Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2017

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)


Interdisciplinary Program


Stephen Gilson

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth DePoy

Third Committee Member

Sandra Butler


In 2012, rate of diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children reached a rate of 1 in 68 children. Within the next ten years, 500,000 children will reach adulthood and will need assistance to establish independence through housing. A lack of housing options threatens to isolate adults diagnosed with ASD inside parents’ and relatives’ homes. Adults diagnosed with ASD desire full integration into the community at-large, participation in the competitive job market and a social life.

A wide disparity in housing options currently exists, with fewer choices available as income declines. Persons who rely on Medicaid Home and Community Based Services are forced to live in state licensed housing, while individuals who are able to afford private housing and support services have greater options.

This paper reviews literature on regulations governing residential care facilities and a variety of communities that are self-sustaining and in demand. It presents a business plan format and organizational steps for planners considering new housing before land is purchased and construction commences. Several statements taken from the non-profit application for Jonno’s Place, Camphill style community planned in Belfast, Maine, are discussed. Finally, the paper reviews literature indicating a growing trend among adults diagnosed with autism to assume greater autonomy and independence towards managing their housing as a base for work, play and participation in the community at-large.