Growing independence with Nebraska Transition College’s Residential Program

Two Nebraskan men are living lives their parents didn’t know would be possible for them after they had been diagnosed with Autism.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 6:55 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 7:29 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Two Nebraskan men are living lives their parents didn’t know would be possible for them after they had been diagnosed with Autism. Their lives, and growing independence, is due in part of that’s thanks to the Nebraska Transition College’s Residential Program, a non-profit that caters to their unique needs.

Soon Ryan Saari and Schuyler Krinkie will start their next adventure in being the first students of the program and their parents said every accomplishment is doubly impressive because of their autism diagnoses.

This August, Ryan, and Schuyler are moving in together to learn more about living independently and how they can best manage household tasks.

“I’m excited to learn what you can do while living on your own. Like how do you pay bills? How do you keep the house clean?” Ryan said.

It’s part of the ‘residential program’ curriculum at Nebraska transition college.

“It’ll be nice. Yes to move out. Bit excited, bit nervous. Kind of the whole shebang,” Schuyler said.

Nebraska Transition College fills the gap between high school and whatever the next step is for people on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities.

Dr. Stuart Stofferahn, the Executive Director of Nebraska Transition College, said across the state of Nebraska, 4000 individuals graduate every year with a disability.

Ryan and Schuyler have been taking classes that provide them the opportunity to work on social skills, living independently, and work readiness skills to bridge into the next stage of life.

For two years they took virtual classes on all of those topics. This third year of classes, they’re moving in together to put those skills into practice, with the support of NTC.

Ryan and Schuyler’s parents are proud of how far their sons have come. “For someone who years ago, they said would never talk and live with us forever. Now he’s driving, he’s going to, you know, making his own appointments, working, doing all these things,” Dee Saari, Ryan’s mom, said.

They also recognize the importance of this task for their children.

“It is a sense of relief in a way because we know we won’t be around forever to help take care of them. So through this program, the goal is that he will be self-sufficient, that will feel good about his future and not worry,” Kathy Krinke, Schuyler’s mom, said.

NTC classes are offered virtually, so people across the state, and even out of the state, can take them. Students can start taking these classes when they are seniors in high school.

For students who have graduated, it costs about $289 per course, but donor fees bring that cost down.