Autism Housing Pathways (AHP) is pleased to have received a grant of $2,000 from the Winchester Rotary Charitable Fund. The grant will be used to develop a program tentatively called “SkillsGuides”. The purpose of the program is to use a merit system to teach daily living skills to children, youth, and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Research has shown that the single greatest determinant of both employment and happiness in mid-life for people with autism is daily living skills. Yet, explains Autism Housing Pathways President Catherine Boyle, “In our experience in person-centered planning for people with autism, this is the most common deficit we have seen”.
Participants in SkillsGuides will be able to earn recognition at three levels: basic, advanced, and pro. At each level, a range of skills will be addressed. For instance, a cooking recognition at the basic level might include a requirement to heat a frozen waffle in the microwave using picture directions. At the pro level, the same recognition might involve cooking five different hot breakfasts, at least one of which must involve the stove. The level at which an individual works will not be a function of age, but of capability. SkillsGuides materials could be used by individuals with and without disabilities, creating opportunities for inclusive learning.
Materials will be made available for purchase to any organization which chooses to participate. Examples might be special needs classrooms, camps, and after school programs. Autism Housing Pathways will also offer badges, stickers, or certificates to those earning them.
The target group for this project is primarily children and youth with developmental disabilities, although adults (in group homes, for instance) will also be able to participate.
To learn more, contact Autism Housing Pathways at AHPhousing@comcast.net or 617-893-8217.