Architecture that Aims to Inspire a "Life With Purpose" for the Autistic

An estimated 79 percent of young adults with autism spectrum disorders reside with their parents. But a new residence built to house 16 autistic adults in Sonoma, CA aims to provide a supportive alternative to living at home, and a nationwide model.

Seeking to accommodate those with autism as they grow out of school-based support systems and their parents' homes, "Kim Steele and Sherry Ahrentzen, collaborated on 'Advancing Full Spectrum Housing,' a comprehensive design guideline for housing adults with autism," writes Michael Totorello. 

"Perhaps the first development to closely follow their template is Sweetwater Spectrum, a residence for 16 adults whose abilities and disabilities span the full range of autism. The innovative $10.4 million project opened in January in the heart of California wine country, and its founding families and board hope to make Sweetwater a model for like-minded experiments across the country."

"The public image of living with autism is one of lethargy and social isolation, [Deirdre Sheerin, Sweetwater’s chief executive and executive director] said. Picture someone 'sitting on a Barcalounger with a video game, eating weird foods.' By contrast, everything about Sweetwater exists to inspire a 'life with purpose.'”

Full Story: The Architecture of Autism


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