Randy Lewis, a former Walgreen Co. senior vice president and author, speaks to potential ELSA students and their parents.
With ELSA’s new residential program in full swing, the daily ins and outs of college life are providing opportunities like never before.
The Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA) is a four-year program that offers a full-time, post-secondary educational experience to young adults with developmental disabilities. The program emphasizes three key areas:
Academics and Career Exploration
Students work to increase their literacy skills and abilities in writing, mathematics, purposeful reading and reading for pleasure. ELSA also emphasizes technology and career exploration courses, including job shadowing, internships and field experience. Instruction in personal finance is integrated throughout the program. Additionally, students have the option to audit Elmhurst College undergraduate courses, beginning in their second year of study, pending necessary approvals.
Independent Living Skills
Students learn valuable strategies to enhance their skills in budgeting, menu preparation and cooking, shopping, use of public transportation, household management, personal care, and functional life skills.
Social and Recreational Skills
ELSA students are invited to participate in Elmhurst College clubs, organizations and intramural sports. They also attend sporting and other events on and off campus with mentor support, and use the College’s fitness center. Elmhurst College students, serving as peer mentors and education coaches, engage ELSA participants in a range of planned activities and encourage peer interaction and social skills.
Personal responsibility and advocacy, decision-making, time management and organizational skills are integrated across the curriculum. Upon completion of the ELSA program, students participate in the College’s commencement ceremony and receive a certificate of completion with a transcript of their course work. ELSA alumni are invited to attend evening support seminars offered periodically by the College. What’s more, graduates are better prepared to find employment and live with greater independence in the community or with their family.