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Adult Programs

ACE: Adult Competency and Education

ACE (Adult Competence and Employment) is a state-of-the-art comprehensive employment, development, and support program designed to work cooperatively and in tandem with PAAL and to be supported by BRIDGES.  Recognizing that, across the commonwealth, parents of children with autism are scrambling as their children approach age 21 and that, oftentimes, there is no program or service for these new adults to transition to, MECA developed ACE in Spring of 2009 to meet the highly specialized needs of adults with autism.

  • Provides evidence-based instruction and support in the community based upon the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA).
  • Employs data-based decision-making protocols and empirically-validated support strategies.
  • Directly coordinates with PAAL to ensure continuity between pre- and post-graduation services and supports.
  • Focuses specifically on each autistic adult’s needs, preferences, and challenges to develop a truly individualized program.
  • Works directly with community employers to identify needs and provide appropriate and effective training to all concerned (e.g. adults with autism, co-workers, etc.) to promote increasingly greater levels of independent participation.
  • Develops individualized employment opportunities for each individual thereby decreasing reliance on external sources of support.
  • Works to reduce the long term individual, familial, and societal costs of autism.
  • Promotes a long term vision of individual quality of life for adults with autism and their families


Employment/Community Specialists
  1. Minimum of 1 year experience working with older learners with moderate to severe autism preferred.   Minimum of 1-3 years previous community-based experience with older learners with moderate to severe autism preferred.
  2. Minimum of Bachelors degree in psychology, education, special education, or related field, preferred.
  3. Required to attend conferences for continuing education in addition to in-service training provided by the program and by our Professional Advisory Board.  On a rotating basis all staff will have the opportunity to attend the annual National Autism Conference at Penn State in August as well as the annual conference of The Organization for Autism Research.
  4. Required to be certified in First Aid, CPR and CME.
 Behavior Analyst (Clinical Supervisor)
  1. Minimum of two years previous experience with older learners with autism
  2. Demonstrated ability to perform functional analysis, formulate hypothesis, collect and analyze data.
  3. Previous experience in direct supervision of other direct care staff.
  4. Masters degree preferred, Certification in Applied Behavior Analysis required.
  5. Minimum of 2 years previous community-based experience with older learners with moderate to severe autism preferred.
Program Director/Community Coordinator
  1. Minimum of 2-3 years with community-based instruction with older learners with autism
  2. Previous experience in identifying community-based opportunities in mainstream, competitive employment venues.
  3. Demonstrated ability to identify and maintain a database of currently available post-21 living and vocational opportunities.
  4. Demonstrated ability to assist in creating, where necessary, appropriate living and vocational post-2l opportunities.
  5. Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a comprehensive community-based team.
  6. Demonstrated ability to cultivate alliances with community members in order to create community opportunities for students.
  7. Demonstrated ability to formulate and present educational materials and programs to schools, area businesses, service organizations, and neighborhoods to increase awareness and acceptance of individuals with autism