Community Living Options

“What are the options for living in the community as an adult with autism”?

Many parents of children and young adults with autism are concerned about the future living arrangements for their child. Often people with autism will reside in the family home with parents longer than their peers. This places a significant burden of care on families and can be stressful.

It is highly recommended that parents of children/young people with autism make plans and provisions for the living arrangements of their family member with autism, well before the care is needed. Some forethought and planning is beneficial to ensure that well planned, supportive, living arrangements are available.

The living and support arrangements needed for a person with ASD will vary depending on their:

  • Self-care and independent living skills
  • Behaviour and support needs
  • Ability to function in the community
  • Employment status and income
  • Safety and other concerns.

For independent living to be successful a person needs:

  • A vision of where and how they would like to live
  • A strong support network for friends and family
  • Help with planning
  • Somewhere to live
  • Resources
  • Strong partnerships between the person, their family and support providers.

Many people with autism will gain employment and live independently in the community with few problems.  For individuals with high support needs more specialised care is needed.

Options for adult and community living

  • Residing with family- Many people with autism live with their parents into adulthood, and then may be cared for by siblings. Some parents leave a home to their child with autism in their will. It is important to seek good financial and legal planning support to ensure that this happens correctly.
  • Live in care- A person may reside in their own home or the family home with a live in carer that provides the required care in exchange for rent/bills etc.
  • Own home, with support – a person may reside in their own flat, unit or home but have daily, weekly assistance provided by carers – such as with shopping, household tasks etc. As described in the person’s NDIS plan, or as available through local and state authorities (depending on NDIS roll out Australia wide).
  • “Relocatable unit” option – The young person may be able live semi-independent of the family home in a “relocatable unit” in the back yard.
  • Group care arrangements with friends- the person with ASD may pool resources together with their friends or other people with ASD and live together.
  • Government support as described in the person’s NDIS plan, or as available through local and state authorities (depending on NDIS roll out Australia wide) may help cover the costs of paid carers that come and undertake tasks with the person with ASD.

Housing Co-ops

The person with ASD may be able to access affordable housing through a community housing Co-op.

Traditional Disability Care in a Community Residential Unit

  • Agencies or the State governments may provide the option of community living for a group of people with disabilities together, with fully staffed care and supervision. This would need to be part of the individuals NDIS plan, or other localised arrangements depending on the NDIS roll out Australia wide. People living in these houses or units contribute to costs.
  • 5-6 people with a disability may live together with staff support and attend work or other day activities.
  • Each person’s application is assessed on the basis of need and considered against the needs of others.

Further information