Life-long learning at Seattle Children's Alyssa Burnett Center


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In honor of Autism Awareness Month, FOX 13 is highlighting a local center focusing on life and social skills for adults living with autism. Students are finding friendship and independence from art and Zumba, to movement and music.

Seattle Children’s Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center in Bothell offers lifelong learning for people age 18 and older with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.

"Alyssa Burnett is really the inspiration behind this whole program," said Tammy Mitchel, director of Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center. "She is the vision her parents Barbara and Charlie saw a need for a place like Alyssa, and she has been a pillar of excellence for us - a reminder - a north star to strive for better."

Alyssa Burnett is a frequent visitor. As a young woman living with autism, her parents, Charles and Barbara, have worked for years to enhance the quality of life for adults living with developmental disabilities.

"We’ve been open for eight years and at the heart of this it’s about serving all adults of all abilities and providing things that are age appropriate for them to participate in that can help them reach their greatest potential and quality of life."

Over the years, the programs have grown and that requires space.

The challenges don’t end when a person turns 21 and ages out of school. But few programs are available to help these adults continue to learn, build skills and take part in a larger community.

Peer connection is a key component as they work towards their mission of building a more inclusive community.

"This place helps fill a gap - it fills a piece of the pie - but we can never fill it all, so I think it’s underscoring the need for more dialogue more support more resources," said Mitchel.


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