Graduation Date

5-2013

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

Young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) may benefit from lifelong residential, independent living. Often residential housing for persons with ASDs, other than those isolated in the family home, is institutional in nature. The purpose of this research is to identify aspects of a specially designed supported living residence, based on a new co-housing model, referred to in this study as SWSP.

Current research suggests that residents who meet the eligibility criteria will positively benefit from this intentional living environment by virtue of its design. There is one major component to this research. Move-in data was collected from the prior, primary caregiver and the ensuing primary caregiver once the study participant has moved-in to the co-housing residence.

Intake data was gathered from a simultaneous representative survey of parents and initial caregiving staff for the in-residence young adults with ASD. Resident participation in the project referred to, in this paper, as SWSP and participation in any of the independent housing activities formed the study group.

Resulting research data indicates that individuals with an autism diagnosis have diverse needs and exhibit wide-ranging capabilities. The literature and research articulates that highly trained staff and autism specific design features may be most efficacious in addressing the everincreasing adult ASD population.

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