As an individual with a disability, can where you live have a substantial effect on the types of services you receive? Common sense would say no, but a new report suggests otherwise. According to a new study, Understanding Service Usage and Needs for Adults with ASD: The Importance of Living Situation, individuals with disabilities living in the family home (or with family) receive fewer services, have higher unmet needs, and face more obstacles to accessing services.

Published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the study examined 274 individuals with autism that had been diagnosed as children between 1969 and 2000. Report authors interviewed family members and caregivers of all individuals to discern service use, including types of services, frequency of use, gaps in service access, and unmet needs. Interviewees were asked to provide information from the previous two years to identify gaps and obstacles they faced when trying to access help.

More than half of the individuals with autism studied lived with familial caregivers; ten percent lived independently, and the remainder lived in an institutional or group home setting. After controlling for other influential factors, researchers found that individuals with disabilities that live with family reported “less service use, higher unmet needs, and more obstacles to accessing services.” The lack of services related to daytime activities and/or employment was one of the most frequently cited by caregivers, with race and age also factoring in considerably in regards to an inability to access or receive services.

As more than half of the individuals studied living with family, researchers found the outcomes of the study to be particularly concerning. As stated in the report, “results have clear public policy implications to support the increasing population of adults with ASD living with ageing caregivers.” To access this report, please click here.

Worried about your adult family member with disability? ILO Can Help

Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) is a non-profit organization working with self-advocates (adults with intellectual disabilities and other challenges) and their families to create and maintain the supports necessary to live independently in the community.

At ILO, our primary goal is community integration and supportive independent living– by creating inclusive communities, we can facilitate personal and professional networks of support for our self advocates. ILO develops teams of paid and unpaid professionals for our self advocates as they move out of their family houses into their own homes. Families that join ILO and begin their independent living journey will be provided with the tools, resources, training and support needed to help their family member with disability transition into her or her own home. We help our self advocates build the support networks and develop the relationships and connections that they need to live full lives, integrated into the community and supported according to their needs. If you would like to learn more about ILO and how to become a participating family, please follow this link.

If you are not ready for independent living but would like to part of ILO and begin the process of creating your own support networks, check out ILO Community Group. As a member of the ILO Community Group, your self-advocate can get a jump start on working on independent living skills with ILO’s Skills Inventory assessment. Also, we have presentations for the adults and social Sundays for the self-advocates. In addition to becoming a part of the ILO network, through these connections members develop friendships and become part of the wider community – with no commitment to participate in ILO training, or begin preparation for the transition into independent living.

Thanks for taking the time to visit our website and read our blog today. If you have any questions about ILO, or would like to support our work, please contact us. We would love to meet you and introduce you to the ILO network.



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