Community Autism Peer Specialist (CAPS) Program

CAPS Training Program

 

What is the Community Autism Peer Specialist (CAPS) Training?

The Community Autism Peer Specialist (CAPS) Training is designed to provide learners with the essential skills, knowledge, and tools to work as a CAPS delivering peer support services in Pennsylvania in accordance with state guidelines.

The CAPS training focuses on wellness, self-advocacy, empowerment, and community inclusion as core values. The training is 75-hours long and includes a mixture of in-person classroom instruction, self-paced learning activities (homework), and field observations (potentially virtual) through job shadowing.

CAPS training explores topics including active listening, person-centered support, cultural competency, trauma-informed practice, exploring our own Autistic identities and wellness journeys, and sharing our experiences in a way that can connect with, empower, and inspire confidence in our peers.

Completion of this training allows graduates to qualify for future positions as a Community Autism Peer Specialist (CAPS), as well as providing valuable educational experiences applicable to a variety of roles in the field of Autism advocacy, services, and support.

 

Eligibility: Who is this training for?

The training is designed for individuals on the Autism Spectrum who have a passion for using their own experiences to support other Autistic people in their community to feel empowered, achieve their goals, and meaningfully participate in all areas of life. An ideal candidate will identify as having had experience working on their own wellness through utilizing a variety of supports like mentoring, personal self-care practices, behavioral health services, or other methods.

To qualify for this training, applicants must be:
• 18 years of age or older,
• Hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent, and
• Identify as an individual on the Autism Spectrum (and be able to provide documentation of their Autism Spectrum diagnosis).

 

What you need to complete the application:

  • Lived experience information: A signed letter or other documentation from a doctor, clinician, or service provider that verifies your autism diagnosis. (Please note: You do not need to submit any detailed clinical information beyond confirmation of the diagnosis.)
  • A copy of your high school or college diploma, or proof of GED from an accredited institution
  • Employment Information: Your resume and/or unofficial transcripts
  • Contact information for 2 professional references

 

IMPORTANT DATES:

Training Dates: The training typically occurs over the course of 2-3 weeks (with one week devoted to job shadowing). The training will not take place every day. Participants should be prepared to be available 9 am – 5 pm.

Application Due Date: Online applications are closed. Please reach out to phillyap@drexel.edu if you have any questions. If you are interested in future training opportunities, please indicate your interest below.

Location: In Philadelphia and virtually. More details will be provided to participants.

 

Note on Covid-19 Protocols: Participants may be required to wear masks, maintain social distance when possible, and symptom screening and/or testing expectations.

What is CAPS?

 

The Community Autism Peer Specialist (CAPS) program pairs an autistic individual with a Community Autism Peer Specialist to achieve personal wellness and community integration goals. Activities are chosen by the autistic person to build skills in the areas of employment, postsecondary education, leadership, independent living, self-care and health management, interpersonal relationships, use of public transportation, community participation, and other areas of growth. CAPS are trained peer support professionals. They also have personal experience as self-advocates on the Spectrum. Note there is a difference between the CAPS Training, CAPS Job and CAPS Service. Here’s a short explanation: 

CAPS Training: The 75-hour training that provides you with a foundation to become a CAPS Peer Specialist.

CAPS Job: Employment opportunities that use your CAPS Training experience. Our CAPS Training Program graduates are employed in roles such as Peer Specialists, in wellness engagement units, providing travel training, and other related areas.

CAPS Service: This is the service that pairs an autistic individual with a CAPS Peer Specialist. More information is below.

CAPS Employment Opportunities

Job opportunities: A limited number of individuals will receive training and will be eligible to apply for a paid position as a CAPS. Employment is not guaranteed. Program expansion may result in additional employment opportunities.

 

CAPS Position Requirements:
• Lived experience: Individuals who are 18 years of age or older with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
• Education/employment history:

o A high school diploma or GED/degree from an accredited institution.

o Within the past three years: Maintained at least 12 months of successful full or part-time paid or voluntary work experience OR Obtained at least 24 credit hours of post-secondary education

Learn more about the CAPS Service!

 

The Community Autism Peer Specialist (CAPS) program is a community-based behavioral health service for individuals on the Autism Spectrum that employs a team of trained CAPS. Participants in the program receive services from a CAPS professional who is also on the Spectrum and has received state-approved CAPS training. The CAPS professional delivers peer support using their own lived experiences in navigating life as an individual on the Spectrum as well as their knowledge of wellness tools to provide guidance, mentoring, and support services to their peer in achieving their chosen goals in areas like living, learning, working and socializing. A CAPS offers unique support through the connection, empathy, and understanding of a shared experience living on the Spectrum. They offer encouragement, information, and are a safe and trusted person that helps their peer create and achieve their own plans for wellbeing.

Below provides you with more information about the CAPS Service, including the CAPS Service Flyer and CAPS Service FAQ document. If you are interested in referring someone to receive CAPS as a service, please see the CAPS Service Referral Form below. If you do not live in Philadelphia or have HealthChoices, please let us know! This is helpful for us in planning for CAPS expansion.

Service Eligibility Criteria

  • Must have an autism diagnosis
  • Be 14 years or older
  • Eligible for HealthChoices (Medicaid)
  • Reside in Philadelphia County

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