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Connections offers training in social skills for young adults with mild-to-moderate special needs.

Connections is a weekly social skills course designed for young adults who received services in high school for mild-to-moderate special needs in the area of social skills.

Course goal

The goal of the course is to help students with special needs develop and practice social skills so they can connect with others and with their community in a positive way. In addition, to encourage students to develop a social life, Connections provides valuable information about how to participate in community activities and use community resources.


We will offer instruction in social skills and appropriate social interaction, and provide opportunities for students to practice those skills with each other. Students will also learn how to plan, organize and get involved in community activities. We will focus on topics related to enhancing self-awareness, building relationships and creating a social life.

Role-playing, open forums and small group interaction keep students engaged in class. In addition, twice a month students participate in a social activity in the community that they select and plan. The social activities may include trips to area restaurants, theaters and parks as well as students’ homes.

Course schedules

Connections courses are held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays during the fall and spring semesters. Students meet on the JCCC campus every other week. They meet in the community for a social activity on the other weeks. Some community activities may begin earlier than 7 p.m. depending upon the activity that has been planned.


Students may enroll if they are young adults, have difficulty making appropriate social decisions and are able to:

  • Change classrooms independently
  • Participate in small group activities
  • Converse with others
  • Remain seated without supervision
  • Follow simple directions
  • Attend to a task for at least 20 minutes
  • Transport and take medications independently
  • Attend to personal hygiene independently
  • Arrange transportation or help pay for gas for carpooling to and from community activities
  • Go into the community with a group with minimal supervision

In addition, students must not:

  • Require extensive supervision for acute or chronic medical conditions, such as seizure disorders
  • Require a special diet
  • Have demonstrated physical, sexual or severe verbal aggression in recent years
  • Have left a specified location without permission from staff or a family member in the past two years


Tuition is $229 per semester plus a $50 activity fee. The activity fee is collected on the first night of class.


The Connections course is currently open to previous and new students. New students must be accepted by the instructors prior to being approved to enroll.

To see if you qualify for this program, email instructors Susan Fisher and Laurie Rue.


Laurie M. Rue and Susan Fisher are special educators who have taught in the Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley School Districts. Together they have over 50 years of classroom and community based instruction experience. 

Since the early ’90s, Laurie has taught an extremely successful high school-level social skills class, Interpersonal Skills. Susan joined Laurie to co-teach Interpersonal Skills class in 2001. This class was recognized as a model in the area of transition by the University of Kansas and was awarded a grant to develop and publish the curriculum for the university.

Seeing the need for social skills beyond high school, Laurie, with another colleague, developed the Connections class and began teaching the course in 2001. In 2006, Susan began to co-teach Connections with Laurie and they have continually taught this course at JCCC.