Autism Speaks House to Home Prize

Case illustrations of the three categories for which Autism Speaks is seeking solutions:

  • 24/7 support
    Frank is a 27-year-old man who is profoundly impacted by his autism. He is unable to express himself verbally, so he uses an iPad to communicate his wants and needs. Frank has a volunteer position at a local church folding programs for services twice each week, with support from staff from the local social service agency. He likes to walk around the track at the local high school before dinner while listening to music. He also collects comic books and enjoys watching YouTube videos – especially Disney movies. He has recently shown an interest in yoga and has been learning yoga poses from online videos. Frank has also begun to show an interest in painting with the help of a local volunteer mentor.

    Frank needs help with self-help skills such as personal hygiene, grooming, dressing, administering daily medications, meal preparation, and leisure activities. Personal safety is of paramount concern as Frank has a history of eating non-edible objects and wandering from home and his caregivers. Frank also exhibits occasional self-injurious behaviors that have interfered with his ability to be independent. He also suffers from several comorbid medical conditions including epilepsy, a sleep disorder and gastrointestinal distress. Frank does well with visual schedules and thrives with a set routine of familiar activities.


  • Daily support
    Stacey is a 32-year-old woman who is moderately impacted by her autism. She has a part-time job at the local bakery and she volunteers at the animal shelter in her neighborhood. Stacey goes to gym classes at her local YMCA and belongs to a theater group for adults with special needs. Stacey can wake and dress on her own and can walk into her local town independently. Stacey is able to be on her own in her home for several hours at a time and would not wander. She does understand how to remain safe at home and in the community, but not for extended periods of time.

    Stacey needs some help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. Stacey needs supervision to make sure that she takes her medication. She also consistently needs reminders in order to arrive at work, events and activities on time. She can perform household chores, but has not mastered the organizational skills necessary to pay bills or manage financial accounts. Stacey is interested in doing things with peers, but she needs help making plans and cannot independently get to places on her own if it is not within walking distance or if public transportation does not take her directly there.


  • Weekly support
    Bill is a 40-year-old man who is mildly impacted by autism. He has a full-time job at an insurance company where he files and delivers mail. Bill is also an artist and has sold his work at local craft fairs with the help of his sister. Bill can prepare simple meals on his own, and can prepare a grocery list and shop on his own as well. Bill is an avid football fan and attends games at the high school in his community. He follows rules well and has a good sense of personal safety.

    Bill often has difficulty understanding whether someone may be taking advantage of his good nature. He regularly needs help to maintain his apartment in an orderly fashion, and he has a tendency to collect things. Bill needs some assistance paying bills and managing his finances as well as his medical needs. He also needs to be prompted to go out and do things recreationally with others, as he would prefer to spend free time alone playing video games.