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Evening at the Adult Programs Residence

I am often asked what a person in my position as a counselor does. It is a job, a service really, that is difficult to describe in just a sentence or two. The term counselor can mean so many different things, and that is apt, because my job encompasses so many different things. To best describe what a CA Adult Programs counselor does, I’ll walk you through what might be a typical evening at the Adult Programs Residence.

The term counselor can mean so many different things, and that is apt, because my job encompasses so many different things.

I generally work in the early evening; this fits with my schedule as a full-time Masters of Social Work (MSW) student and intern. When I get to the house, the first thing I do is check to see who’s home. Our residents all have jobs outside of the home. Because our program teaches them how to be more autonomous, our clients have the independence to come and go when they please, within curfew hours. I chat with those who are home before going to the staff office to check emails and any notes left by my colleagues that can help me navigate the present needs of the residents.


Communication between the other counselors and the CA Adult Programs supervisors is very important. When everyone is on the same page, we are better able to focus on areas where our clients might need additional assistance. With good communication, we can best help our residents grow. Communication is also an essential social skill needed to be successfully independent. This is one of the key skills our residents learn and build upon in the program.

Sometimes, when they need assistance, I get the opportunity to help a resident as they cook a house meal. I have seen cooking be an empowering skill for the residents to learn. This is also, of course, a useful skill to have for anyone as they navigate a path toward independence. It also feels good to cook a meal for others to enjoy! During these times we get the chance to catch up with each other one on one. We talk about work, friends, family, hobbies, and other interesting topics. This also helps our residents to build their social skills.

After we eat and any house chores are done, we might put on a TV show or play a board game to round out the night. This is a great time for residents in the house to spend time together, rather than in their rooms. This is one of ways we work on forming healthy relationships and socializing with each other. These are often my favorite moments.

I am thankful to be in the position I am. As a social work student and champion of individuals with differing needs, I use what I’ve learned to help guide and counsel those I work with toward their ultimate goals. This is what it looks like to be an Adult Programs counselor at CA.

Author: Emma Rutstein, CA Adult Programs Counselor

What is CA Adult Programs?

CA offers programs and tools that empower neurodivergent adults to live independently. Through a variety of programs and resources we emplower adults with autism or similar developmental disability to transition to adulthood. We do this through 1:1 coaching to build the essential skills to live independently. You can learn more about our programs for adults by visiting our website here: CA Adult Programs.

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CA works with autistic people and their families to help them thrive. Every day, we’re building a future where the most vulnerable Virginians can actively participate in our community and realize their full potential.

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