In 2023, Pressley Ridge School for Autism (PRSA) student Ryan began transitioning to Project LIFE at Goodwill, a comprehensive program in which individuals with disabilities can develop, practice, and strengthen skills that can lead to increased adult independence and successful employment.

Ryan began attending the program four days a week and rotated through different tasks, including organizing shelves, retrieving books for shipping, watching video monitors, checking fire extinguishers, refilling first aid kits and communicating with teammates using a walkie talkie.

Ryan’s family and staff are proud of the skills that he learned at Pressley Ridge that helped him to succeed in this pre-vocational placement. He increased his self-advocacy and learned to update his resume, create a PowerPoint presentation and participate in mock interviews. Ryan’s many strengths will help him succeed. He is an effective listener who uses critical thinking skills and completes his work accurately.

Ryan agrees that Pressley Ridge has been crucial to his success, in particular helping him to develop coping skills. Ryan’s mother, Mari, notes, “Ryan has grown so much since his time at PRSA. It’s great knowing that Ryan has all of the tools that he needs to be able to take care of himself, advocate for himself, and be a productive member of society. Those are all the things that I worry about in being a mom.”

Since last year, Ryan has transitioned from Pressley Ridge back to his school district and is attending Project LIFE full time. Ryan’s goals for after Project LIFE include learning more about cooking and exploring competitive work. He is very interested in understanding what makes a video game function and wants to learn how to program.