Housing And Community Living
Moving out of the family home is one of the biggest decisions in a persons life. For a person on the autism spectrum, finding and securing a house and caregiving supports can be complicated for you and your family. Autism Speaks can make this planning easier through tools and resources to guide you through the process. This Housing and Community Living section contains information you need to help you search for housing options and keep you informed.
As a first step, download our Transition Roadmap to Housing and Residential Supports to help you begin your journey. This roadmap is for you if you are:
- An autistic student planning for your future.
- A young adult with autism looking for more information about housing and support options available to you.
- A parent, family member or caregiver of a child with autism.
This personalized, interactive tool provides a series of goals and resources up to age 22 to help you get ready for independent housing. You can work through the roadmap at your own pace and choose the age and support level most meaningful to you.
Each goal in the roadmap includes key action steps, including:
- Practicing life skills at home and in the community
- Developing strategies for independent living
- Applying for Home and Community-based Services
- Researching low-income housing options
- Securing residential services and supports
Elk River Treatment Center In Alabama
Elk River specializes in treating adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder .
Elk River Treatment Center provides care for boys and girls ages 12 18. Elk River Treatment Program has successfully helped hundreds of adolescents who were admitted with a diagnosis of high functioning autism, meaning they can read, write, and manage life skills without around-the-clock assistance. Elk River Treatment Program is unable to serve children who have a lower functioning and/or non-verbal ASD diagnosis.
Contact Elk River through their website or by calling .
What Is Inpatient Treatment For Autism
Inpatient treatment centers are short-term care that take place in hospitals or other institutional settings. Programs are typically 24 hours to 7 days with some programs being 30 days or longer, compared to residential treatment that is meant for 9-12 months or longer.
Inpatient treatment is meant to help during an acute crisis and not as long-term solution.
Click here for help with inpatient treatment for autism.
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Questions To Ask When Visiting A Group Home
Here is a list of questions to consider asking when exploring group home options:
- Who are the staff or caregivers in the home? What is their role?
- Do you like the home and yard? What are bedrooms like?
- What are other residents like? Are they friendly and do they seem content and comfortable?
- Does the home seem comfortable to you?
- How clean is the residence?
- Do the residency have privacy?
- What are the house policies and visiting hours?
- Are pets, smoking, or alcohol allowed?
- Are personal religious practices supported?
- Are bedrooms private or shared?
- Can you bring your own furniture and personal items?
- How much storage space will you have?
- Is the home handicap accessible?
- Is transportation available?
- How are meals prepared and what food is available?
- What is the cost? Is there a contract?
Envision An Ideal Setting For An Adult With Autism
All parents or guardians, Ehlert says, want their children to be “safe and happy” as adults. But every parent or guardian has a different vision of what “safe and happy” might look like. That vision, she says, depends as much on family experiences and attitudes as on the child’s abilities and preferences. Still, it’s important for parents or guardians to start thinking about their own vision for their child’s future before making any concrete actions. While families do have a say, it is best to remember the satisfaction and desire of the autistic child matter most.
Where would the child in your care thrive? In a city? On a farm? On their own? With a group? At home with parents or guardians? In essence, says Ehlert, there are five general living options available:
- At home with family
- Apartment with services that come in and check on residents These are living support services, and they could be privately or publicly funded.
- Housing unit program/roommateindividuals live in a house or apartment building that belongs to a structured support group caregiver makes sure everyone is OK at night, runs programs, etc.
- Group home caregiver lives on site
- “Dorm-style,” large facilities
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How Do I Apply For Services
Step 1 Apply for MaineCare benefits. If you are not already receiving Maine Care Benefits, please apply for MaineCare Services. You must complete an application. For information on how to apply to MaineCare, visit the Office for Family Independence.
Step 2 Complete a Medical Review. To complete your medical review, please contact us at the Office of Aging and Disability Services by calling regional office near you.
Villa Maria In Maryland
Villa Maria School provides educational and clinical services for children with significant emotional, behavioral and learning challenges.
Villa Maria School has highly trained staff that work in partnership with our parents. They make every effort to assist each child in the return to their home school or to a less intensive program as soon as is possible. They help children become better learners, understand their feelings, and change their behaviors.
The school services children in grades Pre-K through 8th grade and has a short-term diagnostic residential program as well.
Learn more about all that Villa Maria has to offer by calling 667-600-3100 or by visiting their website.
Springbrook Autism Program In South Carolina
Springbrook provides a behavioral health center with a well-developed program for the treatment of autism in children ages 5-21. Their therapy programs for autism rely on the latest findings and the most effective research methods, and their therapists and other staff members meet regularly to discuss the childs specific progress, goals, and challenges.
Their program is tailored to the child with autism and goal-oriented, rather than for long-term care, and works with children across the Southeast including Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina and South Carolina.
Springbrook also offers an acute stabilization program for approximately 28-days and is specifically designed to reach all levels of functioning adolescents over the age of 10 with ASD and related developmental disorders who are exhibiting behaviors that interfere with their success at home and school.
Contact Springbrook through their website or by calling .
Housing And Residential Support Options For Adults
All parents worry about their childrens future, but for the 19% of people with disabilities, that parental concern is even greater – especially when it comes to financial planning and the transition to adulthood. More than 300 people traveled from five different states to attend the first Special Needs Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.
The morning was dedicated to special needs financial planning and was funded through a partnership with the SunTrust Foundation as part of a regional series of workshops dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being through education and resources.
See the session below about housing and residential support options, delivered by Angela Lello, Senior Director of Public Policy for Autism Speaks:
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Day Programs For Young Adults Who Remain At Home
Easterseals offers day programs for people with autism so they can enjoy socialization and recreational opportunities and participate in the community. While people with autism who participate in Easterseals day programs might need some supervision, they need only minimal assistance with activities of daily living.
Pharmacologic And Nonpharmacologic Approaches To Challenging Behavior
The primary treatment for challenging behavior is to diagnose and address the underlying cause. However, the cause may not be readily apparent. Both pharmacologic and nonpharmacological approaches may need to be explored.
There are some data to support the efficacy of nonpharmacological treatment approaches. Mindfulness interventions are effective to reduce behavioral and psychological problems in people with developmental disabilities, including autism.56â58 Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety also is effective in autistic people.59 Physical exercise has been shown to reduce stereotypy, aggression, off-task behavior, and elopement in autistic people.60 Functional assessment and improved communication have also been shown to reduce challenging behaviors.61,62
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How Needs And Diagnosis Impact Level And Type Of Support
AIDD and DVR services are provided based on a variety of factors that are not relevant for children under the age of 22. A few of these factors include:
- Severity of symptoms. An individual with very severe symptoms is likely to rise to the top of the list for services and residential settings. By the same token, an individual with a high IQ and less severe symptoms may receive relatively few services and no funding at all for residential placement.
- Family situation. In some cases, a family’s economic and/or personal situation can loosen up a bit more money or services for an individual with autism. In particular, the threat of homelessness or a medical catastrophe can lead to more services.
- Personal income. Social security benefits depend, to a large degree, on the income of the individual with disabilities. In other words, if a child with autism has a full-time job with an income above a certain level, they will not qualify for social security benefits despite an autism diagnosis. This is one reason why many young adults with moderately severe challenges deliberately work only part-time for relatively low salaries.
Identify The Child’s Specific Needs And Abilities
The next step is to identify a child’s life skills to figure out what supports will be needed to make the living situation workable. Key among the skills young adults will need to live independently is the ability to manage finances, shop, cook, clean and manage personal hygiene. Bear in mind, though, that very few typical young adults are fully prepared for life on their own. Would you worry if a neurotypical 20-year-old were living on pizza and take-out food, or wearing the same jeans twice before washing them? If not, perhaps you shouldn’t worry too much about your 20-year-old with autism doing the same.
Ehlert explains this well:
“Parents or guardians may have higher expectations for autistic kids than for neurotypical kids because they feel responsible for the autistic child’s happiness. It’s hard to allow autistic children to fail. In some ways, it’s easier to manage failure for neurotypical kids because parents or guardians feel it’s part of the learning process – whereas they often want to protect their children with autism from failure. It’s very hard to know how far you go to protect your loved one with autism. Sometimes failures might set off behaviors, or it may be too difficult to recover from failure. Usually, parents or guardians of a teen understand what that child needs.”
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Preparing For Assisted Living For Adults With Autism
If your loved one has autism, youre well aware that each individual is incredibly unique not just in terms of their personality, interests, and skills, but also in regards to the level of support they require. An individual who has been diagnosed with level 1 autism will require less substantial support within their ADS living in comparison to someone diagnosed with level 3 autism.
That is why its important to make a list of the potential new skills that an adult with autism will need to live successfully on their own and what level of autism accommodations they require in relation to these skills.
- Managing their finances in order to pay for bills, utilities, rent, food, etc.
- Managing their schedule so that they are able to successfully attend work or school. This includes knowing when to go to bed. After all, sleep issues are the most common co-occurring conditions experienced by individuals with autism.
- Eating right, which requires them to create shopping lists and obtain groceries, purchase foods, and prepare meals.
- Maintaining proper hygiene.
- Tending to the household, completing the types of chores required to maintain a household.
In some cases, adults with autism adjust very well and are more than capable of living on their own. In other cases, new skills will need to be learned and practiced for group homes for high functioning autistic adults. While some individuals will always require some level of support.
Long Term Care For Adults With Severe Autism
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There has been a considerable amount of attention garnered lately that focuses on people with autism. We have heard about the broad spectrum of talents and abilities within the autism community as inclusion efforts are on the rise. Much of the attention has centered around childrens activities during the formative years such as behavioral therapy, educational reform, and socialization trends. Early intervention in identifying and treating autism related disorders is always a wise investment in the lives of children, and I personally support such initiatives. However, as the autistic population moves towards adulthood, we must shift our attention to the needs of caring for them long term. Within that framework, there is another layer of care that is seldom talked about caring for adult men and women with chronic autism in a long term care environment.
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Recreation Social And Interest
There are several social and interest-based groups designed specifically for adults with autism.
These groups are a great way to support strengths and interests, while also providing an opportunity to meet others, develop friendships and explore shared interests. Joining a group can also have a positive impact on mental health and self-esteem, and can get you more involved with your local community.
Interest groups include swimming, yoga, healthy cooking, train spotting, gem and mineral collecting, bushwalking, music, games, photography, art or social groups that take part in local events and activities.
To find out what groups are happening around you, you can look in the local newspaper, council website page, or a web search would be very useful.
Across Australia, autism service providers also often facilitate social groups for adults with autism. Activities can include workshops on particular topics, general socialising, going to the movies, having dinners or taking part in local events. Contact your local autism association for more information.
Devereax Behavioral Health In Pennsylvania
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country and serves clients in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
For individuals in need of 24-hour, out-of-home services, their residential treatment programs provide the resources needed to meet an individuals treatment, social and educational goals.
Contact Devereax through their website or by calling 1-800-345-1292.
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Supportive Living For Young Adults With Autism
Families struggle to find, or invent, good supported living options
When Susan Senators son Max was racing toward the high school finish line, he joined the rest of his classmates for the usual rites of passage. He took the ACT and applied to good schools, landing at New York Universitys prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
But things couldnt have been more different for Maxs brother, Nat. Senator, a blogger, memoir writer and novelist, had to take into account the fact that her profoundly autistic older son, while very competent when it comes to self-help skills like showering and dressing, is also limited verbally, cannot handle money and still doesnt look both ways when crossing the street.
In other words, she knew he needed a 24-hour caregiver to be safe. But because the infrastructure and services arent in place to create the type of living arrangement she wanted for Nat after he came of age, she joined the growing ranks of parents who are struggling to make short- and long-term provisions, often taking matters into their own hands.
Legacy By Gersh In New New Hampshire
Legacy by Gersh in Greenfield offers autism services for boys and girls kindergarten through 12th grade. The school provides vocational training and residential services. Each campus is fully equipped to serve individuals on the autism spectrum at every stage of life.
The have school for students ages 4-21 with autism and behavioral challenges. They offer a full residential therapeutic program, as well as a day school program and a new 5-day residential program.
To find more information about Legacy by Gersh call 603-547-1894 or visit their website.
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Adult Services Vary From Person To Person
Children’s autism services are customized, meaning that they provide a “free and appropriate education” based on the individual’s particular strengths and challenges. Adult services are also customizedbut in addition the type and level of support available from AIDD and DVR vary radically depending based on the state in which someone lives in and, in some cases, physical location within the state.
Early Predictors Of Later Outcome
According to Magiati et al. , childhood IQ and early language/communication ability resulted to be the most consistent predictors of later outcome, being positively correlated to better adaptive functioning, social skills, and communication. Steinhausen et al. found that the subtype of autism diagnostic category in childhood is a predictive factor for long-term outcome: in fact, a significantly higher proportion of cases with classic autism than cases with autism spectrum disorders had a poor to very poor long-term outcome . This last result seems to be at least partly predictable. But this point raises an important question: the DSM-5 eliminated the subdivision into the five diagnostic categories proposed by the DSM-IV-TR , unifying them in the ASD and proposing three severity levels for the affected cases . Could this subdivision into three severity levels be meaningful also in terms of long-term prognosis? An answer to this question still does not exist and adequate studies should be conducted in this regard. In addition, according to Steinhausen et al. , whilst the short-term effects of intervention programmes such as Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped CHildren and Applied Behavior Analysis have been well studied, their effects on the long-term outcome are still unknown. Nowadays this lack of information really represents a serious problem.
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