The Hungarian state does not operate housing facilities that are specifically for people with autism: the people living together in government-run homes have vastly different needs and problems.
Hungary, on its own, does not fund and operate housing facilities specifically for people with autism. Instead, government-run homes house people of all disabilities together using the same programs and care. This is problematic because the people living in these homes have a wide range of disabilities and therefore have vastly different needs. Unfortunately, this means that one of the key needs of people with autism (an environment with minimal stimulation) is impossible to create in the government-run housing facilities. In fact, when people with autism are placed in these housing facilities their condition often worsens causing them to break out into tantrums of rage. Because there is no specialized staff to deal with these tantrums, they are often resolved by sedating the patient.
The autistic housing facilities that we support are run by civilians and are usually founded by parents whose child is affected by autism. In these homes, everything is tailored to the needs of the boarders as best as possible given financial barriers.
All boarders are offered personalized therapy and are given the tools to develop new skills. There are some who can actually work at the homes. Keep in mind however the struggles of these boarders – even being able to get on a train alone is an achievement. A boarder in Miskolc was finally able to travel unassisted to visit his parents in Budapest after 1.5 years of therapy.
There are so many small details to pay attention to when trying to make the lives of the boarders run smoothly. For example, the boarders receive a detailed, illustrated instruction manual for their every task from washing their hands to getting dressed in the morning.
The facilities hire experienced professionals who know exactly how many problematic bumps in the road an autistic person’s everyday life can have, problems that might seem baffling to outsiders. For example, the boarders may know how to shave but that does not mean they will know what the right amount of shaving cream to use is. If he likes the way the shaving cream comes out of the container he could end up using more than a few cans worth of it without realizing that it’s wrong/naughty.
All the boarders in the housing facilities are legal adults. After they turn 18 and no longer have to attend school the state does not provide hands on support for them. This period is also hard for the parents, because they have to face the fact that not even they can remain with their child all the time.
Most boarders at these homes are less than 30 years old, but there are also those above 60 in these communities. This age range is natural and occurs frequently because autism is not curable – it is a life long condition.
It is often surprising for those who are not familiar with the topic, that staying with family is not a long term solution for people with autism. For the autistic individual to receive appropriate care, both parents would have to stay home – but then how would they make a living?! The constant strain on familial relations is not good for anyone, and not even the most loving family can replace a welcoming community where therapists help with their development.
Because the homes have their own social network, there is a greater chance that a boarder can find work through them. Some boarders can only concentrate for three hours straight and the homes are prepared for that, but what is more important is that their employers are prepared for that.