The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC  

Program Overview

The HEELS Summer Intensive is a week-long opportunity for young adults with intellectual disabilities to enjoy campus at UNC-Chapel Hill, build skills for adult life, and set goals for a bright future. The HEELS Summer Intensive will introduce important skills and strategies to support a successful transition to adult life.

Program Details

Dates: July 15th-19th, 2019
Time: 8:30am-4:30pm
Application Timeline:
  • Completed applications must be received by April 22, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance by May 6, 2019
  • 10 participants admitted
Cost: $650

Due to the generous support of our donors, all admitted applicants will receive a $200 scholarship, a tuition reduction from $850 to $650

Location: Pick-up and drop off on-campus at UNC Chapel Hill. Location TBD.
Who can benefit? The HEELS Summer Intensive is for Individuals who are...
  • Age 18 to 26 with a documented ID
  • Interested in living and working in the community with more independence
  • Motivated to learn and benefit from participation in the HEELS Summer Intensive
  • The HEELS Summer Intensive lead staff are experienced professionals in the fields of special education, occupational therapy, autism, and clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling.
  • 1-2 UNC graduate students will provide additional support to HEELS Summer Intensive participants in each session


You may print, complete, and mail your application, with copies of supplemental documents, to the address below OR print, complete, scan and upload all documents through our online form.
Application available here
Medical form here (required)
Personal support inventory here (required)
Photo/video release here (required)
Medical information release and confidentiality authorization form here (required)
Full application here
Online upload option:

Please Mail Completed Application and Supplemental Application Documents to:
HEELS 2 Transition
Campus Box 7205
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7205

More Information

Flyer for prospective participants
Flyer for parents/guardians

Daily Activities:

  • Morning: drop-off, ice breaker, goal planning/self-management skills and strategies
  • Mid-day: safety workshop, lunch
  • Afternoon: career exploration, independent living skills instruction, wrap up/reflection, pick-up

The HEELS Summer Intensive addresses critical areas of transition to adult life.

Self Management

UNC TEACCH Autism Program will provide a transition to adult life curriculum designed to support individuals with ID. With a focus on identifying and achieving goals, the curriculum will cover self-management and self-advocacy. Strategies and routines will be developed to facilitate generalization to home, community, postsecondary, and employment settings.

Life Skills

Participants will practice life skills in preparation for increased independence. Using a training apartment at the UNC Division of Occupational Therapy, participants will learn structured approaches to enhance their daily living activities like cleaning, laundry, and self-care.

Career Exploration

Employment is a fulfilling and important aspect of adult life. At the HEELS Summer Intensive, participants will develop greater awareness of their marketable skills and strengths as they prepare to become valued members of the workforce.
  • Participants will target careers that match their strengths, experience, and interests
  • Participants will work with staff to identify some potential next steps toward reaching career goals.

Social Opportunities

Participants will have opportunities to interact with other young adults, enjoy campus, and engage with the UNC-Chapel Hill community.


Safety workshops led by Fullpower staff use a "learning by doing" approach to teach skills through role-play and positive examples. These skills help people deal with challenging situations, feel safer when they go out, meet new people, do new things, and prepare for more independence.

Learning objectives include being and acting aware, setting boundaries with others, communication skills and how to get help and persist.

To learn more, visit

The HEELS Summer Intensive is an interdisciplinary collaboration:
  • UNC School of Medicine
    • Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
    • TEACCH Autism Program
    • UNC Department of Allied Health Sciences
  • UNC School of Education
  • Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International
The HEELS Summer Intensive is Supported by:
  • The Oak Foundation
  • UNC Public Policy and Campus Y Social Innovation Fund
  • The Lee Family
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