Who are classes intended for?

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Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center (ABC) offers year-round classes and activities for adults, age 18 or older, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities.

The Burnett Adult Life Center is committed to serving the broad spectrum of adults with developmental disabilities – from those heading to college or work to those who will need ongoing support throughout life.

Participants who are interested in opportunities for socialization, recreation and learning among a supportive and welcoming group of peers are encouraged to attend. With small class sizes, the center takes a person-centered approach and provides intentional instruction and an adaptive curriculum, offering classes in the area of recreation; health and fitness; and life skills, with a strong emphasis on socialization with peers.

  • Classes and activities vary by quarter and may include:

    • Social and recreational classes or activities: art, crafts, Disney, drama, film, gaming, glee, music, photography, science and robotics
    • Health and wellness classes: adaptive PE, sports, swimming, Zumba
    • In partnership with Outdoors for All, we also offer: biking, hiking, rock-climbing
    • Independent living and life skills: social skills, cooking, baking
    • Community-Based activities: Varying on the season, examples of previous outings include Lynnwood pool, Edmonds Ferry, Discovery Park trail hikes, Seattle Aquarium, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, bowling alley, tulip festival, and pumpkin patch.

    The schedule for classes may vary slightly from quarter to quarter. Ideally, class schedules will be consistent from quarter to quarter in order to provide structure for participants throughout the year.

    • Have ASD, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities or other developmental disabilities.
    • Are age 18 or older. You must be at least 18, or turn 18 during the quarter, to participate in classes.
    • Students in a high school transition program, those heading to college or work, those participating in other school programs and those who will need ongoing support throughout life are all welcome.
    • We welcome people who need high levels of support or supervision for everyday activities. If a participant needs help from a caregiver, their caregiver must attend class to assist them. 

    To best serve the diverse needs of each participant, classes are divided into different levels (Levels 1, 2, 3 and All).

  • 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.

    • Blue classes are suitable for individuals who
      • Are most successful with a high level of support
      • Have difficulty following verbal directions with minimal prompting
      • Initially require a 1:1 caregiver (who will attend each class with the student)
      • Need hand-over-hand assistance
      • Have difficulty transitioning between activities without physical guidance
      • Require any medication management or distribution
      • Need restroom/toileting assistance
      • May benefit from clear visual schedules/supports
      • Need behavioral support for challenging behaviors such as tantrums, self-injury, disruption, or frequent vocal outbursts
    • Yellow classes are suitable for individuals who
      • Are most successful with a moderate level of support
      • Can follow verbal instructions with minimal prompting
      • May require a 1:1 caregiver at the discretion of staff
      • Can transition between activities with minimal verbal prompting
      • Can express basic wants and needs and respond in basic social settings through formal communication (vocal, device, sign language)
      • Need minimal restroom assistance (verbal reminders)
      • May benefit from visual schedules/supports
      • May engage in some challenging behaviors such as mild disruption, mild self-injury, or infrequent vocal outbursts
    • Red classes are suitable for individuals who
      • Are most successful with a minimal level of support or are mostly independent
      • Can follow verbal and/or written instructions with minimal prompting
      • Do not require 1:1 caregiver
      • Can transition between activities with little-to-no prompting
      • Can express detailed wants and needs and carry on more detailed and complex conversations through formal communication (vocal, device, sign language)
      • Do not require restroom assistance
      • Do not require visual schedules/supports; exhibit little-to-no challenging behaviors
    • All
      • Activities are designed for individuals of all abilities to participate in together.
    • Have significant disruptive behaviors (extreme physical aggression toward self or others).
    • Have verbal aggressions with intent of threatening or causing harm to others.
    • Engage in property destruction with the intent of hurting another person or self.
    • Individuals who have symptoms associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, manic episodes, or other psychotic disorders may not be eligible
  • 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.

    If you believe that your son or daughter may have a diagnosis or a behavior that would be of concern (e.g., severely disruptive behaviors or recreational drug use), we encourage you to discuss this matter candidly with a Burnett Center staff member prior to completing the intake process – we hope to assist all families in their quest for the best possible resources. Please call 425-488-6173 or email us to discuss.

  • 2018 Quarter Schedule 

    • Winter Quarter: January 2 – March 23
    • Spring Quarter: April 2 – June 22
    • Summer Quarter: July 2 – September 21
    • Fall Quarter: October 1 – December 21 

    We are closed on the following days in 2018: 

    • New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Monday, January 15
    • Presidents Day: Monday, February 29
    • Memorial Day: Monday, May 28
    • Independence Day: Wednesday, July 4
    • Labor Day: Monday, September 3
    • Thanksgiving: Wednesday, November 21 – Friday, November 23
    • Christmas: Monday, December 24 – Friday, December 28
  • The following times are when classes are in session. We do not accommodate unexpected visitors or tours. If you would like to learn more or schedule a visit, please call or email us. 

    • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 9 am to 5 pm
    • Friday: By appointment only
    • Saturday and Sunday: Closed
    • Class size: Class size varies depending on class levels, topics and classrooms, but typically includes between 4 and 15 participants.
    • Class length: Class length varies depending on class level and topic, but classes typically last 1 to 2 hours. One-time events and outings typically last between 2 and 6 hours.
    • Series length: Classes will typically run for a 10- to 12-week session and align with most community and public colleges’ quarter schedules. Adults are required to register for an entire quarter of classes.
    • Class quantity: The Burnett Center is composed of a series of classes and activities, allowing adults to choose their schedule based on interest and availability. The center is not designed to be an all-day program, but rather allow to flexibility to ensure meaningful participation and enrollment. Some students may just enroll in one class at a time, whereas others may take multiple classes a day, multiple days a week. This is determined during your intake appointment and is highly individualized to best serve each adult.
  • We maintain a 1:4 staffing ratio in each class and outing. However, Burnett Center staff are not intended to provide 1:1 support for participants at the center. Depending on level of need and behaviors, participants may be required to have a 1:1 aide or caregiver attend classes with them. During the intake process, Burnett Center staff will discuss this on a case-by-case basis prior to enrollment. Following the intake appointment or as situations arise, we may ask a caregiver, or family member to attend the first few sessions to allow Burnett Center staff time to observe best-practices.

    Caregiver requirement guidelines

    If participants require toileting assistance, medication distribution or management, or have challenging behaviors, they must come with a 1:1 at the discretion of Burnett Center staff. In some classes where additional hand over hand support is needed, we may require additional support from a 1:1 caregiver. At any point, Burnett Center staff reserve the right to request support from a 1:1 caregiver for a participant who demonstrates challenging behaviors or needs beyond what can be offered in a ratio of 1:4 staffing.

    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. Caregivers are expected to be engaged in activities, must not be on their phone and are expected to cooperate with Burnett Center staff and instructors.

  • With the exception of one-time events, outings and other drop-in events, participants must enroll for the entire series of classes within a quarter. The curriculum is designed to build upon skills learned in previous weeks’ classes and to promote socialization among a consistent group of peers.

  • 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.

Preparing for Classes

Here is some helpful information to prepare you for classes once you have registered.

  • 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. If participants need any hand-over-hand, toileting assistance, medication distribution or management or have challenging behaviors, they must come with a 1:1. This will be decided at the discretion of Burnett Center staff. Caregivers are held to our Caregiver Code of Conduct (PDF) and are expected to participate in the class and work within the instructors’ directions to ensure participants gain the most from class.

  • We allow a 15-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 15-minute window.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • In an effort to be sensitive to students with severe peanut allergies, we kindly ask families to avoid bringing snacks or items containing peanuts to the Burnett Center.

  • Burnett Center staff will not be able to assist in distributing medication or common over-the-counter items or helping with other personal care. Participants requiring this support will be asked to bring a caregiver to assist.