Youth Programs & Services

As a Center for Independent Living, you can take advantage of what we have to offer even if you are under 22. Our services are aimed to assist you transition into the added responsibilities of living independently. We can help with passing your permit test, getting a job, even learning how to cook; and we can help with graduating high school and college! The Youth Department has created resources, curriculum, programs, and events that can help you overcome many of the barriers you may face as you transition into the next stage in your life.

Independence Associates can also assist you in self-advocacy, from the personal to the political. We have materials and programming that will help you learn about your rights as a person with disabilities and the laws that protect you. During your meetings with IA, you can work on personal advocacy skills such as speaking up for yourself during an IEP meeting, raising your voice in uncomfortable situations, and talking to your employer or professor about accommodations.

The Youth Department at IA holds recurring community events such as our monthly youth social, where all consumers are welcome to stop by and say hello! We have pizza, drinks, and access to a variety of great games!

All of the services we offer are divided into a couple different programs which are listed – (Below, to the right, to the left). Click on the program links to find out which one might fit you best!

Have questions? Give us a call anytime!

Transition to Adulthood Program

The TAP Program provides services to youth with disabilities to help them prepare for transitioning to adulthood and greater independence. Services are provided using a peer modeling approach and based on the Independent Living philosophy of consumer control. The program assists consumers in developing independent living goals, and provides individual and group services that are designed to assist youth in attaining their goals.

Youth enrolled in TAP will work closely with their assigned Skills Trainer on skill development and completion of tasks to meet the goals and objectives outlined in their Independent Living Plan. The goal of the program is to give youth with disabilities the experiences to gain confidence, knowledge, and skills in preparation for leaving high school and transitioning into adulthood while supporting the parents of the youth in learning the community resources that are available.

Who is Eligible for TAP Services?

  • High school students between the ages of 14-22 with a disability
  • Students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan
  • Youth with the desire to learn independent living and self-advocacy skills including but not limited to driving, work preparedness, improved social skills, college preparation, seeking housing or public benefits, transportation skills, etc.

The program may serve individuals between the ages of 16 and 22 who are currently out of school, however these individuals must have a goal in their ILP to return to school.

Transitional Internship Program

TIP provides job and skills training, and internship placement to youth with disabilities to help them gain work experience to prepare for future employment. TIP will provide initial and ongoing training, support and guidance to participating youth on both an individual and group basis before and during their internship.

Youth participating in TIP will earn a competitive hourly wage for the hours worked at their assigned internship site. The goal of the program is to expose youth to work opportunities and assist them with developing employment skills and marketable experience as an effort to bring more individuals with disabilities into the workforce. Students selected for TIP will be placed in an internship site in the community aligned with their vocational goals and their ability to travel.

Who is Eligible for TIP Services?

  • Enrolled students (secondary or post-secondary) between the ages of 16-22 with a disability
  • Be a consumer of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services
  • Referred to Independence Associates by consumers’ MRC VR counselor

Independence Associates will assist in making the referral to the local Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) Area Office for those individuals that are not currently working with MRC.