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The music is another

"There is a house built out of stone

Wooden floors, walls and window sills

Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust

This is a place where I don't feel alone

This is a place where I feel at home..."


The Cinematic Orchestra, in To build a home



One day when it's big I want to have a house just for myself, said Artur (fictitious name). Why do you want a house just for you? Asked him Fernando (fictitious name). Why? Can't I? Ripostava Artur. Of course you can, but it doesn't seem to make sense! Ruth told him (fictitious name). Here I wish I had a house for myself and my friends, he adds. But you don't even have friends! Catarina tells him (fictitious name). You're usually with us and I don't even know if we're friends with each other, he says. But it is possible to dream about things, says Magdalene (fictitious name). There you have dreams, says Artur. Yes, it's possible to dream things and houses as well. My father is an architect and he dreams of the houses before drawing them, he concludes.

Arthur, Fernando, Ruth, Catarina and Madalena are autistic children who belong to the same group of social skills. They are between nine and twelve years old. Magdalene is the oldest in the group. That day one of the activities was to talk about what they wanted to be and do when they were older. A very usual thing for children to do. And it is interesting to realise that regardless of whether or not children are within the Autism Spectrum, there is a whole fantasy around this issue of being able to live alone or not. There are some children, perhaps with greater anxiety of separation who may be more likely to say that there is no reason to leave their parents' house, for example. However, it is possible to verify that although these particular children are within the Autism Spectrum, some of them wish to live differently in their adult life. But despite the differences, we can realise that they all have a project for that height of life.

However, many of us who work in this area, as well as the parents themselves, as well as adult autistic people, arise a lot this question of the habituation proper to adult autistic people. Not to mention the conditions under which the same dwelling is created. And a whole set of conditions, such as the surrounding neighbour context for example. And how all these charitable can and condition the well-being and quality of life of autistic people. But there are no studies in this area. And there is not largely due to the very scarcity of real situations that exist to do so.

For any of us, we know that living in good quality housing and in a safe neighbourhood and felt as such, in addition to being socially cohesive, is associated with a higher well-being. And as such, the importance of a housing/residential area capable of increasing subjective well-being for autistic people will be even greater. Given that many of them will spend more time at home due to low employment rates. But also because some of those who are employed may be, and even more so now, teleworking. As well as the fact that many adult autistic people (and not only) prefer to stay longer at home, either due to socialisation or other factors, but also so as not to feel overwhelmed at the sensory level.

But still, and despite all these importance, little is known about the housing of adult autistic people. This is not the case in our country, but in the USA and UK where there is broader and more differentiated social support for autistic people and their families. For example, the percentage of money allocated to the expenses of own housing of adult autistic people continues to be used without realising what real impact these measures are having on the quality of life and well-being of adult autistic people.

We want to talk about autism at all stages of life. Especially in adulthood, which is most of any of us' lives. And not addressing the issues of autonomous residence is hypocrisy. How can we talk about quality of life and well-being in adults when we are not even considering this fundamental aspect of autonomous and independent life. And it should be said that this aspect is not only to be thought of at the entrance of adulthood. It is essential to have this perspective forever. That is, when we know that the child or young person is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder it is essential to consider the possibility of the person choosing to live in their own dwelling. Not least because it is a fundamental right of any of us.

The place where we live is important. It's no coincidence that after we know the person's name and what they do, we ask where they live. The question is not innocent and says a lot about the importance of this space we call Home, Home. Of course we can have several houses throughout our lives. Not least because we are changing, either by will or need of the parents and then by our own choice or need. But from adulthood we start to want to choose the place where we will live. Whether in the way this house is built and the comfort it offers us. But also because it is located in a certain place and that favours our travel. Whether for work or leisure issues, travelling, their time and easy access to a transport network is essential. Whether not to waste this very important time, but also because it gives us a better quality of life.

Who will tell Arthur, Fernando, Ruth, Catherine and Magdalene that there is a strong probability that they will not have their own housing? It's hard to read this question, right? But we need to be honest with people's lives and work together for this change.


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