Many schools for children with ASD have a singular focus on either academics or life skills. At the Helix School, we believe that if our students are going to have a fulfilling future, they need skill acquisition on both fronts. It is a well-known fact that students on the spectrum, regardless of their cognitive level, struggle with executive functioning— following multiple-step directions, prioritizing tasks, and generating a plan. This can negatively impact their ability to navigate the community, attain employment and care for themselves. Therefore the Helix School has a rigorous Life Skills and Executive Functioning Program.

Following a recipe to a prepare meal, creating and sticking to a budget, navigating restaurants and grocery stores, practicing self-care, and looking after their environment are just some of the areas targeted in The Helix School's daily life skills classes. We use research-based curriculum for executive functioning to promote student’s visual working memory and independence when completing tasks that involve multiple steps. 

Being in close proximity to CVS, Whole Foods, the Mill Valley Post Office, Rite Aid and the Mill Valley Farmers market means that our students regularly receive real world practice accessing their community. 

The Helix School provides students with on-site jobs where they not only cultivate vocational skills but also gain a sense of agency and purpose by making an important contribution to their school. One such example is The Helix School Deli, where students learn how to shop independently, take orders, and prepare and deliver sandwiches to peers and staff. We also placed a student in an internship with a music studio. Pictured here you can see our students selling coasters they made at the Mill Valley Farmer's Market.  Over time the Life Skills and Executive Functioning Program lends itself to a robust transitional plan that includes community employment in each student’s field of interest.