Autism Speaks Position Statement: Housing and Autism Spectrum Disorders
The desire to live in one’s own home and community is deeply rooted in the American spirit and tradition. Independence and self-determination are fundamental American values that unite us all as citizens. We share a civic duty to ensure that none of our fellow citizens be denied the right to choose where they live, with whom they live, and how they live. Adults living with autism, like all members of our society, deserve that opportunity to make these same choices. However, due to the overwhelming demand for housing among all people with developmental disabilities and the lack of appropriate support services, individuals and families are often faced with a decision to develop their own housing or wait an indefinite number of years before their adult child can move out of the family home.
Many individuals with autism face significant obstacles as they strive to gain this vital independence, and these challenges can serve to restrict the options they have from the start. For instance, some adults with autism have additional safety concerns, support needs, or other health issues that may narrow the possibilities of where they can live and be happy. Housing provides the primary framework for the support services that enable adults with autism to become independent members of their communities. A diverse range of housing and support options must be available in order to accommodate the broad autism spectrum. Autism Speaks believes that these options must not be further limited by government-imposed restrictions. Choice includes the type of housing or community setting in which an adult with autism will live. And limited government funding should not dictate where our fellow citizens live; where people choose to live should drive where the government directs our money.
We encourage individuals and families to review all options available to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities and make choices based on the specific needs of the individual. Autism Speaks looks forward to supporting the expansion of housing and residential support options for adults with autism.