Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is defined by the WHO as “a diverse group of conditions” marked by “some degree of difficulty with social interaction and communication,” as well as “atypical patterns of activities and behaviors.”
The CDC estimates that there are 5,437,988 adults living with ASD in the United States—a number that will grow as children with autism age into adulthood. Autism Speaks reports that “over the next decade, an estimated 707,000 to 1,116,000 teens (70,700 to 111,600 each year) will enter adulthood and age out of school-based autism services.”
After that point, some adults with ASD are able to manage independently, but many rely on crucial lifelong support from their caregivers. In fact, 80% of adults with autism live at home with their caregiver, who is often a family member. This provides them with a safe and loving environment, but it isn’t—and can’t be—a definitive solution.
Here’s a look at the issues surrounding housing for adults with autism, and a glimpse of how we can best move forward.
Housing for Autistic Adults
The Need for Long-Term Solutions
Housing is a complex issue for adults with ASD. While living at home with a caregiver can be one of the best ways to support autistic adults, the situation is not a permanent one. What happens when the caregiver is no longer able to provide that support?
The answer is that, in theory, there are many options for housing. But in practice, families are faced with multiple barriers and challenges that limit their options. These considerations include the following:
- Long waiting lists
- Lack of government support
- Concerns about quality of life
These issues highlight the urgent need for affordable and accessible housing that can balance community and independence.
Group Homes for Adults With Autism
Recently, caregivers have turned to—and even started up—group homes for their loved ones with autism. Housing efforts like these are popping up around the country, and are driven by individuals and organizations coming from a place of love. Because the needs of the residents are prioritized from the start, these homes and communities are incredible solutions to housing problems. Furthermore, they are built with affordability and accessibility in mind.
Here at HippoTherapy Helps, we’re launching our very first long-term assisted living facility for adults with autism! Called HippoTherapy House, it will be a 50-acre campus where autistic adults who can’t live alone will receive care, community engagement, activity, and love. Based in Virginia, the campus will also feature a state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor therapeutic riding arena so that residents can benefit from equine therapy!
We’re excited to bring HippoTherapy House to life, and to make it available regardless of a person’s ability to pay. Learn more about our assisted living campus, and donate today to help us launch this elegant solution to autistic adults’ housing crises!
You can learn more about what we do and how we support autism awareness, or join our hippotherapy community now to find your tribe. We’d love to have you! Sponsor a ride or make a donation to change someone’s life today!