At Koinonia, we are dedicated to helping people with autism lead independent, fulfilling lives. We recently reached out to our friends in the community to share the following story about Mark, a young man with autism who has benefited from the services we provide.

Like most young adults, Mark dreamed of landing a job so that he could earn his own money, live on his own, and have a safe place to call home – many of the things we all want! But autism, depression and anxiety often made life difficult for Mark to handle. Save

When he first moved out of his family home and into a Koinonia licensed group home in 2014, he experienced a number of challenges in social settings, especially when interacting with his peers. He struggled with harmful behaviors and was a flight risk. He required constant supervision, which didn’t allow him very much time to be alone. Would Mark ever be able to gain the independence he wanted?

Using three simple strategies – predictability, visual supports, and heavy sensory activity – as well as stabilizing him on the right psychotropic medications, Koinonia staff helped Mark begin to make significant improvements. His harmful behaviors became less frequent, he became more accepting of change, and he started to take personal responsibility for his actions. Today, Mark lives in a smaller Koinonia neighborhood home, where he is learning his way around town by bicycling with staff. He volunteers at Ronald McDonald House and Holy Family Hospice and is learning about jobs in the community. He created a schedule for himself and follows it carefully, as a result earning the trust and admiration of those around him.

Koinonia is determined to make sure people facing challenges like Mark have a safe place to call home and the opportunity to live a meaningful life. We believe someone with a disability should have opportunities to learn, find employment, and connect with their community. There are many others like Mark out there, and each is facing an uncertain future and struggling to find their place.

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