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Regional Center Reference Form

Eligibility Criteria

Wayfinders is a 2-year non-degree independent living certificate program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Students at Wayfinders increase their independence by taking classes at Fresno State through Open University, living in student apartments, and participating in work experience internships both on and off-campus.

Wayfinders is not appropriate for all individuals.

Wayfinders is not appropriate for individuals who have a psychiatric and/or emotional disturbance that impacts behavior, have serious medical conditions that require monitoring or intervention, and/or require 24-hour supervision. Wayfinders does not provide 24/7 on-site support. Wayfinders prioritizes participant safety and respect. Our philosophy and approach allow participants to make decisions that affect all aspects of life and we promote the dignity of risk and the right to failure; as such enhancing the participant’s experience while at Wayfinders.

Applications should be submitted only for an individual who:

  • Is 18-28 years old or will be 18 years old by the program start date (August 1st)
  • Has a diagnosed intellectual and/or developmental disability
  • Will have completed high school with a diploma, certificate of completion, or equivalent prior to August 1
  • Has a strong desire to live independently after completion of Wayfinders and parents/guardians who support their progress toward independence
  • Is comfortable with a dynamic schedule and has intrinsic motivation to participate in all components of Wayfinders programming (Residential, Vocation, University Inclusion, Activities, Transition, Case Management)
  • Is able to complete their daily needs (bathing, dressing, feeding,) access their physical environment, and safely function with minimal to no supervision
  • Is able to accurately and independently manage medications
  • Is able to communicate needs effectively
  • Demonstrates appropriate social behavior including getting along with peers, following rules, and accepting supervision
  • No suicidal thoughts or self-mutilating behavior, gestures, threats, harm towards self or others
  • Is currently working, volunteering, or enrolled in a high school, a community college, or another training program
  • Has alternate residence for holiday breaks
  • Is free of any communicable diseases that are transmissible by casual contact, has all immunizations up to date, and has health insurance coverage

Scope of Services

Program Overview

  1. Wayfinders is a 2-year non-degree post-secondary transition program for young adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The program seeks to increase the independence and self-determination through the college experience. 
  2. Full time support/supervision on campus, within housing and in the community is not available from Wayfinders. Participants must possess the independence and decision making skills to safely participate in Wayfinders.
  3. Wayfinders is not a behavior modification program, nor does the program have therapists or any other medical professional to deal with extreme issues and behaviors (e.g. anger issues, technology addictions, obsessive-compulsions etc). Issues and behaviors must be regulated and under control BEFORE the participant applies to the program.
  4. Wayfinders has the right to terminate a participant if they do not meet expectations as set in the Satisfactory Progress Policy or pose a threat to self-and/or others. Likewise, if the program is not a good fit for the participant, the participant may leave the program. Early exit does not absolve the participant/parent from contracted financial obligations (see #3 & #4 under Housing).

Program Expectations

  1. Participants are expected to participate in all components of the program (Residential, Vocation, University Inclusion, Activities and Transition). Staff cannot force participation, therefore, it is essential that the participant is motivated to learn to live independently, work, attend classes, and participate in social events. 
  2. Participants are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct as outlined by Fresno State. Wayfinders students will follow the policies of the judicial system and the recommendations of the Dean of Students, as well as the Wayfinders Satisfactory Progress Policy. Any resulting disciplinary action will follow in accordance with Fresno State and/or Wayfinders policies. These policies may include permanent or temporary expulsion of a student.
  3. Participants and parents will work closely with the Wayfinders transition team to find suitable transition options for participants after completion of the program. The ultimate goal of the program is for the participant to live independently and be gainfully employed or continue their education at completion of the program.


  1. Participants live at the Palazzo Apartments. The Palazzo is not part of Fresno State housing nor are they affiliated with Wayfinders. 
  2. Parents/participants are responsible for the lease and rent payments to Palazzo. Participants will abide by their lease rules and regulations.
  3. If at any point during the two-year period the parent/participant decides to withdraw from Wayfinders or if the participant is suspended/expelled, parent/participant will still be responsible for the lease until the term is over. Wayfinders or Fresno State Foundation will not be responsible for the lease. 
  4. Expelled participants must move out of the designated Wayfinders apartment immediately. Lease obligations will remain in effect until the lease term is over.

Fresno State

  1. Participants enroll through Open University via the Division of Continuing and Global Education (CGE) at Fresno State. Accordingly, they are NOT degree-seeking students of Fresno State which may limit their ability to partake in some activities, events and classes on campus. 
  2. Participants are not eligible for priority registration and may have to sit into several classes of their interest to obtain permission numbers. There is no guarantee that the participant will be able to register for the class of their choice. Every effort will be made to find classes that meet the participant’s needs. 
  3. All participants are expected to enroll in 6 units: 3 units Counseling 180T and 3 units any course of their choosing. However, in the first semester all 1st year students take Counseling 180T and University 1. 
  4. Wayfinders covers the fees for Counseling 180T (Career Development - 3 units) and 3 additional units (university course/s) per semester. Parents/participants are responsible for any additional course units the student would like to take. Currently Fresno State unit fees through CGE are $310/unit. Parents/participants are responsible for purchasing all course supplies and books including those needed for the courses paid for by Wayfinders.
  5. Participants earn a Certificate of Completion. They participate in the Kremen School of Education Convocation ceremony and as is the case with other non-degree students, do not wear a cap and gown.
  6. State and federal special education laws do not apply to the college setting therefore, instructors are not expected to provide modifications for students.  Participants may receive accommodations from Fresno State’s Services for Students with Disabilities Office (SSD). 
  7. Parents/participants are also responsible to pay an annual student fee of $472 to cover costs associated with the use of the Health Center, the University Student Union, and the Bulldog ID card. This amount is also subject to change. 
  8. Wayfinders is a Certified Transition Program, qualifying Wayfinders participants to apply for PELL Grants. Parents/participants are responsible for securing the financial aid through the FAFSA website. Wayfinders does not have access to any financial aid records. Note: financial aid will not cover all expenses and is never guaranteed.

Health and Pre-Existing Needs

  1. Participants have access to the Student Health and Counseling Center on campus for immediate first aid/onset care. The Student Health and Counseling Center is open M- F. Participants will utilize local Urgent Care Centers or hospital ER for after hour/weekend emergencies.
  2. Counseling and psychological services provided by the Student Health Center are for immediate emergency interventions only.
  3. For long-term care issues, incoming students need to make other medical arrangements PRIOR to the first day of programming. Likewise, participants with pre-existing/ongoing concerns should make the necessary arrangements for known issues and secure all necessary healthcare providers, prior to move-in day. 
  4. Wayfinders does not have a professional to administer/monitor participant medication. Participants must have a well-established medication regimen and be knowledgeable about their medication before entering the program. 


  1. Parents are to be supportive of their college going student. Parents may not always agree with the decisions their student is making but understand that is a normal part of any young adult’s life. Parents agree to support students in becoming independent adults, capable of self-advocacy and self-determination. 
  2. Parents acknowledge that they may not always be invited to student meetings and that Wayfinders is bound by confidentiality or judicial rulings thereby unable to share information about the student without his/her permission. Parents agree to maintain a positive and open relationship with all parties (students, staff and regional center).
  3. Parents commit to working closely with their student and the Transition team on securing apartments, continuing education and/or work opportunities for successful transition outcomes upon completion of the program. 
  4. According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) parents are not to contact university faculty or university staffing outside of Wayfinders. Parents, who have concerns about student academics or university status are to discuss their concerns with their student. 
  5. Concerns regarding the participant must be directed to the Wayfinders Case Manager. Note: Wayfinders Staff will not speak to parents without the student being present.
Service Coordinator/Case Manager: I have read and understand the Wayfinders Eligibility Criteria AND Scope of Services. *

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