Shared Living for Adults with Autism

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions: a Population Positively Affected by Sustainable Practices

Michael Singer Studio, in collaboration with The Center for Discovery with generous support from the Jeffrey Cook Charitable Trust, has created a new model for shared housing for individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). This model employs design principles that embody a deep understanding of the complex behavioral, physical, and social needs of individuals with ASC, and an appreciation for the ways the physical environment can be shaped to contribute to and support their overall well-being. It is notable that many of the design principles conincide with sustainable design practices making the model more environmentally sustainable than traditional group home models.

The Center for Discovery initiated the study due to a large number of current residents that are aging out of their programs for children;  some of these young adults can live independently with supervision and other supports. The need for housing for adults with Autism is also a national issue so the model has broad application.

One distinctive aspect of this shared living model is that residents live together with a care providing family living in a separate, but connected apartment. This housing arrangement provides for a higher quality of living compared to institutional or traditional group home settings, and help to foster meaningful relationships between residents and the family. The shared living model is for 4 residents living in a ground floor unit as part of a duplex home with a 2nd floor apartment housing a couple, a young family, or two staff, who can provide individual and group care.

The project report A New Model for Shared Housing is available for viewing here.

Team Leader: Michael Singer
Michael Singer Studio team: Jonathan Fogelson and Jason Bregman
Collaborative Team Members: Dr. Teresa Hamlin, Associate Executive Director at The Center for Discovery (TCFD); Sherry Ahrentzen, PhD., Housing Studies Professor at the School of Building Construction at the University of Florida; Kim Steele, Founder of Environmental Design Research + Consulting; Dr. Matthew S. Goodwin, Assistant Professor at Northeastern University College of Health Sciences and the College of Computer & Information Science, Visiting Assistant Professor and the former Director of Clinical Research at the MIT Media Lab, and Research Director at TCFD; Peter Dollard, Chief of Assistive Technology and Universal Design at TCFD; Nicole Kinney, Chief of Clinical Services at TCFD; Russell Preston, founder of Principle Group planning, design, and development

Additional TCFD Participants: Patrick H. Dollard, President and CEO of TCFD; Dr. Johanna Lantz, Chief of Psychology at TCFD; Alyce Sherwood, Chief of Residential Programs at TCFD; Karen Brady, Director of Sponsored Programs and Grants at TCFD