Why It Matters:

It’s important to think about housing as your child approaches adulthood. Options could include your family home, with roommates in an apartment, in a group home, or somewhere else. Some options require meeting certain eligibility criteria and getting on waiting lists early. The earlier you can start the process, the better.

Actions to Take:

1. Have a conversation with your child about future housing options. You may want to jot down your child’s thoughts, so they’ll be handy for the next steps. Some good questions to kick off the conversation are:

  • Do you want to live by yourself someday? What would you enjoy about living alone? What would you not like?
  • What types of support would you need to live alone or independently? (Meal planning, cooking, grocery shopping, getting appropriate sleep and exercise, transportation, etc.)
  • Would you like living with a roommate? What kind of roommate do you think would be a good fit for you? (List characteristics, for example: “quiet, likes video games, disabled or not disabled, around the same age.”)
  • How would you feel about living in a group or community setting where there are shared activities and meals? What would help you feel comfortable in that living situation? (Example: “Having my own bathroom and a TV in my room.”)
  • Would you like living with a family (either yours or another) and to be treated like a member of that family? Or to just have your own room or extension of the house and live with a family, but more independently?
  • Where would you feel safest? Happiest? What type of place would you never want to live?

2. Explore housing options. If you’re not sure where to start, this article lists 6 types of housing to be on the lookout for. You can also click the “Find Adult Housing” button below. Your child’s school and other parents are great resources to find out about potential options. Local groups, like your area’s Arc chapter, autism society, or special needs groups on social media, are good places to find resources as well. For additional help, consider working with a social worker and/or case manager.

More Information:

  • It’s important that you and your child come into agreement about their housing arrangements. Many parents feel that their child will never be able to live more independently, while their children crave greater independence. This disagreement in desires and expectations can cause a lot of frustration. As a child’s needs increase with adulthood, parents may find themselves desperate and overwhelmed. Begin preparing your child for independent living before you burn out. One way to do this is by incorporating other people your child can rely on in their life now. This way if you are no longer able to care for them, or as they grow independent, they have a support system to rely on outside of you. Isolation is common among special needs families, and it hurts every member of your family – so open your world up to a community!