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Our Very Own Innovative Start-Up in the Valley

by DeAnna Pursai

It is truly most inspirational to watch the College of Adaptive Arts continue to come into fruition as more passionate and committed students, families, and visionaries find and support the College of adaptive Arts.  CAA in many ways parallels the qualities of the rich and robust innovative start-ups in the valley. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_graduationcheering.jpgCAA is forging into unchartered territory by providing a service and model for adults with special that has rarely been tried before.  It’s not a day program; students over the age of 18 simply sign up for the 1 ½ hour-long courses that they are interested in taking.  CAA does not have a fixed period an adult can only attend, nor or a cap on an age limit.  It’s not a pure arts program: CAA offers 8 distinct schools of instruction, including the Schools of Music, Dance, Theatre, TV/Film, Art, Communications, Health & Wellness & Science & Technology. 

CAA is building its own accreditation system of units and courses which are private and nontransferable, but nonetheless based squarely in best practices in adult learning theory and special needs education.  CAA provides a lifelong, equitable collegiate experience to adults with special needs who can and want to be successful contributing citizens, but where a junior-college level Associate’s degree will not be within reach.

CAA also does not serve just one type or degree of adult with special need.  CAA has students with Down syndrome, autism, medical fragilities such as epilepsy, cancer, & diabetes, adults with cerebral palsy, blindness, and developmental delays.  CAA serves students who are perceived as high-functioning and students who are very shy, nonverbal, and need to attend with a careprovider.  CAA does not do medication, toileting, babysitting, or behavior – the bar is set high with the expectations that these adult students want to be there to learn, create, and contribute.

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What fundamentally brings us all together is our drive to continue learning and creating.  The CAA students are so eager to learn new concepts and to share their knowledge base with their peers.  There is a palpable electricity in the air when classes are in sessions and the creative juices being firing.  I never cease to be amazed and astounded at the creativity and thoughtful exploration that emanates from a CAA classroom.  I feel so privileged that this small but mighty start-up is amidst so many other innovative startups that are pushing the boundaries of possibility.  It feels so right to be ‘Moving this Mountain’ every day in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

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