Autism Services of SWLA opens 6th home for men with autism

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:08 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Last Friday marked a special day for Autism Services of Southwest Louisiana, as they celebrated with a ribbon cutting of the Shearman House.

This is the sixth home in Lake Charles the organization has opened to house men with autism.

“One out of 36 children are diagnosed with autism. Autism is a lifelong diagnosis for which there’s currently no cure, so the need for housing and permanent housing opportunities for adults continues and the need continues to grow right here in our region,” said Melissa Griffin, executive director of Autism Services of SWLA.

Autism Services of Southwest Louisiana was started 20 years ago by four individuals who had family members directly affected by autism.

“And they realized that they were facing a solution that was needed for long-term housing for their loved one,” said Griffin. “They didn’t want them to go to an institution or a group home, so they got together and they formed this nonprofit organization and set up housing here locally in Lake Charles for their family.”

The homes are specifically for adult men who have an autism diagnosis.

“I’ve been diagnosed with autism at the age of 15, and I had the great opportunity to live in this home, and everybody else who lives here is all great, the PCAs, the workers, everybody is all very nice and very caring for everybody who has autism,” said resident Eric.

“We pull their medicine every morning, we make sure we give them their medicine and they take it on time in a timely manner. Cooking breakfast, lunch, dinner, you know, cleaning, making sure we keep the house up is a very important thing,” said Personal Care Attendant Cody Jacob. “It’s a very nice house, so we try to keep it up as much as possible.”

Autism Services of Southwest Louisiana said it is not just a commitment to a cause – it’s an investment in the well-being of our community.

“This is a great program, and I really like people to know that,” Jacob said. “At the end of the day, we’re all people, and I think like sometimes people hear the word autism and think you got to maneuver a certain way or act a certain way, but the end of the day, they’re people, they’re just people that just need a little more care, that’s all that is.”

Find out how you can help the organization HERE.