Individuals on the autism spectrum transitioning into adulthood and employment often are met with challenges at every turn. To help ease the transition, Daily Behavioral Health is launching a first-of-its-kind program, designed to teach young adults with autism real-world implementation of life skills and provide a better chance of success as they transition into adulthood.

Daily Behavioral Health, a behavioral health center located in Cleveland West Park’s neighborhood, was started by Dr. Cara Daily almost two decades ago. The behavioral health center has 32 employees consisting of clinical psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers, and office staff. The center also offers psychological evaluations, training, and autism-related services.

Following Labor Day, the Life Skills House and Bed & Breakfast program will begin for individuals between the ages of 16 to 22 with high-functioning autism. The life skills house will teach students living skills including laundry, cooking, cleaning, property maintenance, money management, and office skills – basic essentials that many of us overlook day-to-day.

If the student masters the life skills house, they will assist in managing and operating the autism-friendly bed & breakfast next door. With the supervision of center staff, they will learn the essentials of all-things management.

“They are actually going to have to manage the money. In the sense that when we get bills, they are going to have to be able to write out the check – I’ll still sign them – but just working on that. Then they will receive tips from whomever stays at the AirBnB. They’ll have to manage that in Quickbooks,” Dr. Daily said to News5 Cleveland. “They have a hard time many times even communicating with people. In that aspect, they will be managing things… If something goes wrong like the plumbing breaks, they are going to have to be able to pick up the phone and call the number for the plumber.”

According to a 2017 study from Drexel University’s Autism Institute, only 14% of adults on the spectrum held paying jobs within their communities. In the past few years more resources and programs, such as Daily Behavioral Health’s, have been created to change that percentage. Around the age of 14, “[young-adults with autism] really have to be working on their life skills; their self-help skills; taking care of themselves; doing laundry; managing money,” Dr. Daily said. “It’s important just being able to cook, clean, those kinds of things.”

The autism-friendly bed & breakfast will be available to rent on AirBnB after Labor Day weekend.

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