OPTIONS Transitions to Independence


OPTIONS Transition to Indepences’ mission is to empower students with learning disabilities and differences to recognize and optimize their potential throughout their lives.

Individualized Instruction

The core curriculum offered through OPTIONS is designed to introduce students to a wide range of skills needed for either the College Transition track or the vocational Certificate of Completion track.

Transition Levels

Students at OPTIONS progress across three programs, starting with Standard.  Students in each program level should be able to demonstrate various skills related to self-management and independence.

Discover a World of Independence

Reach your Level of Independence

Discover a World of Independence

OPTIONS Transitions to Independence is a comprehensive boarding program for post-secondary students with learning disabilities, attention disorders, language based disorders and/or executive functioning deficits. OPTIONS offers instruction and assistance for students who need to further develop independent living, social, employment and academic skills. As students transition through phases of OPTIONS, they develop skills and acquire the crucial tools necessary for independent life.

Initially housed on the Brehm Preparatory School campus, OPTIONS Transitions to Independence has evolved and expanded services, empowering students for over 25 years. OPTIONS provide students with comprehensive support within a collegiate atmosphere that advances accomplishments and cultivates lifelong learning.

OPTIONS life development program emphasizes independent living, life skills, self-advocacy skills, well-rounded interpersonal skills, community linkages, employ-ability, and career development strategies. With the help of OPTIONS instructors, Independent Living Counselors, and specialized academic coaches, our students are successfully guided through speech and language courses, core academic skills, college preparation and participation, social skills, employment readiness classes, and community-based internships.

OPTIONS offers two different tracks: a College Transition track with our partner – John A. Logan College, and a Certificate of Completion track, which includes a variety of vocational concentrations. Both offer intensive assistance, structured supervision, and supported study hours. Our mission is to empower students with complex learning disabilities and differences to recognize and optimize their potential throughout their lifetime. We advance independence by optimizing our students’ full potential so that they may lead happy, independent, productive lives.

In addition to the two tracks offered by OPTIONS, other areas of focus include:

  • Accountability for actions
  • Emotional coping skills
  • Follow-through and preparedness
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Meal planning, shopping, and preparation
  • Money management, fiscal responsibility and budgeting
  • Organization
  • Organization of personal space
  • Personal hygiene
  • Safe behavior
  • Self-advocacy
  • Self-management
  • Social strategies
  • Time management

The OPTIONS Program provides golden opportunities to very special students. OPTIONS teaches students how to learn and, therefore, how to succeed at the college level and as citizens.

Dr. Lloyd Burtch

Professor, John A. Logan College

I used to be rebellious. I didn’t care about much. I was depressed a lot. When I came to OPTIONS, things really turned around for me and everything got better. I have a great internship that I can build into a career, as well as a new attitude and a great outlook on life.


Student, OPTIONS Transitions to Independence


OPTIONS has always operated using a team concept, drawing from experienced staff to lead and make decisions with the students’ and Program’s best interests at heart.

OPTIONS team members communicate daily. They come together at weekly meetings where they share insights into which strategies are working best for students. Discussion takes place regarding any areas of difficulty. At times, like pieces of a puzzle, a number of smaller situations come together through the team meeting process to reveal a more understandable, comprehensive picture, fostering problem-solving and student growth. Solutions are formulated and strategies are put into action. Detailed follow-up confirms progress. This sort of communication forms the basis for the delivery of quality services to OPTIONS students and is the reason for OPTIONS’ consistent growth.

We find being a partner in the OPTIONS Internship Program very rewarding. The students we have worked with over the years have all proven to be hard-working, enthusiastic and willing to take on new challenges out of their comfort zone to help them grow as young adults.

Brad Palmer

WSIU Public Radio

OPTIONS impacts my life in a big way. Working with a Speech and Language Pathologist, in both group and individual sessions, has vastly improved my language skills. I live on my own and use the strategies I’ve learned to find solutions for my daily issues.


Student, OPTIONS Transitions to Independence

“After struggling with parochial school, I was diagnosed with ADD and OCD. Soon after, I began attending Brehm and OPTIONS, which helped me through community college and then Southern Illinois University. Thanks to the lessons I’ve learned from Brehm and OPTIONS, I’m only the second person in my family to graduate from college.”
— Pete

Parents & Families

OPTIONS parents and families are integral members of the OPTIONS team.

OPTIONS prides itself on clear, frequent, and open communications with students and families. Therefore, families of OPTIONS students can expect regular communications from the OPTIONS team. Each student’s adviser sets up scheduled communications with families, and comprehensive progress reports are shared each quarter. OPTIONS hosts Parent and Family Conferences twice each year in the fall and spring. A family and staff reception is held in conjunction with these conferences. During these times, there are opportunities to meet with advisors and other members of the OPTIONS Team. The OPTIONS staff understands that family connections and involvement are paramount to student success.