Program opportunities of residential immersive life skills programs for youth with disabilities Academic Article uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Residential immersive life skills programs provide youth with the skills and outlooks needed to adopt new roles in life. Observed program opportunities and service providers' perceptions of opportunities were examined to determine program fidelity. Service providers' views of how the programs work were also examined. METHOD: 107 activity settings were observed across two summers at three programs, with opportunities assessed using the Measure of Environmental Qualities of Activity Settings (MEQAS-48). Activity settings were classified by session format (instructional versus experiential) and activity type (active physical, skill-based, self-improvement). Qualitative interviews were held with seven service providers. RESULTS: Service providers indicated the importance of life-preparatory learning opportunities for social interaction, choice, and skill development, which aligned with high observed MEQAS-48 opportunities for social interaction, choice in experiential session formats, and personal growth. Providers individualized program delivery to provide youth with personally meaningful and challenging experiences. Providers also discussed emergent, transformational outcomes, including enhanced awareness of strengths, enhanced confidence in skills, identity development, and greater awareness of future life possibilities. CONCLUSIONS: The study provided evidence of program fidelity, along with robust evidence for program opportunities as an active ingredient that may be transferable to the design and delivery of other transition-support programs.


  • King, Gillian
  • McPherson, Amy
  • Mosleh, Donya
  • Hartman, Laura
  • Rapley, Jesiqua
  • Pinto, Madhu

publication date

  • December 2018