ACE – Adults: Competencies & Employment

A community-based, specialty vocational, habilitation and behavioral support program for individuals with autism age 21 and up

ACE is a private Habilitation/Vocational Program of Mission for Educating Children with Autism (MECA)

About ACE

Adults: Competencies & Employment was established in 2009 by Mission for Educating Children with Autism (MECA), a non-profit organization serving individuals with autism since 1997.

ACE is a unique, community-based adult services program providing day and residential habilitation, vocational and behavioral services to individuals on the spectrum over age 21.

ACE maintains a professional collaboration between service systems, families, local businesses and the community at large. ACE assists participants as they navigate into adulthood and strives to help them fulfill their plan for quality of life which includes meaningful choice, fun, friends and independence.

Overview of ACE

Establishing & maintaining a quality of life is central to ACE. Community focus cultivates community investment thereby allowing ACE to maximize limited resources. One of the first adult services program specifically tailored to autism in the country, ACE continues the philosophies, interventional skill acquisition and behavior support strategies as that of its program partner, PAAL.

Established in 2009, ACE provides Community Habilitation, Supported Employment, Companion Services and Behavioral Supports to adults on the spectrum in an entirely community-based model of opportunities.

Residential and Respite

In 2011, ACE expanded its services to include residential and respite support. The location of our residences and respite homes are in the heart of nuclear communities convenient to and within walking distance of retail stores, restaurants, the library and a host of leisure sites as well as to public transportation allowing individuals access to a quality of life.

The Many Attributes of ACE

  • Help to develop a positive work ethic
  • Increase ability to independently navigate within the community
  • Provides individuals opportunity to gain confidence
  • Reduced reliance on adult assistance

The Outcome

Individuals who experience a full complement of quality of life: fun, friends, work and community

ACE Snapshot

ACE is a unique specialty vocational & habilitation program for adults with autism.

Recognizing that an individual’s needs do not magically change upon exiting the world of education and entry into the world of adult services, ACE continues the best practices, proven positive outcome interventions utilized during their years in school. Proactive promotion of choice, competency & control in all aspects of support respects the age of majority of the individual & allows ACE to further build confidence and increase positive affect.

  • Training and Support in Daily Living
  • Activities
  • Public Transportation Training
  • Community-Based Vocational and Habilitation Opportunities
  • Choice, Competency and Control at the center of all supports
  • Continual Assessment of Skills, Proficiencies and Preferences
  • Natural Environmental Interventions
  • Dyad and Triad facilitation critical to participation in adult services
  • Individualized technological and environmental supports
  • Competency–Based Staff Training
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • Use of Research Based Strategies

Expertise Forms the Basis

The ACE Program and philosophy is guided by our Professional Advisory Panel (PAP) which includes some of the Nation’s finest experts in the field of autism. In addition to his leadership of our PAP, nationally renowned expert on adolescents & adults, Chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., works directly with ACE to develop and enhance supports, monitors implementation and oversees staff training.

A team of highly trained certified behavior analysts, consultants and support staff work closely with individuals and the community at large to individualize supports to match the need of the individual and the environment. The ability to work in dyads and triads are key to enabling the individual to remain productive in the adult world where supports are limited. ACE relies heavily upon strong communication with families, professionals and community partners to ensure consistent support across environments and utilizes technology for easy access to information, self-management systems, and to increase predictability/structure and fluency.


208 Cherry Street
Downingtown, PA 19335

Respite House

318 Washington Ave
Downingtown, PA 19335

Administrative Offices

115 Washington Ave
Downingtown, PA 19335