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Program bridges gaps for special-needs adults

4:37 PM, May 24, 2011   |    comments
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"The atmosphere and the teachers," Casillas said when asked what she liked about the program.

Casillas and the other adults in the program start every day by reading the news.

"We always start our day off with 9News.com," Cathi Allen, a Bridge program teacher, said. "This gets our young people to take a look outside themselves."

Then they engage in different activities learning things from fine motor skills, to completing simple tasks, to how to cook safely in the kitchen, to how to perform well during a job interview.

"So that when you get out in the community and live by yourself, you'll learn how to do these things," Casillas said.

Casillas and the others also work at job sites such as local restaurants and stores to learn how they can function in real situations.

"All things that I think many of us do take for granted, we teach in this program," Allen said.

Allen says the teachers themselves are amazed at how much these young adults learn during the program.

"[Anabel] was afraid to risk. She was afraid to try new things to being a leader in our program. Others look up to her," Allen said.

Douglas County Schools runs Bridge programs around the district to help special needs adults ages 18-to-21 who don't have a high school diploma.

Now, the woman who used to be nervous is the confident one in class.

"I like when they ask me for help," Casillas said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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