I just wanted to take a moment to share my appreciation for your June 8 article on the JCC program for people with Aspergers, “From Awkward to In Love.” I also wanted to share a bit about our program as I do not agree with a statement in the article asserting that Adaptations is the only program in the country that combines dating, socialization support and career help.
As a mental health counselor and coordinator for Jewish Child Care Association’s Compass Project, I have great respect for the Adaptations program and also understand the need for such programs to aid in the positive development of individuals with Autism spectrum disorders. Contrary to what the article suggests, Adaptations is not the only program in the country which provides such services for this population (I assure you that there are others in addition to The Compass project).
The Compass project serves the special needs of high school students, college students, and individuals transitioning to work. Targeting teens and young adults with learning differences, Autism Spectrum challenges, and related disabilities, Compass provides counseling, educational direction, social support (including discussions on dating), recreation programs, assessments, internship opportunities, vocational assistance, and independent living programs for young people making the transition to an independent future. Our regular social programs include dinner groups, trips and outings, fitness programs, and we have even sponsored multiple Birthright trips to Israel.
Again I greatly appreciate your effort to write about and promote great programs like Adaptations, but I would be remiss to let interested readers go on thinking that their options for services are so limited.
Coordinator, JCCA Compass Project
New York, N.Y.