Developing functional skills for maximum independence.

Our Pathways Program (formerly known as Transition Program) is part of our Academy and is for individuals 14-21 years old.  It aims to help students develop functional life skills for improved independence.

All Pathways students are assessed using the Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS) to help inform the creation of individualized goals for their individualized learning plan (ILP).

During the program students rotate through intentionally designed environments that facilitate learning different skills.

Our Pathways Program is similarly structured to our Adult Day Treatment (DTA) program which fosters a smooth transition to the adult program if desired.


Home Ec Lab

While in this environment students participate in activities in the areas of garden, laundry, bedroom, cooking, kitchen, daily chores, and shopping skills.

Skills Lab

While in this environment students participate in activities in the areas of art, sensory exploration, hygiene, survival signs, safety/first aid, personal information

Vocational Lab

While in this environment students participate in activities in the areas of computer, job, building, fine motor, money, time, community helpers knowledge, and task completion skills.

Social Lab

While in this environment students participate in activities in the areas social-emotional, turn-taking games, leisure skills, gross motor, communication, and emotional regulation.


Like all our Academy classrooms, Pathways students also receive multiple enhancement programs including adaptive PE, recess, music, Karate, assitive technology, and more!

Pathways Program Garden

Our Pathways Program has taken on a new garden project. The students have the opportunity to learn about different plants and what grows best in Arizona and develop hands on gardening skills in our accessible garden boxes. Here two of our program lead instructors show off their green thumbs!


“My son has been in the Transition [Pathways] classroom for the past couple of years. It has been so good for him. Previously he was in a special ed classroom at a regular high school where he was not taught any life skills that would help him in his daily life. He was bored and acting out. The transition class at LIFE has been amazing at helping him progress in these daily living skills — from self-care such as brushing his hair and teeth, to using a swiffer, to social skills, to ‘buying’ things at the grocery store. He has grown so much in this class. The class gave us a bridge that we needed, but didn’t know existed before. It is sad to have him graduate and move on from the class. The team is incredible and cannot speak highly enough of each of them.”  – Erin Thomas


ASHLEY WATZKEDirector of Day Treatment, Transition, and Employment


As the Director of Day Treatment, Transition, and Employment Services I oversee a variety of programs within our organization. I train and assist staff throughout their day, I make great efforts to best support all staff so they can best serve our consumers.  My job is not only to train and support our staff, but to ensure our programming is the best it can be.

Career History:

I have been lucky to work in different settings since August of 2008, serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.  I have been with L.I.F.E. since July 2013 where I started as a habilitation provider in the community and then later in the adult program on campus. I quickly fell in love with the values, morals and support L.I.F.E. offered to not only the consumers but also to staff. I felt privileged to become and serve as a teacher in the academy, later growing into Student Services Supervisor. I’m lucky to serve on our Leadership Team, with many other individuals.

Personal Teaching Philosophy:

“Love what you do and never work a day in your life”

      – Unknown


 I have been married to my best friend for almost 8 years now and when we are not at work, you can find us chasing around our crazy wild daughters. In 2015, while I was teaching pre-school within the L.I.F.E. Academy, I had a student that at the time was in search of her forever home. Little did I know this little girl would become a huge part of my husband and my life. We adopted her in 2017 and she is now our daughter!  As a family we enjoy weekends at home hanging out with our family and going camping when we can!  We absolutely live for football season and the Arizona Cardinals; we won’t miss a game.

JENNIFER EISENBEISPathways Lead Instructor


I am the Pathways Lead Instructor for the Home Ec. Lab.

Career History:

I have been at L.I.F.E. since 2018, I was previously in the DTA, and this will be my second year in the Transition Department. Prior to L.I.F.E., I was selling home and auto insurance. I realized I needed something more fulfilling, and more fun, so I leaned on my twenty years working in preschools and before/after school programs and found Lauren’s Institute. Best decision I’ve ever made!

ISABEL VELENCIAPathways Lead Instructor


I am the Pathways Lead Instructor for the Skills Lab.

Career History:

I have been at L.I.F.E. for almost 6 years, and 3 have been as a Lead. I started my career in high school when I helped start up my school’s bronco buddies and unified sports. Before I left I helped create more than 6 fun programs for anyone and everyone to be able to join. I knew my love for helping those who can’t help themselves and I would be in this field. I fall more in love each year. I believe anyone can overcome any difficult obstacle in life with some support from those around them and I can’t wait to see how much we grow together.

EMINA KARAMUSTAFICPathways Lead Instructor


I am the Pathways Lead Instructor for the Vocational Lab.

Career History:

I have been with L.I.F.E. for 4 amazing years now, three of those years I have been working as a Lead. I began my working career in customer service and knew I wanted to make an impact in the lives of students. I then found L.I.F.E., began my journey here, and loved everything about my job here.

CARRA CALDWELLPathways Lead Instructor


I am the Pathways Lead Instructor for the Social Lab.

Career History:

I have been with L.I.F.E. for five years now, four of those years I have been working as a Lead Paraprofessional. I recently graduated from Arizona State University with my masters in Applied Behavior Analysis and am working towards my BCBA. I have always wanted to help people be the best people they can be. Finding Lauren’s Institute for Education has made this dream become a reality. Every day I come and am blown away by the progress made by all the kids. I am excited to continue this dream every day with your children!

Contact Us for More Information About L.I.F.E.

call us at 480-621-8361 EXT 136 or complete this form

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