The STAGES Program 


STAGES = Supporting Transitioning Adults Growing in Essential life Skills

The STAGES program is an Adult Day Habilitation program, which assists participants to acquire and maintain those life skills which enable them to cope more effectively with the demands of his/her disability and the environment, and to raise the physical, mental, and social skills. This process includes programs of formal, structured education and training as described in the ISP. The STAGES program provides independent living skills training and community living skills training. 


Independent living skills: complete continuum of skills involved in increasing independence such as grooming/personal hygiene, selection/care of clothing, responsible self-medication, personal safety, housekeeping, nutritional/meal preparation, eating/table manners, use of telephone, and money/budgeting concepts.


Community living skills: the array of skills which enables a person supported to live independently in the community. These include, but are not limited to, skills in the following areas: independent living, educational/vocational, interpersonal, social, problem solving, financial, leisure time, community transportation, and the use of community resources. 

The hours of operation for the STAGES Program includes Monday through Friday, 9-8 PM. There is an option for Saturday sessions provided to all participants once a month. Employees of the STAGES program may be required to meet outside of these hours to accommodate to participant’s needs, as stated in the participant’s service plan. 

Admission criteria for the STAGES Program includes:


Adults (ages 18+) who have finished high school or are finishing in the current school year, and are looking to find independent living, employment opportunities or community integration opportunities. 


STAGES serves applicants, regardless of diagnosis, who experience difficulty in some or all of these areas:

  • Communication

  • Maintaining daily environment

  • Social interaction

  • Earning a living

  • Personal hygiene

  • Transportation

  • Community integration

The STAGES program strives to serve adults who desire to:

  • Acquire daily living skills

  • Live a more social life and connect with other adults who experience similar difficulties 

  • Gain and maintain paid employment

  • Be engaged in community activities that are of personal interest to the participant

  • Live a more independent life, either within their current situation or in their own housing

  • Give back to the autism community through serving others with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) aimed at helping the persons with ASD function at their highest potential by learning skills that will enable them to be successful in current and future environments.


The STAGES program reserves the right to refer individuals to other resources if their referring conditions do not meet criterion for The STAGES Program. This may be determined during the initial phone interview or parent consultation. In these cases, you will be referred to an appropriate community resource if applicable. 


STAGES is not a crisis management service provider. If a participant is experiencing a crisis or emergency, caregivers or participants should contact 911 and ask for a CIT trained officer or co-responder. If the participant is not a risk to themselves or others you can call the TN Statewide Mobile Crisis Line at (855) 274-7471 

ECF Choices

A TennCare Program 

What is the Employment and Community First (ECF) CHOICES program?


The Employment and Community First CHOICES program is administered by TennCare through its contracted managed care organizations.  It offers services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Services in the program will help people become employed and live as independently as possible in the community.  

  • ECF CHOICES services help individuals of all ages with intellectual or developmental disabilities live as independently as possible

  • Individuals are supported to live with their families or within the community, not an institution

  • Services can also include assisting individuals with pursuing employment

  • This includes gaining skills to find a job and keep a job whether work is part-time, full-time, or self-employment

  • Services also assist individuals in finding a job that is the “right fit”

    • Individuals are able to try out certain jobs before committing to employment in order to see what the job is like and what skills are needed for the job

  • Goals of services are directed towards learning life skills that can be used at home or within the community

  • Individuals are supported to be active members of the community 

  • Relationships with peers and other social situations can also be goals of the services provided

  • Services can include learning how to navigate the community effectively through the use of transportation options


Definitions of ECF CHOICES Services Provided by the STAGES Program:

  • Community Integration Support Services (CISS): Helps you do things in the community that you want to do. Take a class, join a club, volunteer, get or stay healthy, do something fun, build relationships, and reach your goals.

  • Independent Living Skills Training (ILST): Helps you learn new things so you can live more independently. These skills can help you take care of yourself, your home, or your money.


How to Enroll in ECF CHOICES Services

  • To apply for ECF CHOICES Services fill out this self-referral form:

  • If you need help filling out the self-referral form please call the entities below:

    • If you already have Medicaid, and therefore have a Managed Care Organization (MCO) then:

      • If your health plan (MCO) is Amerigroup:

        • Applicants who already have Medicaid and are enrolled with Amerigroup should contact their Managed Care Organization with questions or if you need assistance completing the self-referral form. The number is 866-840-4991.

      • If your health plan (MCO) is BlueCare:

        • Applicants who already have Medicaid and are enrolled with BlueCare should contact their Managed Care Organization with questions or if you need assistance completing the self-referral form. The number is 888-747-8955.

      • If your health plan (MCO) is United Health Care:

        • Applicants who already have Medicaid and are enrolled with United HealthCare Community Plan should contact their Managed Care Organization with questions or if you need assistance completing the self-referral form.  The number is 800-690-1606.

    • If you have Medicaid but are not sure who your MCO is:

      • You can call the Tennessee Health Connection line at 1-855-259-0701 to find out who your MCO is. 

    • If you do not have Medicaid:

      • Applicants who do not have Medicaid should contact the Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Regional Intake Offices with questions or for assistance completing the self-referral form for both Employment and Community First CHOICES and applying for Medicaid. The DIDD contact information is below:

        • DIDD Regional Intake Office Contact information:

        • West Tennessee Regional Office: (866) 372-5709

        • Middle Tennessee Regional Office: (800) 654-4839

        • East Tennessee Regional Office: (888) 531-9876


For more information about ECF CHOICES including a complete list of services available on TennCare’s website please visit:

Private Pay Options 


The STAGES program is pleased to offer private pay services to fit any busy schedule. We provide services Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with limited evening and weekend options. 


1:1 Direct face to face services: in person sessions with STAGES DSP.  Sessions conducted in the participant’s home or in the community focusing on goals established by the participant. Sessions will typically be scheduled for 1 ½ -3 hours depending on the activity.  Additional check-ins via text message or email  will occur at least 2x/week from the Behavior Technicians assigned to work with the participant.  Services are billed at $70/hr


2:1 Direct face to face services: in person sessions with STAGES DSP and one other STAGES participant in the community with emphasis on social skills training. Sessions will typically be scheduled for 2-4 hours depending on the activity. Additional check-ins via text message or email  will occur at least 1x/week from the Behavior Technician assigned to work with the participants.  Services are billed at $50/hr


Zoom meetings These meetings are recommended to be  used as  check-ins for the participants who have very busy schedules or who live outside the STAGES service area. . Qualifying participants would only require face to face visits 1-2x a month. Services are billed at $50 for an hour with a minimum session being half an hour.

Special offer to private pay clients who are only looking for social groups: 

For a $35 flat rate you can attend a STAGES social  or volunteer event. 

Staff will be assigned to check in periodically throughout the event. 

Staff would be available to provide assistance as needed.


Special offer for past STAGES participants: $10 flat rate to attend any STAGES event. 



DSP Code of Ethics


Person-Centered Supports:
As a DSP, my first allegiance is to the person I support; all other activities and functions I perform flow from this allegiance.
Promoting Physical & Emotional Well-Being:
As a DSP, I will commit to promote the emotional, physical, and personal well-being of the people I support. I will encourage growth and recognize the autonomy of those receiving support while being attentive and energetic reducing the risk of harm.
Integrity and Responsibility:
As a DSP, I will support the mission and vitality of my profession to assist people in
leading self-directed lives and to foster a spirit of partnership with the people I support, other professionals, and the community.
As a DSP, I will safeguard and respect the confidentiality and privacy of the peopleI

Justice, Fairness and Equity:
As a DSP, I will affirm the human rights as well as the civil rights and responsibilities of the people I support. I will promote and practice justice, fairness, and equity for the people I support and the community as a whole.
As a DSP, I will respect the human dignity and uniqueness of the people I support. I will recognize each person I support as valuable and promote their value within communities.
As a DSP, I will assist the people I support to develop and maintain relationships.
As a DSP, I will assist the people I support to direct the course of their own lives.
As a DSP, I will advocate with the people I support for justice, inclusion, and full
community participation.

Code of Ethics

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Photo Gallery


Part of the STAGES team at the 2019 Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk.

Staff, participants, and family members all came out to practice our social skills and support autism awareness and acceptance.


Support STAGES!

Make a tax-deductible donation to the STAGES program:

  1. Write a check to the Chattanooga Autism Center, and put "STAGES Program Donation" in the memo. Mail to the Chattanooga Autism Center, 1400 McCallie Ave., Suite 100, Chattanooga, TN 37404.​​

  2. Call 423-531-6961, opt. 0 to make a credit card donation over the phone. Be sure to specify that your donation is for the STAGES program.

  3. Click the yellow button below to donate online.


Are you interested in learning more about STAGES?

Do you think that STAGES would be a good fit for yourself or your adult child on the spectrum?

If so, fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you about the next steps on your STAGES journey.

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Someone will be in contact with you as soon as possible to discuss next steps toward beginning your STAGES journey. 

Have a complaint about STAGES or the services you've received? Fill out the Google Form below and it will be addressed in 3-5 business days. (Can be submitted anonymously)

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