Madison House Autism Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to transform communities across the country in order to ensure that adults with autism find inclusive, diverse opportunities to participate and contribute.
Every year, 50,000 children with autism transition into adulthood, joining the estimated 5 million others who often face isolation and estrangement from community life when federal supports and services cease after high school. A majority of those live at home with aging parents, where the skills they learned in their supportive school environment often slip away.
Unless we act now and work to integrate these adults into our communities, we will be unprepared when aging parents can no longer care for their adult children. This is an avoidable crisis.
That is why we are mobilizing people to join a national movement:
Autism After 21
With less than 3% of autism research funding allocated to quality of life outcomes, we need broad grassroots support affirming that adults with autism are valuable members of our community who are deserving of the care and support they need to reach their potential.
In the years since Madison House worked with local and state representatives to declare the 21st of April "Autism After 21 Day," this day has been recognized by both the US Senate and Congress, and is becoming a day of mobilization for this movement in communities across the country.
Autism After 21 Day brings together community members, elected officials, business executives, university leaders, experts, and nonprofit organizations to unite and advocate for stronger, more inclusive communities.
Our National Housing Project
Our country faces a severe lack of supportive housing options conducive for adults with autism to achieve their highest level of independence. Not only does this result in a lower quality of life, it also means greater dependence on state support, amounting to a cost of more than $300 billion annually. We need to expand fiscally responsible supportive housing options across this country NOW.
We understand that no single organization can solve the housing crisis alone, and that one model is far from sufficient. Every individual with autism is unique, as are their preferences, abilities, ambitions and support needs. One size does not fit all. That is why our efforts are focused on jump-starting diverse housing projects across the country, removing barriers, and gathering experts from both private and public sectors to turn this challenge into an opportunity to create healthier, more inclusive communities.
The Autism Housing Network is the only national platform connecting emerging project starters with experts, best practices, and existing models. In 2019, we responded to over 500 requests for one-on-one housing guidance.
The Coalition for Community Choice is a growing alliance of dedicated organizations and individuals to advocate for an array of housing choices for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2019, advocacy efforts by the CCC proved victorious with the release of new nationwide Medicaid guidance that removed funding barriers for intentional housing projects.
In 2019, our Empowering Communities Initiative took us to communities in 11 states (and even India!) where we delivered 24 housing presentations to project starters needing guidance to help them save them time, money, and frustration.
Madison Fields, a Local Project
Local contributions will support Madison Fields, located near our offices in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Madison Fields is committed to strengthening our community by creating space where some of our most vulnerable neighbors can access opportunities for healing, participation, learning and growth. The first phase of the project is well underway, with a range of programming including equine-assisted activities and therapies, job preparedness training, and agricultural education. These programs help integrate adults with disabilities into the general population where they can be seen, valued, and included.
In 2019, we launched our first farm-based micro-business where adults with autism and other developmental or intellectual disabilities learn soft and hard skills as they participate in the making of goat milk soap.
Building a sustainable model will lay the foundation for a later phase of the project, which includes the development of neuro-inclusive housing at Madison Fields.