Courtesy of The Arc
By Brad Walker, V.P., Community Living Supports
A recent, national report by The Arc confirmed that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those with autism, prefer to live in community-based settings. Community living, according to the report, is not only more cost effective, it also leads to positive outcomes in health, safety, community participation, strengthened relationships, family contact, and empowerment.
“In their current homes, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities faced limited opportunities, a lack of true community inclusion, and a plethora of provider house rules,” said the report. “A lack of choices, a lack of community integration, restrictive provider rules, and poor relationships with roommates or housemates all decreased people’s satisfaction with where they lived.”
We couldn’t agree more. The Arc report affirms our belief that community living leads to better outcomes. “Factors that increased people’s satisfaction with their homes,” it continued, “included safety, independence, community inclusion, meaningful activities, and the quality of services and supports people received.”
NEXT for NEIGHBORS, our community living program in development, takes these recommendations even further. When launched, the program will support community living in small homes, where only one or two clients will receive highly individualized support that empowers them throughout all of their personal and community activities. Our model is designed as a departure from group homes which may be located in communities, but do not necessarily lead to positive outcomes.
NEXT for NEIGHBORS is a program of The Arc Westchester created by Community Living Options and NEXT for AUTISM.