Classes, Outings and Support Groups
Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center offers a wide range of classes, specialized services and community outings year-round for people ages 18 or older with autism spectrum disorder and other cognitive or developmental disabilities.
Our offerings teach and build skills in areas like music, the arts, job and life skills, health and wellness, recreation, socializing, communication and building and maintaining healthy relationships. We serve learners of all abilities with activities that provide meaningful ways to grow, connect with others and take part in the larger community.
During the intake process, we will work with you to figure out which activities are the best fit. You will be able to choose from classes and outings so you can take part in a way that best fits your interests and goals. You only need to do the intake process once (we may request updated information if you have been away from the program for more than a year). After that, we will email you a reminder to register each quarter. Our intake page explains more about who our classes, outings and support groups are meant for.
How do participants choose classes and outings?
We label classes and outings by color to help families, staff and participants easily know the level of support, pacing and instruction in each class. The colors are a guide so you can choose classes where you will learn best. Most classes and outings (gray group) are open to everyone. Many people join classes and outings in more than 1 color group. Our class catalog (below on this page) shows which classes are which color.
Learn how to start the intake process. After the intake process, you make your own schedule based on your interests and class openings.
Color key for classes and outings
- Gray classes are meant for all students.
- Blue classes are meant for people who:
- Are most successful with a high level of support or prompting
- Need multiple verbal or physical prompts to follow verbal directions
- Need a 1-on-1 caregiver who will come to each class with the participant
- May need someone else’s hands to help complete a movement, like using scissors (hand-over-hand help)
- Need physical prompts or guidance changing between activities or tasks
- Need help from a caregiver with medicine while at the center
- Need help going to the bathroom while at the center
- Need clear visual schedules or supports custom made for them to be successful
- Need behavioral support during class time for frequent challenging behaviors, such as refusal, self-injury, disruption or vocal outbursts
- Need full support from others (1-on-1 physical or verbal prompts) to calm down (de-escalate) from a behavioral escalation
- Green classes are meant to be a blend of blue and yellow classes.
- Yellow classes are meant for people who:
- Are most successful with a moderate level of support or prompting
- Need a blend of verbal prompts, gestures or physical prompts given to a small group to follow verbal directions
- May need a 1-on-1 caregiver who will come to each class with the participant (to be decided by staff at the center)
- Can change between activities with a few verbal prompts
- Can express basic wants and needs and respond in basic social settings by voice, device or sign language
- Need a little help going to the bathroom (staff can sometimes give verbal reminders)
- May benefit from visual schedules or supports made for a small group
- May have challenging behaviors such as mild disruptions, mild self-injury or infrequent vocal outbursts that do not pose a risk of harm to self, others or property and can be redirected or calmed (de-escalated) if they interfere with learning and functioning
- Orange classes are meant to be a blend of yellow and red classes.
- Red classes are meant for people who:
- Are most successful with a low level of support or prompts or are mostly independent
- Can follow most verbal or written instructions
- Do not need a 1-on-1 caregiver
- Can change between activities with little or no prompting
- Can express detailed wants and needs and carry on more detailed and complex conversations by voice, device or sign language
- Do not need help going to the bathroom
- Do not need visual schedules or supports or can make their own with little support
- Show little or no challenging behaviors
- Can de-escalate on their own from a behavioral escalation or use a coping strategy they already know
Current Schedule and Offerings
Most classes are in person at the Alyssa Burnett Center in Bothell. Our community outings include group visits to local coffee shops, stores, parks, museums and more. Participants gain experience and socialize outside their usual network, helping to build a more inclusive community. We also offer virtual classes, specialized services and outings over Zoom.
Quarterly schedule 2023
- Winter quarter: January 3 to March 17
- Spring quarter: March 27 to June 16
- Summer quarter: June 26 to September 15
- Fall quarter: September 25 to December 15
Quarterly schedule 2024
- Winter 2024: January 2 to March 15
- Spring 2024: March 25 to June 14
- Summer 2024: June 24 to September 13
- Fall 2024: September 23 to December 13
Classes and specialized services
- Outings Calendar (PDF)
Prism is a free virtual support group for participants who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, questioning and other nonconforming genders and sexualities). This group is led by Alyssa Burnett Center staff members who meet with Prism participants to talk about their experiences, share stories and ask questions in a safe space. If you are interested, please complete this form and we will contact you with more details.
“Our son Austin continues to find such joy in attending classes. He selects classes and outings that we would not have thought he would be interested in, which is truly allowing him to expand his horizons.”
— Austin’s mom, Suzie, Shoreline, WA
Policies for Success
Instructors who are experts in class topics teach with guidance from Seattle Children’s behavior specialists and leaders. To help all participants get the most from our programs, we follow these policies:
We keep a staffing ratio of 1 staff member to 4 participants in each class and outing. Alyssa Burnett Center staff cannot give participants 1-on-1 support. Based on level of need and behaviors, staff may decide during the intake process that participants need to have a 1-on-1 aide or caregiver come to classes and outings with them.
Another option is that we may ask a caregiver or family member to come to some classes to help our staff decide the best approach. Over time, we may talk with you and your family about having either more or less caregiver support based on your needs and goals.
Challenging or disruptive behaviors
During the intake process, we ask about challenging behaviors so we can recommend classes that best fit you. We do not discriminate based on any past or current behavior or aggression, but our staffing ratio of 1 staff member to 4 participants is not a good match for everyone. We may request that you have additional caregiver support.
If you have a diagnosis or a behavior that would be of concern (such as severely disruptive behaviors or recreational drug use), talk openly about it with a staff member during your intake process. We hope to help all families find the best possible resources. Please call 425-488-6173 or email us to talk about any concerns.
Caregiver requirement guidelines
We may require that you come with a caregiver who provides 1-on-1 support if you:
- Need help with going to the bathroom or taking medicine
- Have challenging behaviors that may pose a risk of harm to self, others or property
- Have a history of running away or wandering off
- Need someone else’s hands to help complete a movement
At any time, we may ask you to start bringing a caregiver who provides 1-on-1 support for challenging behaviors or needs that we cannot meet with our current staffing level.
To make sure participants gain the most from classes, we expect caregivers to review, sign and follow our Caregiver Code of Conduct (PDF).
Our classes are designed to build on skills learned each week and to promote social connections among a set group of peers. To get the full benefit, it is important for you to come to class as often as you can. Please read our attendance policy.
What to Expect
Class size and length
- Most classes have 4 to 12 participants. Group size varies based on class color, topic and size of the classroom.
- Most classes last 1 to 2 hours. Length varies based on class color, topic and group size. One-time events and outings are often 3 to 5 hours long.
- Classes run for 12 weeks and align with the quarter schedules of most community and public colleges.
- Participants must enroll for the full 12-week quarter.
- See our attendance and registration policies (PDF) for more information.
The Alyssa Burnett Center is not meant to be an all-day program. We offer many classes and activities so you can make a schedule based on your interests, availability and class openings. Some participants enroll in 1 class at a time. Others take multiple classes a day, several days a week.
Classes and activities vary by quarter. When we can, we keep class schedules the same from quarter to quarter to provide structure throughout the year.
When classes are full
If a class is full, we will add you to the waiting list. We will let you know when we have openings or add new classes.
We accept payment by:
- Credit card.
- Debit card.
- Electronic check.
- Paper check.
- Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) respite hours. If you do not have enough DDA respite hours to pay for all classes in the quarter, you will need to pay for the rest of the quarter.
- DDA specialized habilitation.
We offer scholarships to help cover costs. Learn about class costs, payment and scholarships.
Transportation and parking
Participants must set up their own transportation to and from the Alyssa Burnett Center. The center is located in Bothell. It is close to a bus line and is an approved Access and DART drop-off and pick-up site.
The center has plenty of free parking in our private lot. The entrance is in back of the building in the upper parking lot.
Drop-off and pick-up timing
We allow a 15-minute window for pick-up and drop-off for classes. We cannot guarantee staff will be able to supervise participants who are waiting longer than 15 minutes for class to begin or for their ride to arrive. If you are using Access or DART, please make sure that pick-up and drop-off times align with the start and end of class.
We do not provide meals or snacks, except in cooking and baking classes, where the class price includes a meal. Participants who need snacks or drinks while at the center should bring a sack lunch that does not need to be refrigerated or heated and can be easily taken home or disposed of afterward. Please note any severe food allergies on your intake form.
Alyssa Burnett Center staff cannot give participants prescription or over-the-counter medicines. We cannot help with other personal care. If you need this support, bring a caregiver to help you.
We do not allow visitors or give tours except as part of our intake process for new participants or if planned in advance with our team. Our hours are:
- Classes: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
- Outings and events: Often on Fridays
- Closed: Saturday and Sunday
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Presidents’ Day (also called Washington’s birthday)
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Veterans Day
See the dates for these holidays this year.
Weather and emergency closures
If the Alyssa Burnett Center will be closed due to weather or an emergency, we will let you know by email and text. For weather closures, we typically follow the guidelines of the Northshore School District and local extreme-weather advisory warnings.