Societal issues surrounding autism not only create challenges for children, but their entire family. Parents of children with autism experience anxiety and uncertainty, especially as their children grow up to become adults with autism. Chances are, they will survive their parents. Then, what will happen? Where and how will they live as adults with autism?
In this episode, Toby Mathis of Anderson Advisors talks to Jim Richardson from Neuro Diverse Living. Jim has more than 35 years of consulting services experience and has been investing in real estate for 40+ years. As a principal in a commercial real estate capital consulting firm, Jim raises and manages discretionary investment capital. As a parent of a grown son with autism, Jim’s business vision and personal mission is to connect in a meaningful way.
- What will happen to Jim’s son, Michael? Every parent raising an autistic child has or will consider available options to plan for future living accommodations.
- What are options most parents consider? Many families make plans with a sibling, such as a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or other family member, which may only be temporary.
- What about a permanent move? Jim wanted to find a place where Michael could move to and theoretically live for the rest of his life.
- Why? Change for an autistic adult can turn their world upside down. Once might be fine, but not multiple moves.
- What about group homes? These temporary properties tend to be for people with severe disabilities. Unless Michael gets to the point where he needs that next level of care, a group home can’t accommodate him.
- What’s a parent to do? Create their own long-term housing solution to meet Michael’s needs as an adult with autism. Jim and his wife, Nancy, started Neuro Diverse Living.
- Does Michael live with Jim and Nancy? Yes, because they are setting up their first personal care home, also known as residential assisted living (RAL).
- Will the personal care home only be for adults with autism? Neuro Diverse Living is a 501(c)(3) charity with a blended residence of autistic adults and neurodiverse people.
- Will Neuro Diverse Living offer 24/7 care? To be a legitimate business, Jim needs to follow local, state, and federal regulations. Jim’s business will provide housing based on the level of daily living that each individual needs.
- How many people have autism? Nationally, on average, 1 out of 49 people are on the autistic spectrum. In the next 10 years, 1 out of every 4 or 5 adults could have autism.
- Why create an intentional design for Neuro Diverse Living? Jim intends to make the design model available to other families that want to do something similar.
- Is it difficult for autistic adults to get a job? For every 10 jobs available, about two could go to an autistic individual.
- Why does Jim have a separate group that buys properties for him? There’s a tremendous need/opportunity for long-term leases for autistic and neurodiverse homes.
- Did autism used to be confused with schizophrenia? Yes, years ago. People thought it was some sort of major mental defect. They didn't know what it was or how to treat it.