Whether an adult with ASD continues to live at home or moves 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 a supported living arrangement and move toward greater independence.
A supervised group home usually serves several people with disabilities. These homes are typically located in average family houses in residential neighborhoods. Trained professionals assist each resident based on individual needs. The residents usually have jobs away from home during the day.
A supervised apartment might be suitable for those who prefer to live with fewer people, but still require some supervision and assistance. There is usually no daily supervision in this setting, 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 is a good step in transitioning to independent life.
Independent living means just that – individuals live in their own apartments or houses and require little, if any, support services from outside agencies. Services might be present, but limited to helping with complex problem-solving issues rather than day-to-day living skills. For instance, some people might 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. Coworkers, friends, local business employees or other community members could be integrated into a support system, whether informally through social interaction or as part of a more organized effort.
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 is also important. People 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 be of continued use, as they can provide consistency and a framework for expansion.