Whether an adult with ASD continues to live at home or moves out into the community is determined in large part by his/her ability to manage everyday tasks with little or no supervision. Can he/she handle housework, cooking, shopping, and paying bills? Is he/she able to use public transportation? Many families prefer to start with some supportive living arrangement and move toward increased independence.
A supervised group home usually serves several individuals with disabilities. Homes are typically located in an average family home in a residential neighborhood. They are staffed by trained professionals who assist each resident based on the person’s level of need. Usually, the residents have jobs that take them away from home during the day.
A supervised apartment may be suitable for individuals who prefer to live with fewer people, but still require some supervision and assistance. There is usually no daily supervision, but someone comes by several times a week. The residents are responsible for getting to work, preparing meals, and meeting personal care and housekeeping needs. A supervised apartment setting is a good transition to independent living.
Independent living means just that – individuals live in their own apartments or houses and require little, if any, support services from outside agencies. Services may be limited to helping with complex problem-solving issues rather than day-to-day living skills. For instance, some individuals may need assistance managing money or handling government bureaucracy. It is also important for those living independently to have a “buddy” who lives nearby and can be contacted for support. Support systems within the community might include bus drivers, waitresses, or coworkers.
Many people think of adulthood in terms of getting a job and living in a particular area, but having friends and a sense of belonging in a community are also important. Individuals with ASD may need assistance in encouraging friendships and structuring time for special interests. Many of the support systems developed in the early years may continue to be useful.