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Searching for Housing Options

At a Glance

In this post, we'll cover some common questions and resources to help guide you in your housing search.

Searching for housing options that are a fit for you / the autistic individual's needs can be a daunting process - let's walk through it together!

These are some common questions around independent living and group living in determining what type of housing option is a better fit for you.

When searching for housing options, one of the most important things you can do is to have a clear understanding of your personal criteria from the beginning. 

Our AGU questionnaire in the Finding the Right Housing Toolkit is designed to get the ball rolling on that thought process, but if you are ready to start looking for actual housing units and facilities you can start here at the Autism Housing Network.

Both the large AHN guide and the Residential Options Guide from the Autism Society of North Carolina dig a little bit into the different types of living arrangements. If we had to summarize them quickly they cover the spectrum of living options available between complete independence and a fully supervised environment. 

The Residential Options Guide also includes some factors to consider when making a decision on which living arrangements fit best. 

The following questions are meant to highlight the decision of what support level is the best fit and whether the option you are exploring is able to meet your necessary criteria. For a more detailed list of criteria for independent and group living, we strongly encourage checking out the Residential Options pdf, which is short enough to be worth reading through!

Questions to Prepare for Independent Living

Do I need any assistance related to personal care?

  • Are there any steps in my routine that I need help remembering?

  • Are there any steps I am unable to complete on my own?

Am I able to reach a level of hygiene and health that I am happy with?

  • Am I able to maintain a complete hygiene routine?

  • Are there any components of my personal hygiene that require outside assistance?

Am I able to handle my own planning and scheduling?

  • Am I able to follow my own routines?

  • Am I able to adjust my schedule and still meet my obligations when something unexpected happens?

  • Am I able to meet deadlines?

Am I comfortable with the way my social skills match up with this environment?

  • Do I feel like I’ll be able to be myself?

  • Will I have the opportunity to use my social skills in a way I like?

Am I comfortable carrying out my own household chores?

  • If so, am I able to stick to a schedule of completion?

  • If not, is there a way to get help with chores that does not compromise independence?

Do I feel comfortable managing my own money?

  • Do I currently manage my own money?

  • Do I want to manage my own money eventually?

  • Am I comfortable with making sure I remember to pay bills each month?

Questions to Prepare for Group Living

What facilities are currently out there?

  • Depending on where you live the answer to this question can change quite rapidly over time. 

Can I see the facilities in person?

  • What can I learn about ahead of my visit?

    • Are there any red flags I need to ask about?

    • Do I still feel comfortable with a facility after my initial research?

Will I be able to talk with staff who interact with residents regularly?

  • Does the staff talk about residents in a positive way?

  • Are staff members willing to share some of their personal success stories with residents?

  • Does the staff’s training align with my personal needs

What effort does this facility make to promote independence?

  • Does this facility’s level of independence match with my level of preferred independence?

When independence is not possible, what does this program do to promote autonomy among its residents?

  • Do staff members listen to resident preferences and complaints?

  • Are staff regularly available to meet resident needs?

  • Do residents have the flexibility to make different choices from time to time?

  • Do the rules feel fair and appropriate for protecting residential independence and autonomy?

What stood out to you during your visit?

  • Did you notice any evidence of autism-specific supports?

  • Did the facility offer some degree of schedule structure?

  • How much does the on the ground staff communicate with management?

  • Does it pass the gut check?

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