According to the US GAO, 500,000 Youth With Autism Will Enter Adulthood by 2025, and concluded that current service systems in the United States are not adequate to address the needs of this emerging population. With 87% living in the family home and 35% requiring 24-hour support, what will happen when their parents are no longer there? Autism changes everything.
Because of social and communication impairments, many Autistic adults find it difficult to succeed in an in-person job interview. Without a job, they cannot afford housing, and without access to affordable housing and supportive services (or if they outlive their parents), they are at high risk of homelessness.
While some Autistic adults are placed in a group home or adult foster care, available accommodations are scarce, and their placement may be many miles away from their hometown.
Current estimates suggest that over 5.4 million Autistic adults live in the United States, and approximately 87% of them live in their aging parents’ homes. According to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), 500,000 Autistic youth will enter adulthood by 2025, and it has become increasingly clear that current service systems in the United States are not prepared to help these unique individuals thrive.
Despite the investment of billions of dollars in research, early diagnosis, interventions, and education, autistic adults' graduate high school "onto the couch". Most are unemployed, socially isolated, and largely supported by their aging parent caregivers. Without access to alternative and sustainable housing options, autistic adults are at risk of homelessness and likely to be "placed in the next empty bed" of a group home or adult foster care far away from their hometown.
The step toward independence from a parent’s home is critical in any person’s psychological and social development, and we hope to de-stigmatize Autism by providing opportunities for Autistic adults to connect with a wider neurodiverse community and discover ways to become more independent and integrated in society.
NDL projects will be designed as neuro-inclusive cohousing communities, utilizing an intentional model where appropriate. The autism-specific design of our housing community will be research-based and will make safety and security a priority, including 24/7 supervision, and a state-of-the-art smart-home technology platform to enhance safety and further resident independence. NDL’s housing options are designed with the exceptional flexibility to adapt to specific economic and neurological needs, and we envision that our neuro-diverse communities will flourish on the foundation of practical and sustainable housing options, healthcare services, adaptive employment, supportive systems, and social integration opportunities.
Our focus will center around communities in southeastern Pennsylvania, initially in Bucks and Lehigh County.