Developing New Housing Options for Adults with Autism

Posted by Pam Blanton on May 14, 2010

From Pennsylvanians with autism could have broader opportunities to participate in and contribute to their communities if more effort is made to create affordable housing tailored to their needs, a new state report finds.

The report on housing options for adults with autism spectrum disorder, issued today by the Department of Public Welfare’s Bureau of Autism Services, offers a first-ever comprehensive look at the housing challenges facing Pennsylvanians with autism.

“The dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism in recent years will, of course, translate into larger numbers of adults with autism in the future,” Public Welfare Secretary Harriet Dichter said. “It is important that we lay the groundwork now to provide affordable and appropriate housing choices for those adults living with autism.”

A landmark autism census released last year by DPW found there are more than 3,800 adults with autism living in Pennsylvania and that figure is expected to exceed 10,000 by 2014.

The report notes adults with autism often have unique characteristics that impact their housing needs, including:

* Difficulty with social interaction that can create anxiety or frustration;

* Speech limitations that can make it difficult to express themselves and difficult for others to understand their ideas and feelings;

* Sensory sensitivity that can lead to an aversion to noise or light;

* A lack of public understanding of their behavior that can lead to conflict.

Just as there are a wide range of intellectual abilities across the autism spectrum, there also must be a variety of housing options to meet those needs, the report concludes.  READ MORE

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