New Heights

A Vista Life Innovations Day Program, Southeastern Connecticut Campus

New Heights Building


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A program of Vista Life Innovations based in Southeastern Connecticut, New Heights is a Post-Secondary Training/Day Services program for neurodiverse adults located at 101 West Broad Street in Pawcatuck, CT. This Vista designed and led program offers curriculum-driven instruction Monday through Friday from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

New Heights has five core areas designed to teach, train and promote independence amongst individuals:

1. Vocational Training. New Heights supports students vocationally throughout each step of the way. Providing training and skill development such as personal appearance, mock interviews, and resume building and writing, becomes the foundation of student’s vocational success. Collaborating with local community employment partners supports experiential learning opportunities such as job assessments and hands-on training, volunteer opportunities and paid employment.

Employment Steps: New Heights vocational programming utilizes a sequential training approach to ensure students foster all skills needed to gain and maintain employment

  • Community-based Training Sites: students attend training sites weekly to begin to demonstrate and assess soft work skills, including accountability, self-care, and organizational/executive functioning
  • Assessments: New Heights has a developed assessment process to see students’ vocational hands-on skills. After goal setting, research and preparation, students may complete a 20–40-hour assessment over the course of weeks or months
  • Job Development: in Job Development, students practice interview skills, conversation skills, resume building and professional communication to prepare for the exploration of community vocational opportunities

Our vocational approach works to ensure that when a student is ready for paid employment, they have all the skills that are necessary to be successful in the workplace.

With a existing placements at nearly 70 community employers and a current “paid employment placement rate” over 95% for members ready and seeking paid community based employment, our methods have proven to be successful over time.

2. Life Skills. Achieving essential skills to develop autonomy through experiential learning, such as:

  • Meal Planning and Preparation
  • Nutrition and Healthy Living
  • Time Management
  • Household Management
  • Community Integration
  • Personal Safety

3. Cognitive and Social Behavior. Utilizing a student-centered approach, students are supported individually and within group settings to develop and practice their social skills. Across settings, students are presented with opportunities to demonstrate effective conversation and social skills, practice advocacy and self-awareness skills all while navigating healthy relationships and day-to-day events. These skills become the foundation to developing meaningful relationships with their peers and community members.

4. Community Involvement. Vista refers to the community as our classroom. Supporting student’s independence and real-life skills leads to students becoming an active participant within the community, as well as developing skills to safely navigate the community. Access to public transportation such as a local shuttle, a train system and downtown area provides daily opportunities for transportation training. Developing these skills fosters student’s independence in connecting with peers, getting themselves to and from jobs, medical appointments, and community events.

5. Post-Secondary Options for Training and Education. In addition to the core curriculum previously outlined, certain students may choose to explore additional options for training and education. Taking an individualized approach, New Heights will explore community-based options that may include the following based on individual’s interest:

  • Driver’s Education/License Obtainment
  • Community College Programs
  • Access to Certificate Programs (Support in Accessing)
  • Paid Employment (Coupled with the Vocational Exploration Process)

Components of Skill Building:

The curriculum consists of two training components that are within each of New Heights’ core training areas:

  • Thinking Skills: the ability to think about, think through and plan ahead for handling tasks or the desired plan.
  • Doing Skills: the ability to carry out the task or situation at hand.

It is important students learn both training components, as this promotes success through experiential learning within each core area.

To be eligible, individuals with a neurodiverse disability must have:

  • Demonstrated levels of self-care, medication and behavior management
  • Demonstrated levels of decision-making

To read an educational brochure about New Heights, click here. 


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