"An Independent Me" Opens Doors and Opportunities for Austin Adults with Autism in Summer 2012

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

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AIM is pushing the boundaries of traditional group homes for those with developmental disabilities by collaborating with a behavioral psychologist to develop a behavior management plan for each resident.

An Independent Me (AIM), a living experience for people ages 18 and older with developmental disabilities, will open its doors in Round Rock on June 11, 2012. AIM provides a safe and thriving environment for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and uses scientifically validated techniques and curriculum to create meaningful jobs, support educational opportunities, provide on-the-job training and coaching, and teach life skills to prepare them for the highest-level of independence possible.

AIM serves as a positive place where residents can interact with animals and livestock on-site, as well as take part in other artistic and hands-on activities. They can also elect to take classes at the nearby Austin Community College (ACC) campus and the staff is currently working with neighborhood restaurants and other businesses to provide job opportunities for them; transportation to and from school and work is provided by the home.

AIM is pushing the boundaries of traditional group homes for those with developmental disabilities by collaborating with a behavioral psychologist to develop a behavior management plan for each resident. According to Angela Day, AIM Board President, “This is an extraordinary group home with an emphasis on vocational, educational and life skills training designed specifically for the needs of those with Aspergers/autism. We are excited about our exceptional staff that ensures each resident and family member who walks through our doors feels safe, secure, and sees a bright future.”

AIM also takes a strong stand against constraint as a method for managing behavioral challenges. AIM staff has extensive experience in job coaching and a 3:1 ratio will be maintained (one coach for every three residents) to provide optimal attention to each individual. AIM has the resources and space for up to six adults to live on the premises full-time and 20 daytime members. There is no maximum time set for full-time residents to live at An Independent Me, and space is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Upon opening in June 2012, AIM will kick off with a summer camp that will feature different jobs each week for campers. Full-time residents will participate in vocational assessments to determine their interests, aspirations, and talents, then work with Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) or A Resource Center for Independent Living (ARCIL, Inc.), a developmental disability job placement company, to find jobs that fit 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 http://www.anindependentmecamp.eventbrite.com.

An Independent Me is supported financially by private donors and intends to apply for grants and attract sponsorship funds. AIM is currently seeking donors for their ‘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 full-time resident campers. Any donation amount will be graciously accepted at http://www.anindependentmecamp.eventbrite.com. Learn more at http://www.livingwithmeaning.org.

Connect with AIM on Facebook at Facebook.com/AnIndependentMe.

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Rebecca Otis
LocalizeAustin
512-981-5625
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