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“An Independent Me” Opens Doors and Opportunities for Austin TX Adults with Autism in Summer 2012

IStock_000012657227XSmall1“An Independent Me” Opens Doors and Opportunities for Austin Adults with Autism in Summer 2012

Transformative living facility becomes a home for adults with developmental disabilities.

An Independent Me (AIM), a living experience for people ages 16 and older with developmental disabilities, will open its doors as a summer camp in Cedar Park on June 11, 2012. AIM provides a safe and supportive environment for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Using scientifically validated techniques and curriculum, the camp will teach life skills, support educational opportunities, provide on-the-job-training and coaching, create meaningful jobs, and prepare campers for a step up to the next level of independence. Come fall, the camp will convert to a group home. Campers will have the option of staying on as residents.

This extraordinary setting in Cedar Park, Texas includes an ranch house on 4.5 acres of pastureland plus a horse barn – a fenced rural retreat in the middle of this booming Austin-area subdivision offering opportunities from high-touch to high-tech. Campers can interact with horses, sheep and chickens and cultivate gardens; take art and video classes on site; and participate in camper-guided tours of YouTube, Facebook, and the Web. Participants can also elect to take classes at the nearby Austin Community College (ACC) campus. AIM will work with Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) as well as neighborhood restaurants and other businesses to provide job opportunities for campers. Transportation to and from school and work will be provided by the camp.

Angela Day, AIM Board President, says “This is an extraordinary community. Vocational, educational, and life skills training is designed specifically for the needs of those on the entire ASD spectrum, from non-verbal autism to high-functioning Aspergers. We are excited about our exceptional staff, who will make sure each resident and family member who walks through our doors feels safe and secure, and sees a bright future.”

AIM staff have extensive experience in job coaching. The community will maintain a 3:1 ratio (one coach for every three residents) to provide optimal attention to each individual. AIM has the resources and space for up to five adults to live on the premises full-time and 20 day-time members. There is no maximum time set for full-time residents to live at AIM, and space is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

AIM’s opening in June 2012 as a summer camp that will feature different jobs for campers. Residents will participate in vocational assessments to determine their interests, aspirations, and talents, then work with DARS or Arcil (a developmental disability job placement) to find a job that fits their skills and desires. Campers may visit for one week or stay through the summer until mid-August. Campers may register for Summer 2012 at EventBrite

Come fall, AIM will push the boundaries of traditional group homes by collaborating with a behavioral psychologist to develop a behavior management plan for each resident. AIM takes a strong stand against constraint as a remedy for behavioral challenges.

An Independent Me is supported financially by private donors and intends to apply for grants and to attract sponsorship funds. AIM is currently seeking donors for the ‘Sponsor a Camper’ program. To learn more about some of this year’s registered campers, visit the Sponsor a Camper page on the AIM website. Camp registration costs $400/week for day campers and $800/week for overnight campers. Any donation amount will be graciously accepted at EventBrite



This sounds like a wonderful program but one sentence just flat out made me sad.
"a behavioral psychologist to develop a behavior management plan for each resident."
They already know everyone is going to need a behavior plan? What about parent's/guardians who don't like behavior mod but would rather have supports provided so that the person can be successful?
What if behaviors are related to an incompatibility with a particular staff person?
My experience has been that when people are modifying others behaviors their is an inherent sense of 'I am in control of you' which I think is particularly disrespectful to adults.
I've had experts try to modify my son's behaviors but the only thing that truly helped him were people who had caring respectful relationships with him and who provided him with the support he needed to be his best.
Two experts in the field say it all:
"Difficult behaviors are messages which can tell us important things about a person and the quality of his or her life" David Pitonyak
‘Most of what passes as assessment seems to be denial about the mutuality of our common condition’
Herb Lovett

Leslie Chandler

I enjoyed the YouTube video of Mason. Does he have his own channel?

Darlene Dorries Scrivner

WOW! This is so very much needed!

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