“I enjoy having dinner with Jean and Bob next door. Sometimes I help them print pictures of their new granddaughter - sometimes we just do laundry.”
Mark is a young man on the autism spectrum and an intern at a nearby firm. The community’s central location and access to public transit mean he can get easily get to the grocery store, class at The Ohio State University and over to the office for mentorship.
“Our kids are so far away – going to work with Ariel at the coffee shop, we meet so many new friends. I feel like we have second daughter”
The Johnsons wanted to add a new chapter to their legacy after they retired. In this community, they find fulfillment in socially engaging with and mentoring adults with autism as well as with other aging adults in the area. They walk to restaurants and enjoy shopping at the town center.
“I can’t believe Brad and I found a home with caring neighbors who act as grandparents, aunts and uncles . One of the many benefits of moving to this unique Columbus neighborhood.”
The Smiths send their daughter to daycare in the neighborhood, and since Brad works nearby, he’s able to stop by the daycare during lunch. At the same time, their daughter gets exposure to children with autism, which promotes early acceptance and understanding. Sara, a transition specialist, loves seeing the impact she has with her neighbors on the spectrum.
Since its formation in 2015, Autism Living (AL)has been singularly focused on those with an autism-spectrum diagnosis who arrive at “the cliff” of social services upon reaching adulthood. After several years of studying working community models, AL found the solution for those adults with autism and other disabilities making the transition to lives of greater independence.
Autism Living is poised to launch its first community based on the Intentional Neighboring model and is actively seeking an ideal Columbus location.
Communities based on the model serve multiple generations by leveraging the social capital of supportive neighbors. The end result is that everyone, regardless of vulnerabilities, can thrive when neighbors work together, strategically, with staff support, and invest in each other’s lives.