What is Gateway Transition Center?

Gateway Transition Center is a new nonprofit organization in Central, LA focused on helping individuals with autism and their families during the transition out of high school and into the “adult world.”

Where are you located?

Our address is 10510 Joor Rd., Suite 100, Baton Rouge, LA 70818.  Our offices and classrooms are housed in a modular building on the property. Gateway Ink, our screen printing shop, is located in the gymnasium building.

Do you have a website?

Yes!  The URL is It is brand new, so let us know if you run into any bugs!

How are you funded?

Currently, we are funded by generous donations, grants from local foundations, and participant fees. We also have plans to hold at least two fundraisers this year and have applied for grants from local foundations. We also are exploring opportunities to partner with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and the local school systems. The purpose of all fundraising efforts is to keep our fees as low as possible for participants and to provide scholarship funds to participants who would otherwise be unable to afford our services.

Does Gateway Transition Center need volunteers?

YES! Contact Cassie Dinecola, MSW, LMSW, Executive Director for more information about our current volunteer needs:  225-384-6338,

How can I make a donation to Gateway Transition Center?

Yes! You can make a donation online here:

Or you can mail a check to 10510 Joor Rd., Suite 100, Baton Rouge, LA 70818.

What will Gateway Transition Center use my donation for?

We are dedicated to making our programs accessible to all families and individuals needing our services. All of our donations go directly toward programming that helps young adults with autism to be more independent.  They especially support our ability to provide scholarships for individuals in financial need.

How do I find out more about Gateway Transition Center?

Call us at 225-384-6338 or email us at



Day Program

What is the Day Program?

The Day Program is focused on helping young adults develop fundamental social, pre-vocational, life, and leisure skills needed to live and work in the community.

When will the Day Program operate?

Our full Day Program begins in early Spring 2016 for 2 6-week sessions. Session I is from February 15 to March 23, on Mondays through Thursdays from 9 AM- 4 PM. Session II is from April 11 to May 20, times TBD. Summer 2016 dates and times are TBA.

How long does the Day Program take to complete? What are the next steps after the Day Program?

The length of time to complete the Day Program depends on each individual participant’s needs and strengths and how quickly the participant meets his or her independent living and pre-vocational goals. Most individuals should expect to participate in the Day Program for at about one year. This process could be much slower or faster depending on each participant’s individual situation. After completing the Day Program, participants will begin working at Gateway Ink, a T-shirt screen printing business associated with Gateway’s job training.

Who is the Day Program for?

The Day Program is open to individuals with autism ages 18 through 26 who have exited high school within the past 3 years. We are able to accept older individuals on a case-by-case basis.

What will participants learn at the Day Program?

The program is tailored to individualized needs of participants. The Director continuously assesses the participants to gauge whether changes need to be made to the program to help participants work toward their goals. The goal of the Day Program is to help each individual become more independent, which means different things for each individual. For some, this may mean not depending on someone to cook their meals or help them fill their time with activities even if they live at home, while others may have goals to live independently with a roommate with or without support. Some examples of areas that may be part of an individual’s plan include:

  • Social skills (learning what is expected and unexpected in different social contexts and how to change their behavior accordingly)
  • Independent living skills (cooking, caring for clothing, keeping a clean home, online banking)
  • Self awareness and self-advocacy (when and how to disclose disability, asking for help, acknowledging strengths and challenges)
  • Health and wellness (how to plan nutritious meals, trying new ways to exercise, managing medications, how to ask a doctor questions)
  • Pre-vocational skills and exploration (discovering different types of work, writing a resume, how to be successful in job interviews)
  • Safety (Internet safety, how to interact with police, what to do in an emergency)
  • Relationships (learning about different levels of relationships, dating, how to make friends)
  • Leisure skills (exposure to different hobbies, how to increase social interaction through recreation)

What does a typical day be like?

Each day begins with a Morning Meeting to review the previous day and preview the current day. There are structured one-on-one coaching and group sessions focused on introducing skills, as well as unstructured time for participants to unwind and to socialize with one another. There also are weekly community outings to reinforce lessons taught at the Center. For example, during structured sessions, participants may learn about planning a meal, making a shopping list, and kitchen safety. To reinforce this lesson, participants will take a trip to the grocery store to practice finding items, navigating a store, waiting in line, and actually purchasing groceries. Guest speakers also visit to share about their careers and hobbies. Some guest speakers are from agencies to share about different community resources.   

What curriculum is used?

There is not one sole curriculum that is used. However, components of the following programs and models are incorporated:

Due to the significant social challenges faced by individuals with autism, the core philosophy of the Day Program is Social Thinking®, a cognitive approach to teaching social skills and changing social behavior developed by speech and language pathologist Michelle Garcia Winner. This concept and related terminology will be reinforced in all activities of the Day Program.

LCE Transition Curriculum is widely used in secondary school settings for individuals with disabilities. It provides lessons on independent living skills (ex: managing personal finances; selecting and managing a household; caring for personal needs; buying, preparing, and consuming food; buying and caring for clothing; utilizing recreational facilities and engaging in leisure; choosing and accessing transportation), self-determination and interpersonal skills (understanding self-determination, being self-aware, developing interpersonal skills, communicating with others, good decision making, developing social awareness, understanding disability rights and responsibilities), and employment skills (knowing and exploring employment possibilities; exploring employment choices; seeking, securing, and maintaining employment; exhibiting appropriate employment skills).

3L Place is a residential transition program for young adults with developmental disabilities in Somerville, Massachusetts. Experts in the field developed the curriculum. It is centered on meeting the individual needs of each participant. Lessons, activities, and strategies cover executive functions, self-awareness, creative expression, critical thinking, life skills, relationships, social awareness, understanding and participating in the community, and work and career.

Health Matters is an evidence-based nutrition and exercise curriculum for adults with developmental disabilities developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Who will be implementing the Day Program?

Cassie Dinecola, LMSW our Executive Director, conducts assessments and works with participants and their families to help them set goals for their future. She also develops programming and curriculum based on the participants’ needs.  Cassie is a social worker with experience working with older adolescents with autism, along with young adults with other social difficulties. She is an LMSW, with a Master’s in Social Work, and is currently working toward her PhD in Social Work at LSU. She also is working toward her LCSW licensure. She also has completed graduate level coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Part-time Skill Coaches help with implementing the lessons and activities developed by the Executive Director. We currently have one skill coach, Kameron Hood. She has a BA in Communication Disorders and plans to attend graduate school for speech and language pathology.

Our Advisory Board, consisting of a speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, social worker, and educators, many with expertise working with transition-aged individuals with autism, will also provide guidance and technical assistance for our program planning.

Volunteers are also essential to helping with the day-to-day operations of the Day Program, including assisting with community outings, answering phones, greeting visitors, helping participants get adjusted when the arrive, etc.

How much does the Day Program cost?

The cost of each 6-week session is $2,500. Due to generous grants from local foundations and individual donations, we are able to offer scholarships covering up to 75% of a family’s cost, based on need and availability of funds.  Please contact email  or call 225-384-6338 for more information and an Application for Financial Assistance. Payment plans are also available.


Gateway Ink

What is Gateway Ink?

Gateway Ink is a social enterprise screen printing business, which provides a job training program for young adults (“employee-trainees”) with autism. Employee-trainees have the opportunity to earn a real paycheck in a supported environment while developing basic vocational and social skills that are transferable to other jobs in the community. Employee-trainees also participate in financial literacy classes which teaches them how to manage money, including skills such as online banking, setting up a bank account, and making and following a budget. Employee-trainees also have the opportunity to participate in social skill groups through the Day Program.

What is the cost of Gateway Ink?

Employee-trainees are actually paid for their work at Gateway Ink and receive a paycheck. However, the accompanying financial literacy and social skills workshops cost $25/hr. Employee-trainees are encouraged to spend 1-2 hours in workshops per week.

What is the goal of Gateway Ink?

The purpose of Gateway Ink is to prepare young adults with autism for meaningful work in the community. Gateway Ink is not a permanent job, but a stepping stone to a job that fits the strengths and needs of the individual. The goal is to lay a foundation for future employment by providing work experience and training. After graduating from Gateway Ink, employee-trainees will transfer into the Vocational Track program (read more about this program below).

Where is Gateway Ink located?

Gateway Ink is located in the gymnasium at 10510 Joor Rd. (the property of the old Starkey Academy). The shop is along the left side of the gymnasium, and its entrance is marked by a bright blue door.

How can I place an order or get a quote to have T-shirts printed?

Call us at 225-384-6338 or email us at and someone will contact you shortly to get information about your order.


Future Programs

What is the Vocational Track program?

The Vocational Program will help participants find and keep jobs in the community that match their individual strengths, challenges, and interests. For some individuals, this will also involve pursing postsecondary training or education necessary to achieve their vocational aspirations. The Vocational Program will provide trained job and education coaches to assist participants in the community. Also, the Vocational Program will involve special groups for participants to process their experiences and gain extra support from one another. The Vocational Program also involves educating employers and educators about ASD and teaching participants to advocate for themselves and seek the help they need from employers and postsecondary education institutions to be successful.

When will the Vocational Track be launched?

This program will be developed as our participants graduate from Gateway Ink. We expect that Vocational Track will be launched by the beginning of 2017.