For one of the residents at the home, Clarence Novak, this means everything. He can now have late nights watching Blackhawks games during hockey season, and he gets to live more independently, something that he didn’t really have the chance to do while he was still living in his parents’ home.
Clarence is a 20-year-old with autism who could sometimes act like his age without a problem, but then start acting like a 12-year-old without warning. Living in the newly opened Fox Trail home allows him to socialize with other young men his age, and he also gets to go to different activities he would never have had the chance to go to if he was still living with parents.
The Lutheran Social Services of Illinois was able to open the Fox Trail home through a community effort, and the home itself is being leased from St. Mark’s Lutheran church, which is also its next door neighbor. The organization’s director of communications and advancement, Barb Hailey, said that statistics show around 32,000 individuals with autism were still living with family members and carers aged 60 years and above in 2013; while around 9,000 individuals with developmental disabilities were on waitlists trying to get training and work— activities that are similar to the ones that Fox Trail home provides Clarence. According to Hailey:
“There is a need for individuals who are at the higher end of the autism spectrum.”
“There’s little, if any, help to assist them in becoming independent.”
The home’s program director, Jackie Flemming, said that they are currently working to find another resident that they can train at the Fox Trail home.
Source: Chicago Tribune: Home for adults with autism opens in Aurora