What you need to know:
People who have significant cognitive impairments may be eligible for Community Living Disability
Services (CLDS), a provincial government service that can support living with independence in
Manitoba. For people on the spectrum who do not have this degree of impairment, friends and family
are typically the main sources of support when it comes to seeking housing and living with greater
independence as an adult. In some cases, therapists and workers in programs connected to or
independent of the provincial government may provide assistance related to skill development (social
skills, employment, etc) and searching for, obtaining or maintaining housing.
What is this video about?
The experiences of autistic people with finding housing for themselves vary; some are able to
successfully find a place to live whether through purchase or lease, some continue to live at home well
into adulthood, and others that are more impacted by their autism or have other mental or physical
impairments utilize assisted living through Community Living Disability Services. There are many things
to take into account when considering various housing options. Outside of the building itself, these
include the safety of the neighbourhood, access to public transportation, access to grocery and other
shopping, as well as proximity to work, family and friends. Within the building, important
considerations include access to laundry facilities, pets policies, and building security. For people on the
spectrum, additional things to think about include the unit size, lighting, sound dampening (if one is in
an apartment or condominium) and various other sensory-related factors.
How was this video developed?
The producer(s) reached out to a number of adults on the spectrum in living arrangements that ranged
from remaining in the family home with a parent to apartment rental to home ownership. Questions
were asked that included their motivation for choosing the living arrangement they did, their
satisfaction with this arrangement, any challenges they may have faced with finding and securing
housing for themselves, and what they would list as pros and cons of their particular situation.
What were the findings?
The self-advocates interviewed by the producer(s) provided a range of perspectives on housing. Those
who struggled with independent living arrangements reported struggles interacting with landlords,
often due to their own challenges with social skills, or not knowing their inherent rights and
responsibilities as tenants. They also reported struggles with obtaining and maintaining employment
and with managing their personal finances.
Those who reported greater success with independent living credited parental assistance in a number
of areas. These included the process of understanding their current financial situation and what would
be needed to manage a move out of the family home, learning necessary skills for independent living,
searching for, selecting and ultimately, moving into their new home. Much of this assistance would be
typical of most other adults leaving home. Some self-advocates cited the internet as a great resource
for learning life skills, (including cooking, laundry, budgeting, etc.), and expressed that they still require
assistance with certain day-to-day tasks.
Inside the home, overwhelming lighting, building construction (wood, stone, concrete, etc) and the
disruptive sounds of neighbours were cited as sensory concerns for people on the spectrum, specifically
those who were in an apartment or condominium. These self-advocates had a number of more typical
concerns and priorities as well, including choosing an ideal location and keeping pets as companions.
How can you use these findings?
These findings demonstrate the experiences people on the spectrum have in regards to obtaining and
maintaining housing and living independently. You can use the following resources to learn more
about and assist yourself with accessing housing or help a friend or family member on the spectrum
Affordable Housing Rental Program: A program provided by the provincial government that allows
households with a low-to-moderate income to pay an affordable rent.
Community Living Disability Services (CLDS): A service provided by the provincial government that
provides people with intellectual disabilities with numerous living supports.