Finding a “forever home” for my adult son with autism

Located on 1,500 acres in New York’s Hudson Valley, the center provides medical, clinical and special education services. It also offers the greatest gift a parent of an adult child with special needs could ask for: peace of mind.

Educational services for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities ends when the young person is 21 years old and “gets older”. Rather than being a time of celebration, a 21st birthday is when parents of children with special needs generally describe it as “falling off the cliff.” There are few options for where adults with special needs may live and the types of activities that can keep them engaged and busy day in and day out.

My family is fortunate to have found a place where Nate, now 27, can live and thrive.

He shares a spacious three-story house with five young men his age. Each has its own bedroom and bathroom. They share a kitchen, a common room and a fitness room. Nate spends a lot of time in the kitchen helping with meal preparation, a favorite activity. He does his laundry, cleans his room and helps with household chores.

Because the house is on a farm, Nate – who grew up in Manhattan – spends about six hours a day doing farm work. He feeds donkeys, rabbits and goats. He baled hay. He plants, waters and harvests vegetables and herbs. He helps to build nesting boxes. He picks up maple syrup and picks apples. He delivers newsletters to other houses and eggs to houses in the next town. Its recreational and therapeutic activities include horseback riding, swimming, hiking, canoeing, running, yoga, karaoke and ballroom dancing. He also takes courses at the community college.

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