Improving care. Changing lives.

Next Step: College Success

Next Step: College Success & Independent Living

"My son emerges from these sessions feeling more confident and competent -- and I, as a parent, emerge feeling like I can slow down, appreciate my child, and take some of the pressure off of both of us. I leave the Next Step sessions with a fresh perspective, realizing that my son's differences can also be considered his strengths." - Next Step Parent

Read more testimonials about Next Step

Please click here for an important update about the 2020 program

Judge Baker Children’s Center is excited to present an interactive and immersive high school to college transitional support program. This college readiness simulation focuses on fostering skills of independent living in a campus environment for students with social communication deficits.

NEXT STEP: College Success & Independent Living is designed for students, ages 16 - 20, who present with a social language deficit and are serious about attending college after high school. This program is appropriate for young adults with High-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) / Asperger’s Syndrome, Non-verbal Learning Disorder (NLD), or related learning differences.

The focus of the NEXT STEP: College Success & Independent Living program is to afford students a chance to hone executive functioning, problem-solving, and self-advocacy skills that are necessary for living with other students on a college campus. Each Saturday session will include a skill focus, individual and group problem-solving activities, as well as a college campus excursion. Additionally, parents will have an opportunity to attend a morning educational seminar for a preview of the day’s activities and discussion on coping with the stresses and concerns of a child transitioning to college. 

The summer 2020 program will be completely virtual due to COVID-19 

Next Step Summer 2020 - Virtual Program


The virtual program will be contained to the original week of our program, Monday, July 20 through Friday, July 24th.  Each day will consist of two, one hour and half-long sessions, addressing a different topic (resident life, accessing supports, dating, and relationships, health & wellness, professor expectations for classes-physical and virtual, etc.) and an evening session providing participants social opportunities as well as a chance to check in with the NEXT STEP staff and interns (past participants/ current college students). Additionally, we will plan on an “orientation” meeting, the week before, to make certain all participants are familiar and comfortable with accessing the platform. During the week we will include a one to one “check-in” with a staff member. A more detailed schedule will be provided at the beginning of July or sooner, as our schedule of guest speakers gets firmed up.

As it is planned now, the program will run through the Judge Baker Children’s Center Business Zoom account (for a little extra security), so participants will need a device with internet access and a built-in or external camera/microphone, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet, or, less ideally, a smartphone, to access the program. While the program will not replace our typical in-vivo summer experience, it will simulate the type of online learning that many colleges (and high schools) will be resorting to for the upcoming semester. The cost for the week will be $600.

We will waive the requirement of an interview for our virtual program in the summer.  If you have already enrolled for our summer program and have submitted an application, please let us know if your young adult will be joining us for the virtual program.  If you have not enrolled your young adult, please find the enrollment for the virtual program on our website.


Monday, July 20 through Friday, July 24th


$600 for the full week


For a list of anticipated questions about the virtual program, please click here


Next Step Virtual Enrollment Form

Please do not submit payment with enrollment form; admission is contingent on intake and interview.

If you are interested in enrolling your young adult in our program, our intake coordinator will set up a brief phone intake with you and one of our program leaders so that we may learn more about your young adult, and also answer any additional questions you might have about the program. The phone intake generally lasts approximately 20 minutes. 

Contact Us

Contact us to learn more: click on the icon above to submit a request for information, call us (617) 278-4119, or email

Next Step wishes to thank the generous supporters who have made this program possible. Some of our current supporters include:



ImprovBoston has supported Next Step through the generous donation of their time and incredible talent, leading improvisation workshops for our college-bound students. ImprovBoston staff create a safe and playful atmosphere, which brings students out of their shell to realize their own inherent improvisational talent. Amidst all the laughter, students are better able to connect with their inner creative processes as well as with their peers in the Next Step Summer Program.