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START of California (Success Through Awareness and Responsibility Training)


START is dedicated to enriching the lives of adolescents and adults who have learning differences (LD) and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). START was developed specifically for individuals with LD and ADHD as these individuals are at high risk for teen pregnancy, school dropout, gang membership, trouble with the law, substance abuse and unemployment.

The program:

  • Empowers individuals to act on their own behalf.
  • Acknowledges the interrelationship of issues affecting these individuals.
  • Works in partnership with courts, probation departments, community based organizations, alternative schools, the education system and city and county organizations.

START is a 14 session, 28-hour program, incorporating a modeling and role-play approach to skill building, found to be effective for interpersonal skill development for individuals with LD/ADHD. Each session is divided into three areas: Life Skills; Anger Management; and Problem Solving. Particular attention is given to discovering an individual's strengths and learning how to cope with deficit areas.

Outside evaluation of START at Holden Ranch (a youth correctional facility) in Santa Clara County (CA) participants showed significant improvement (at the p< .1 level) on measures of

  • problem solving
  • goal setting
  • self control
  • self esteem

Evaluators' correlation analysis revealed that school success, drug use and unhealthy sexual behavior are related to these measurements. At sites selected by the San Jose, California Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force participants showed improvement of

  • risk avoidance,
  • protective skills,
  • resiliency assets.

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