The number of children diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder continues to increase every year. Currently, one in 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed each year, making this an increase of almost 800% within the past 25 years. We are living in a time where there are more adults living with this disorder than ever before. While the journey of independent living is challenging for any young adult, as a sibling of a brother with autism, I am often reminded that his journey is a bit more complex than mine.
So what living arrangements are realistic options for adults with autism? Since each person with this disorder falls on different parts of the spectrum, there is not a one size fits all solution. The type of options available often depends on the individual as well as available funds. Parents and caregivers must consider how that individual can manage everyday life at home.
- Are they able to manage their bills?
- Are they able to perform everyday tasks at home or cleaning routines?
- Do they understand what to do in case of a safety challenge?
After finding answers to some of those questions, it may be easier to decide which option from the list below is best.
- At home with family
- Apartment with services that come in and check on residents (making sure they are paying bills, cleaning, etc.)
- Housing unit program/roommate – individuals live in a house or apartment building that belongs to a structured support group with a caregiver that checks in nightly.
- Group home – A caregiver that lives on site in this community integrated living arrangement which allows clients to have their own room.
- Dorm-style – these are usually found in large institutional settings
Organizations like The Answer, Inc. and Resources for Community Living can connect you with individualized skill instruction and support services that are designed to increase independence for adults with disabilities. These types of support groups are necessary as they assist with offering adults with disabilities a chance to live, work and thrive in the community of their choice. Follow their links to find out more about the resources they offer or to discover how you can assist them with their mission.