A Transitional Residential Program for Adults with Learning Differences

About Independence Center

Program History

Established as a nonprofit California corporation in 1985, Independence Center operates a non-sectarian program for young adults with special needs. The age range is typically 18-30+ years and includes men and women.

The Program meets the needs of young adults with learning differences who complete high school and need training for independent living while they work or continue their education.

Independence Center was established by Sandy Gordon and a group of parents looking for a program to help their young adults transition from their homes into the real world.

With more than 30 years experience, Independence Center strives to provide a stable environment for our residents. Our staff is on site 24 hours a day, and many of them have been with the organization for years. Highly qualified counselors carry out the Independence Center program weekdays and evenings with the residents. On weekends, the counselors provide supervision and social activities for the residents.



Independence Center is based on the premise that each person is unique. Each young person’s strengths, needs, style, personality and coping mechanisms are essential ingredients for program planning. All skills are taught to maximize the individual’s capabilities to work on his/her own and all aspects of the program are personalized to incorporate the young adult’s unique needs.

Supportive Group Setting

Learning to be independent is best ‘taught’ by living away from home, in a group setting where the young adults gain the benefit of the peer group.  Social skills and relationships are part of the everyday group living experience. Staff works with the young adults to get the feedback on their ability to live among others

‘Hands-on’ Is the Best Way to Learn

All skills are taught in the apartments, as the young adults need to learn by doing. These concrete learning experiences are most beneficial and replace the classroom learning of previous school years.

The Family Context

Each young adult is viewed as part of his or her family system, and this is reflected in the family-oriented support services at the Center. Families are helped to develop a new perception of their special-needs young adult: a competent, capable adult. Ongoing parent-staff contacts are the vehicle to accomplish this goal.

Independence Center seeks to foster positive self-esteem and a view of self as competent. Mistakes made along the way are viewed as opportunities to learn. Families are encouraged to share our view.