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100% Community Based Programming
Our Philosophy

Ala Costa Centers Adult Programs is proud to be the only adult day program designed by openly autistic and neurodivergent people serving the intellectually and developmentally disabled community. Our philosophy is rooted in our fundamental belief of disability justice and the right to community inclusion for all.


Neurodiversity Model Of Education

Within a neurodiversity model of education participants are treated as adults with individual rights, responsibilities, boundaries, and dreams for the future. Intellectually/developmentally disabled people are not seen as a problem to "fix", "cure" or
normalize". Instead, we see people as having a variety of brains and cognition that are all valid. Ala Costa staff 
presume that each individual participant has strengths and the capacity to learn and grow. 

[image description] A student sits at a table and smiles up at the camera. He is wearing noise canceling earphones, and spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread while volunteering at City Team in Oakland

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[Image description] Five students stand on the BART train together. They are all look towards and smiling. 

Community Inclusion

The goal of inclusion is not to make the disability or the disabled person invisible. Traditionally, intellectually and developmentally disabled people are only included if they can act or appear “normal”. We reject this idea, believing that community spaces belong to all of us, as we are. Adult Program participants spend their whole days out in the community, navigating public transit, volunteering at local non profits, learning to cook and exploring their interests at local businesses, libraries, art classes, museums and much more. 

Self Determination

Opportunities for participants to learn self determination skills are naturally woven in throughout the day as students navigate community life. Self determination skills are: Choice-making, decision-making, problem-solving, goal setting and attainment, self-regulation, self-advocacy, self-awareness, and self-efficacy


To learn self determination participants need real world, real-time hands on experiences and just as importantly, they need space to try things for themselves.​

[Image description] The image depicts a student wearing a hat and blue shorts. He is facing the camera. He holds a shovel as he turns a pile at mulch at an urban farm where he volunteers. Photo by Jamie Meronk  

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