What is the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center?

Seattle Children's Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center, in Bothell, offers year-round classes, activities and events that provide social, recreational, life-skills and vocational training opportunities for adults age 18 or older with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or other developmental disabilities. The goal of all programming offered is to promote lifelong learning, enhance quality of life and provide meaningful ways for adults to take part in a community of peers and friends.

Who Can Participate

Who should attend?

Learners of all abilities are encouraged to participate in classes offered at the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center (Burnett Center). Our program takes into account the diverse needs, strengths and goals of each individual adult. Classes are suited for individuals who:

  • Have autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities or other developmental disabilities
  • Are age 18 or older (students in a transition program are welcome)
  • Want to take part in a supportive community of peers while engaging in lifelong learning
  • Want to build skills that promote independence, or engage in activities for recreation and socialization

We welcome individuals who may need high levels of support or supervision for everyday activities, or who have challenging behaviors.

How do I know which classes will meet my needs?

Our program takes into account diverse strengths, interests and needs of adults and is organized into different levels (Level I, Level II, Level III) to best place adults among peers with similar interests and skills.

Burnett Center staff will make suggestions for which classes are best suited for each individual during the intake process. Some adults may be a good fit in varying levels depending on class topic.

  • Level I: Activities are intended for individuals who need a high level of support, which may include a 1:1 caregiver (who must come to classes), hand-over-hand assistance, visual schedules and behavioral support for challenging behaviors such as tantrums, self-injury or yelling.
  • Level II: Activities are intended for individuals who can follow verbal directions, express needs and wants and function mostly independently. These adults may engage in some challenging behaviors, and may require a 1:1 caregiver at discretion of staff.
  • Level III: Activities are intended for individuals who are highly independent and may have high-functioning autism (formerly known as Asperger syndrome). Participants are able to communicate verbally and challenging behaviors are minimal to none.
  • All: Activities are designed for individuals of all abilities to participate in together.

Some classes may incorporate more than one level, such as Level I/Level II or Level II/Level III.

Do I have to be 18 to participate?

Classes at the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center are designed specifically for adults with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. You must be at least 18, or turn 18 during the quarter, to participate in classes.

Are caregivers allowed or required to attend classes?

Participants who typically require a 1:1 aide or caregiver are required to have this person attend classes with them. Burnett Center staff will discuss this on a case-by-case basis prior to enrollment. Caregivers are required to sign a code of conduct and are expected to participate in the class and work within the instructors’ directions to ensure participants gain the most from class.

Are adults with challenging behaviors welcome to participate at the center?

The Burnett Center has a behavior consultant on staff, allowing us to work with adults who may have challenging behaviors, including verbal aggression, tantrums, self- injurious behaviors, etc. Safety is the utmost priority at the center, so if we determine that an adult’s continuous challenging behaviors are a harm to others or self, we reserve the right to temporarily suspend attendance until the adult’s behaviors are more manageable, as decided by the program manager and behavior consultant. We request full disclosure in the intake process about challenging behaviors, and adults will not be discriminated against for behaviors. Rather, this information is extremely valuable as we plan classes. 

Registration and Payment

What is the process for registration?

Link to Registration

What is the cost for drop-in events and activities?

For adults interested in participating in drop-in recreation events and activities, "Rec Punch Cards" are available for $100, which includes 10 credits towards any recreation activities at the center. Recreation activities include Movie Night, Game Night and Open Rec. Rec Punch Cards have no expiration date and are non-refundable.

  • Movie Night, 1 credit
  • Game Night, 2 credits
  • Open Rec,  2 credits

What are accepted forms of payment for classes?

Credit card, check and DDA respite hours* are accepted forms of payment. Tuition for all classes will be due on the first day of the quarter. A monthly payment plan is available, in which auto-payment would occur on the first class of each month. If paying by check, please submit payment with invoice to the Burnett Center on the first day of classes of each month.

If you are enrolling mid-quarter, we will provide an invoice for the remainder of classes prior to the first day of attendance.

*Are DDA respite hours an accepted form of payment for classes?

We are proud to have a Respite Contract with DDA and welcome families to use hours to pay for classes. In order to thoughtfully serve as many adults as possible, there will be a reserved allotment of spots in each class for families washing to use respite hours. Respite hours can be used towards specific classes and for recreation activities, and will be billed at the hourly rate. Families who use respite hours must commit to the entire quarter of classes and will be asked to sign a Respite Cancellation Agreement, which outlines that if for any reason you do not attend classes, you are required to pay out of pocket for missed classes. Please indicate respite hours as a preferred form of payment on your intake form to assist in planning. The Burnett Center is not able to accept all requests to use DDA respite hours. Please contact the program manager for more information.

Class Format

How many people are in a class?

Class size varies depending on class levels, topics and classrooms, but typically have between four and 12 participants.

How long are classes?

Class length varies depending on class level and topic, but classes typically last 1–2 hours. Movie nights and other recreation events are typically 2 hours.

How long is a class series?

Classes will typically run for a 10–12-week session and align with most community and public colleges’ quarter schedules. In the future, workshops or one-time classes will be offered; the duration of those will depend on topic. Adults are required to register for an entire quarter of classes.

How often are new classes added?

The schedule for classes may vary slightly from quarter to quarter. Based on feedback from our participants and demand for classes, we may add or remove classes during the quarter or at the beginning of a new quarter. Ideally, class schedules will be consistent from quarter to quarter, to provide structure for participants throughout the year.

Can I choose to attend only one class in a series?

With the exception of recreation, movie nights and other drop-in events, participants must enroll for the entire series of classes within a quarter. Curriculum is designed to build upon skills learned in previous weeks’ classes and to promote socialization among a consistent group of peers. For individuals seeking more flexibility, please consider attending recreation events such as Movie Night, Open Rec and Game Night. If you know in advance that you will not be able to attend specific classes within a quarter, we can discuss crediting these classes for future recreation events.

How do I know if a class will be a good fit for me?

After you complete the intake form, Burnett Center staff will schedule an intake meeting with you and relevant caretakers to determine interests, needed support and abilities. This meeting will help to identify classes best suited for you considering your individual goals, needs, desires and abilities.

Can I enroll in a class midway through the quarter?

We encourage participants to enroll at the beginning of each quarter, for the entire quarter. Depending on availability, participants can enroll mid-quarter. If you are interested in enrolling in a class mid-quarter, please contact Burnett Center staff to inquire about availability.

Can I participate while in school or other programs?

The Burnett Center is designed to support the transition from the education system to adulthood. We warmly welcome adults who may be participating in transition or other school programs to attend.

If a class is full, can I be put on a waiting list?

Yes – if a class is full, we will manage a waiting list and inform you when additional classes or openings become available. Depending on community interest, we may also add classes throughout the quarter to best meet the needs of the community.

What is the 2015 quarter schedule?

  • Winter Quarter: January 5–March 27
  • Spring Quarter: April 6–June 26
  • Summer Quarter: July 6–September 25
  • Fall Quarter: October 5–December 18 (11-week quarter)

Is the Burnett Center open on holidays, or are there any other closures to note?

Please note we are closed on the following days:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Monday, January 19
  • Presidents Day: Monday, February 16
  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 25
  • Independence Day: Friday, July 3
  • Labor Day: Monday, September 7
  • Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, November 26
  • Christmas Day: Friday, December 25

Cancellations and Attendance

What happens if I do not like a class?

We will make every effort possible to accommodate the abilities and interests of you or your adult. If circumstances arise where you are unable to continue attending the program, we can discuss on a case by case basis. We ask that you please call the program manager at 425-488-6173 to discuss any programmatic concerns.

What happens if I am sick and unable to attend a class?

If you are sick, please call 425-488-6173 to notify our staff as soon as possible in order to help in classroom and curriculum planning. We are not able to offer class refunds, but may offer class credit towards recreation activities.

Is there a drop-off or pick-up window for classes?

We allow a 30-minute window for pick-up and drop-off for classes. Due to staffing, we are unable to lead activities for adults who may arrive or depart outside of this window. Participants may wait for class to begin or for their ride to arrive; however, we cannot guarantee staff supervision at this time. We understand that, due to varying transportation methods, arrival and departure times may vary. If using ACCESS or DART, please ensure that pick-up and drop-off times fall within this 30-minute window.

What if I am using DDA respite hours and I am unable to attend a class?

Please notify us before the quarter begins of any planned absences. As a participant choosing to use respite hours for class payment, we require that you register for the entire 11 or 12 weeks in the quarter to ensure that each class’s availability is maximized. Participants using respite hours will be required to pay out-of-pocket for any unplanned absences, per the Respite Cancellation Agreement.

Transportation, Food, Medications and Amenities

Is transportation provided?

Participants must coordinate their own transportation to and from the Burnett Center. Conveniently located in the heart of Bothell, the center is close to a bus line and has ample, free parking in our private lot. The Burnett Center is an approved ACCESS and DART drop-off and pick-up site. Please note: the entrance is in back of the building, in the upper parking lot.

Are meals provided?

Meals and snacks are not provided, with the exception of cooking classes, in which case a meal is included in the price of the class. Refrigerator space is also available for participants to store needed snacks or drinks while at the center. Please notify staff of any dietary restrictions or allergies and make note of these on your intake form.

Is there staff to assist with medication distribution?

Burnett Center staff will not be able to assist in distributing medication or helping with other personal care. Participants requiring this support will be asked to bring a caregiver to assist.

Teaching or Volunteering

How can I teach a class?

For more information, please call 425-488-6173 or email us.

How can I volunteer?

Please email us to inquire about opportunities.