New Not for Profit, Long Island Autism Communities, Inc., to Build Long Island’s First Supportive Integrated Community for Adults with Autism in Patchogue
One of the greatest concerns parents of children with autism have is, who will take care of their children when they no longer can? On Long Island, which has one of the nation’s largest clusters of children on the autism spectrum, there is growing concern of what happens when these children become adults. Not willing to leave that concern to others, a group of committed Long Islanders have joined together to form a new not for profit, 501(c)(3) organization, Long Island Autism Communities, Inc. (www.licommunity.org). Its primary mission will be to develop supportive integrated communities for adults with autism. The organization’s founder, Charles Massimo, CEO of CJM Wealth Management (Deer Park, NY), and the father of two boys on the autism spectrum explained more.
“There isn’t a parent of a child with autism who hasn’t spent countless sleepless nights worrying about what will happen to their child when they are no longer around to care for them,” said Massimo. “That is certainly true for me and my wife. None of us wants to see our children become adults with no opportunity for a self-directed, independent life without a sense of purpose or community. Long Island Autism Communities will provide just that – a supportive integrated community where adults with autism can live in specially-planned communities that afford them every opportunity to live happily, safely, able to work if they want, volunteer and access the resources of the broader local community.”
“First Community to Be Built in Patchogue”
Massimo noted that he and his Board have identified an ideal location in Patchogue in close proximity to the village with easy access to transportation, a local hospital, healthcare providers, potential employers, supermarkets, banks, retailers, etc. and all of Patchogue’s thriving recreational and cultural offerings. It is exactly what the vision called for in giving the residents the best possible future into their adulthood.
Plans are to have the first community completed on or about 2018. The vision is for the first community to include residents with autism and some without a disability including a community director and caregivers. The homes would be designed with warm and inviting decors, while accommodating the special needs of individuals with autism such as sensitivity to certain outside stimuli such as excessive light or noise.
“Integrated Living for Adults with Autism”
“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for those living in one of our communities to fully assimilate into the surrounding community,” continued Massimo. “We want them to feel and be regarded as contributing members of the community, just like everyone else. We want to encourage a sense of belonging, dignity and purpose. To assure this, every effort will be made to support person-centering planning for each person living in our communities.”
Long Island Autism Communities will be privately-funded through individuals, businesses and foundations. The organization has formed a Board of individuals consisting of professionals, business and community leaders. Each brings to the organization specific knowledge, insight and in some cases personal experience as a parent of a child with autism in areas ranging from estate planning and planned giving to land use, design and construction, plumbing, heating, and programs for individuals on the autism spectrum.
For more information, to make a donation or get involved, visit: Long Island Autism Communities, Inc. at www.licommunity.org or call: 631-302-0095.