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The Hatlen Center

What type of skills do students need to attend The Hatlen Center?

The students at The Hatlen Center have a wide range of skills across all the different areas of the curriculum. There is no required skill set in order to attend. We teach one-on-one, so we are able to adapt our curriculum to each student’s needs. We do require that the individual has good judgment. If someone is unsure about whether or not Hatlen would be a good fit, it is best to call and/or visit and we will assist in making the determination.

I’ve heard you only take transition age students.

While it is true that our area of expertise is with transition youth, ages 18-25, there is no upper age limit. Some adults who are older than this prefer the Hatlen apartment setting. Since we teach one-on-one, we are able to accommodate all ages, and we always have a few students who are older than 25. It is a good idea for everyone to be informed of the choices and to consider visiting the programs.

Do you work with individuals who have multiple disabilities?

Yes! We have worked with students who also have physical impairments including cerebral palsy (CP), hearing loss, those that utilize wheelchairs or walkers, individuals with traumatic brain injuries, autism spectrum disorder, mild intellectual impairments, and a wide array of learning disabilities.

What is unique about The Hatlen Center?

The most unique thing about The Hatlen Center is the fact that each student is living in an apartment and learning by doing. Every day, students practice the skills they have learned, such as taking care of financial and medical needs, traveling to meet real life needs, cooking, cleaning and using assistive technology, all while being supported by Hatlen staff (when necessary).

How are the classes delivered?

Almost all classes at The Hatlen Center are taught one-on-one in the student’s apartment or in the local community. Our Job Readiness Program is taught in small group classes with one-on-one time scheduled as needed. Weekly group classes including safety classes like internet safety, first aid, traveling in an urban area and more, in addition to recreational trips, are taught in a group setting.

Can students attend school while attending The Hatlen Center?

Not only can students attend community college part-time, Hatlen staff will help students learn the entire process including how to determine which local community college to attend, learning about the admission process and how to work with the disabled student services department. Some students take classes through other local programs or take online courses.

Can students work while attending The Hatlen Center?

We encourage students who are ready and have a strong foundation in Hatlen classes to participate in some form of work experience while attending The Hatlen Center. All of our students attend classes through our Job Readiness Program, which has an emphasis on the acquisition of soft skills to increase employability. Through this program, we offer a variety of volunteer sites students can choose from or they can learn about applying to jobs and get practice and guidance through the whole process.

Who determines The Hatlen Center curriculum?

We use extensive evaluations to determine each student’s current skill level, abilities, capabilities and interests. Each student’s curriculum is then individually crafted. The student, Hatlen staff and student's DOR counselor work together to determine curriculum and program priorities. We want to empower the student to make choices, including how they spend their money, which assistive technology is most beneficial based on life goals such as school and vocation, where they want to travel, and what they want to cook.

How long is The Hatlen Center program?

Each program length at The Hatlen Center is individualized to meet the goals of the student and is based on the student’s skill level when they arrive at Hatlen. The student and teachers work together to set a program length that will allow the student to accomplish their goals. Generally, programs are from six months to a year, but can be shorter or longer depending on the individual.

Does the required monthly income for living expenses have to be come from SSI or SSDI?

No, the monthly income does not have to come from SSI or SSDI. Some of our students receive a living expense stipend from their DOR Counselors, others receive one from their family.

Where is The Hatlen Center located?

The Hatlen Center is located in San Pablo, California, a small town North of Berkeley in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. Students from across the country apply to and attend the program.

Can students leave for short breaks on the weekends?

Students may choose to go home on the weekends occasionally. Students who wish to leave for a longer break are required to get permission from their DOR counselor.

Can students have visitors?

Yes, students may have visitors outside of class time. Visitors are required to follow all the rules of The Hatlen Center and the apartment complex in which it is located. Guests are limited to no more than three nights. Roommates must approve of the visitors. Hatlen staff reserves the right to ask visitors to leave when deemed necessary.

Youth and their families sometimes state that they do not want to take time off from school to attend a residential program. What is recommended?

Contrary to popular belief, attending a residential program is not “taking time off.” It has long been known, and has been proven in numerous studies, that the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) or non-academic skills are important to be successful. Since these ECC skills are difficult to address in the mainstream school setting, the gaps we see as the student graduates from high school and moves out of the family home puts the students at risk for failure. Those that attend a program prior to school are much more prepared to be successful in college. If the consumer has been accepted to college, he or she may be allowed to defer the entrance date for up to one year. Students at The Hatlen Center learn to manage a budget and medical needs. They learn to cook, clean, and travel in an unfamiliar area. They are exposed to many types of software and hardware that will facilitate success in college. Students learn to become self-determined, which includes self-advocacy. Learning all of these skills while going to college for the first time is extremely difficult.


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