Connection Q&A: Adult Supported Independent Living on the Autism Spectrum
QUESTION: A Jason’s Connection community member recently asked us a question about her adult son who has chosen to move to a city to live independently and develop his own life. He is not near family supports and struggles with depression from being isolated. Our response, we believe helped the family and maybe it can help others by publishing it.
RESPONSE: Our founder, Jason Harris, would say we all need support at one time or another in our lives. Although he has achieved a Masters degree, lives independently, and works at Syracuse University at a disability rights center, he still NEEDS and ADVOCATES for his own personal supports. He has struggled with all the issues you raised, including being depressed from being isolated and feared that he was falling through the cracks and being All Alone. He advocated for finding community and in-home supports. His family is also far away, so he has found this to be a good system of supports and has added to his own confidence.
Look for supports that can accent your potential and focus on what you want.
Jason found Advocates Incorporated (http://advocatesincorporated.org/) a non-profit in the Syracuse, New York community, that helps set up supports which empower individuals with a range of developmental disabilities. It provides a community manager which sets up needed community and individual supports to fit the individual as deemed by the person themselves. In Jason’s case, he has a support person for maintaining his apartment including cleaning and cooking, an organization support person, and a peer support person to get out and do social events. This is a person-centered and self-determined model, so the person himself directs what is needed - not the organization! They support a range of abilities and accommodate what is needed.
The Advocates Incorporated organizational model is for supporting the individual needing support to be a central part of a team of supportive individuals that empower individuals to gain increased independence, learn new skills, increase problem solving skills, become involved in their communities, have increased self-esteem, and realize their goals.
A supportive network that is Person-Centered and Driven is key.
Jason is not a recipient of services, he is central in the process at his own direction. Jason would say this kind of SUPPORTIVE NETWORK that is Person-Centered and Driven is key, so don't be afraid to look for supports that can accent your potential and focus on what the individual wants! It is the future model among many of those on the Spectrum and many, many others. Jason Harris and the Burton Blatt institute (where he works at Syracuse University) are working towards a supportive-decision-making model so individuals like your son and Jason can have the best independent lives they chose to lead!
If this information helps any of our readers find an organization to help meet their independent living goals in your area or to set up a supported individual independent living arrangement, we would appreciate hearing about it and any resources you used to set up a supported independent living arrangement to share with other members of the Jason’s Connection community. FB message or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.