Learning disabilities don't simply disappear when high school is over — which sounds obvious but has proven all too easy for the world to forget. All too often men and women with learning and developmental disabilities are left to fend for themselves as adults, leading to social isolation, depression and a feeling of being out of sync with the rest of society. Since 1987 Pathways to Independence has been working toward a better reality for people with such disabilities as Asperger syndrome, traumatic brain injury and expressive language disorder. This nonprofit provides services that make a real impact in people's daily lives; the goal is to help Pathways participants become fully engaged in the community, achieve independence, use sound judgment and contribute to the world around them. Vocational training plays an integral part in Pathways' mission, and programs are designed around specific skills including conflict resolution, money management, self-advocacy and transportation planning. After 22 years of existence, the organization was awarded full-year funding for 2010 from the St. Louis Office for Developmental Disability Resources. In turbulent economic times, with the next big grant always in question, a group such as Pathways to Independence can always use more volunteers, more money and more recognition.
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