities, and more.


University of Houston – Center for Students with DisABILITIES
Houston, Texas
The Center for Students with DisABILITIES equalizes our students’ learning, discovery, and engagement by fostering self-advocacy, inclusion, and success.

College Out-of-State

Middlebridge School
Narragansett, Rhode Island
The Bridge program staff supports students challenged by the demands of college and vocational classes by helping them manage their time, improve organizational skills, and develop good study habits. We help students to understand their learning styles and the support they may need to be successful at the college level. The Bridge program staff encourages student self-advocacy teaching students to request help and accommodations from professors and school resource centers. All students receive individual tutoring and receive support in small groups, focusing on common academic areas they need to strengthen. The Bridge program is offered in conjunction with the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) in Newport, University of Rhode Island, and New England Technical Institute in Warwick. Bridge students may enroll at one of these schools and study what they choose from a multitude of classes offered. In addition, the Bridge reinforces and strengthens independent living skills. Students work with residential staff to master skills as diverse as personal organization, financial management, wellness and nutrition, self-advocacy, and social relationships. All Bridge students take Middlebridge’s innovative Social Pragmatics class, which is designed to enhance students’ understanding of complex social interactions and improve their social relationship skills. Students live in supervised family-style houses off campus. Students are encouraged to become active community members through internships, job shadows, and service learning activities. Community service is an important part of the Bridge school community.  Service learning activities provide an opportunity for Bridge students to work as a group, helping foster friendships among students and enabling students to develop ties to their off-campus community.


University of the Ozarks – Jones Learning Center
Clarksville, Arkansas
The JLC is designed to serve students with documented learning disabilities, Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with average or above average intellectual abilities. Students who will benefit from the services of the JLC, and be successful at Ozarks, are able to think critically but need additional support to demonstrate their knowledge in a traditional academic environment. Ozarks’ Jones Learning Center was established in 1971 and has a comprehensive fee-based program that helps students with learning disabilities, AD/HD, and ASD.

Other In-State

Houston, Texas
The ADVANCE Program is a non-profit transition training organization focused on supporting young adults with social and learning differences.  ADVANCE includes training and oversight in the key areas of adult transition skills, career training, healthy lifestyle, as well as secondary education, tutoring, and support. All students enjoy access to our unique QUEST social adventure and integration program. QUEST activities include exploring the city through festivals, museums, local attractions, and sporting events.
ADVANCE offers psychological counseling, speech, employment coaching, and weekly goal-oriented advising. All sessions are led by passionate, experienced, licensed professionals. We empower young adults to self-advocate and determine their life’s course in ways that support life-long growth and contribution to their community.
Successful candidates are young adults motivated to achieve personal independence while enjoying strong personal and workplace relationships.

  • The criteria for success include:
  • High school graduates
  • Between the age of 18-26
  • Full-scale IQ of 80 or above
  • Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, AD/HD, and/or other social and learning disabilities
  • Individuals motivated to transition to a life of personal independence and social engagement


Attention Deficit Disorders Association – South Region (ADDA-SR)
Houston, Texas
Our mission is to provide a resource network, support individuals impacted by ADHD and related conditions and to advocate for the development of community resources. We provide educational programming, support groups, resources, information on research studies and volunteer opportunities for young adults, parents, and families.


College Living Experience (CLE)
Austin, Texas and other states (Washington, D.C., Florida, California, Colorado)
College Living Experience (CLE) has been providing post-secondary supports to students with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, and other varying exceptionalities. The staff works closely with students on campus, in the community and their apartments to provide individualized instruction in the areas of academics, independent living, social skills, and career development. These wrap-around supports help each student experience independence as they transition to college, pursue a career and build a life away from home. CLE supports are tailored to each young adult it serves through personalized services, providing a comprehensive support system that allows students to move through barriers to pursue their own goals.

CLE’s pre-college program allows students to discover and build upon a variety of skills that will aid in their transition to life after high school. Students will have a chance to gain insight into some of their favorite subjects through hands-on learning, skill development, relationship building and career/college exposure in a supportive environment.


Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2017 in order to address unemployment disparities among Houstonians with disabilities.

Our chamber model is a dual customer initiative.  Traditional chambers serve businesses exclusively.  The GHDCC, however, serves two groups of people.  It serves Houstonian job seekers who have disabilities, as well as local businesses that are willing to recruit, hire, and offer supported employment with competitive wages to job seekers with disabilities.
The GHDCC is here to teach businesses about the benefits of hiring people who have disabilities; what supported employment is and how to provide it.  We don’t want to merely see our members being hired, but we want to see that they will have longevity at their place of employment, that they will be treated fairly and with dignity, and that they will receive competitive wages.  We know that all of this becomes possible when businesses are given the tools to make such an employment initiative successful.

The GHDCC also strives to help our job seekers to become workplace ready by offering workshops and education to them, as well as by connecting them to job coaches and a multitude of other transition services.

Ultimately, the GHDCC will serve as a pipeline in which to prepare and to connect businesses and job seekers.

Houston, Texas
The HUB Houston is a relationship-centered educational program serving teenagers and young adults with neurological differences. We bring belonging to life in a community where members are Heard, Understood and Believed in.  Our mentors believe belonging to a community is at the heart of learning. The HUB aspires to be a welcoming, joyful center where interactive relationship practice is central and where each member is accepted and cherished just as they are. At The HUB, social relationships will flourish, academic growth will continue and professional/employability skills are taught and practiced. The HUB Houston is a membership-based collective. Postgraduate aged members are offered a comprehensive Life 101 program option, including community, education, and vocational coaching. In addition, there is a Club HUB membership option that utilizes a relationship-based community center for social engagement, providing afternoon, evening, and weekend offerings. 


Including Kids
Humble, Texas
Including Kids provides evidence-based behavior analytic interventions for persons with autism and related disabilities to maximize individual potential and to facilitate their meaningful inclusion in the community. Including kids offers 1:1 programs such as The SOAR, as well as community-based life and social skill building programs such as The Center for Community Inclusion CCI. The Focused Intervention Program provides targeted therapy in order to make gains in a specific area for teens and adults. Adult Services Seminars present a range of useful social thinking skills that are needed in the various and changing environments within which adults interact. 


Lindamood Bell
Houston, Texas
Lindamood Bell has pioneered programs to develop the sensory-cognitive processes that underlie reading and comprehension. Our program serves adults of all ages with language-based challenges such as dyslexia, reading comprehension and memorization skills as well as functional literacy. A primary cause of language comprehension problems is difficulty creating an imagined gestalt. This is called weak concept imagery. This weakness causes individuals to get only “parts” of information they read or hear, but not the whole. As a result, adults with learning differences may struggle with reading and listening comprehension, critical thinking and problem solving, following directions, memory, oral and written language expression, grasping humor, interpreting social situations, understanding cause and effect; all of which can hinder them in vocational and educational settings. Some clients wish to “fine tune” skills in order to optimize learning and keep pace with the flow of the workplace or college coursework. Programming is short-term (weeks to months), immersive and intensive. Our individualized programs are individualized and meet Monday-Friday. Programs may range from 2-6 hours per day.


Manchaca, Texas (near Austin)
Marbridge’s 170-acre campus consists of three interconnected communities providing varying levels of care. Each Village resident enjoys a full schedule of individualized training to support his/her Individualized Program Plan (IPP). Training opportunities may include select life skills classes such as Healthy Eating Choices, or academic skills improvement classes such as Money Math. Life enrichment classes may include swimming, art, choir, drama or equestrian therapy. Through Job Skills training, many Marbridge residents develop skills that allow them to qualify for community-based or campus-based employment. Training is offered on a semester basis, providing a college-like experience for adults who may be leaving home for the first time.
The cottage residences at The Village provide an ideal way to allow a loved one with special needs to learn to fly on their own. Village residents live within a safe, supervised environment, yet the training they receive helps them learn to take responsibility for their own lives and attain greater independence than many parents ever believed possible.


Providence Place
San Antonio, Texas
(website coming soon)
Oasis Home at Providence place is a 2-4 year work and living program for young adults with disabilities in San Antonio and surrounding areas that offers case management services, money, health and medication management education, employment services, nutrition and food monitoring, problem-solving and interpersonal skills education, room maintenance monitoring, connection to community resources and living on a scenic campus with a walking track.

Legacy at Providence Place is a 2-4 work and independent transition living for young adults with disabilities in San Antonio and surrounding areas. We offer apartment living (your lease or ours), case management services, money and medication management education, employment services, nutrition and food monitoring, problem solving and interpersonal skills education, apartment maintenance monitoring, connection to community resources and college support (if needed).


Social Motion Skills – Adult Services
Houston, Texas
Social Motion Skills – Adult Services helps you move forward with workplace social assessments, advanced social skill training, job readiness and independent living skills to help you achieve the success you desire. Social skills groups, driver’s ed, and specialty classes and parent training are offered in addition to Transition services. The T3 – Transition, Training and Taxpaying program is a job-readiness program designed to prepare young adults with autism and similar special needs to achieve and succeed at integrated employment.  The program blends specialized curriculum, assessments and self-development with hands-on internships at local businesses, such as Memorial Hermann Hospital, Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Clear Lake Infiniti, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Aspire Accessories. Our internship and externships offer real-world job skills practice in supervised settings within a variety of business lines. This exposure and access provide crucial learning opportunities. T3 creates employment opportunities through partnerships with businesses and community organizations, community education and advocacy. The base program runs 12 weeks with varying schedules according to in/externship placement and hours. In/Externship opportunities may change as partnership opportunities evolve. Intake interview required. Social Motion offers continued job support and independence mapping.

Other Out-of-State

OPTIONS Transitions to Independence at Brehm
Carbondale, Illinois
OPTIONS Transitions to Independence is a comprehensive boarding program for post-secondary students with complex learning disabilities, attention disorders, language-based disorders and/or executive functioning deficits. OPTIONS offers instruction and assistance for students who need to further develop independent living, social, employment and academic skills. As students transition through phases of OPTIONS, they develop skills and acquire the crucial tools necessary for independent life.
OPTIONS offers two different tracks: a College Transition track with our partner – John A. Logan College, and a Certificate of Completion track, which includes a variety of vocational concentrations. Both offer intensive assistance, structured supervision, and supported study hours. Our mission is to empower students with complex learning disabilities and differences to recognize and optimize their potential throughout their lifetime. We advance independence by optimizing our students’ full potential so that they may lead happy, independent, productive lives.


Providence Place- Center for Higher Independence
San Antonio, Texas
At the Center for Higher Independence, young adults with disabilities gain the work, life and social skills to live independently. After graduation, students can plan on holding a paying job, with the skills and training to live on their own with minimal assistance. Providence Place’s Center for Higher Independence provides a campus experience where young adults with disabilities learn to take responsibility for their lives. They manage tasks of daily living in a way they never dreamed possible – shopping and cooking for themselves, cleaning their homes, managing their money – and open up bright new futures for themselves. Oasis Home is an intermediate care facility that acts as a transition option for CHI graduates who may require some additional independent living training. During their time at Oasis Home, residents continue to develop the skills that they learned from CHI: job-readiness, money management, decision making, and independent living. In this supportive, safe environment, Oasis Home residents are able to receive individualized training objectives, continuing education classes, in-home medical care, and focused one-on-one teaching to help obtain their goals.

Trade / Vocational In-State

Universal Technical Institute
Houston, Texas

With 220,000 square feet of training space, our Houston campus has a 34-year history of preparing technicians for the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries. Additionally, qualifying graduates can apply to take advantage of Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training focused on Ford, Nissan and Cummins diesel engines after completing a core program.


Harris County RIDES
Harris County, Texas

RIDES provides non-emergency transportation services for older adults and people with disabilities who reside in Harris County that are unable to access METRO services or have no alternate transportation. To qualify under older adult or people with disabilities qualifications, you must reside within Harris County and meet one or more of the following criteria: 65+ years of age (proof of age required) OR people with disabilities (proof of disability required: SSI Award letter or certification letter from your physician). To use the RIDES service, you must be registered as an eligible customer either directly with the program or with a sponsoring agency. RIDES is a curb-to-curb subsidized program that allows eligible customers and participating agencies to purchase transportation services at a significant discount. The customer/agency pays 50% of the total trip cost. Shared Ride and Taxi Service programs are available to eligible customers.