What is ARCHway?

ARCHway is project of the Foundation for Autism Support and Training (FAST). It is a roadmap for lifelong person-centered planning for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Our primary focus is to offer clear guidance on how to establish quality-level housing in our communities for people with ASD across the entire spectrum. When designing community living models, then it is important to consider whether the individual has support needs that are consistent with someone who is more independent and higher functioning; someone who might be in the middle of the spectrum; or someone who is severely impacted by the symptoms of autism, and thus requires a much more intensive staffing ratio and a variety of housing modifications and adaptations.  We offer needed leadership on the complex and confusing issue of housing for individuals with ASD, and offer specific concrete steps that families can take to tackle the challenges of establishing a real home and a good long-term quality of life for our loved ones with ASD.

The values expressed in ARCHway’s new disability paradigm assert that people with ASD and other disabilities are not broken, and therefore do not need to be “fixed” or pitied. Rather, these people are to be valued and loved for their personal qualities and contributions, and it is the built and social environment that must be fixed, modified, adapted or structured properly so our fellow citizens with ASD can take their rightful place among us as friends, neighbors, co-workers and employers.

ARCHway is an approach that “re-orients” one’s current thinking to a more person-centered way of planning. It shifts us away from a passive perspective, in which a parent of a transitioning teen or adult with autism may believe that “a government system will step in to provide quality care and look after the needs of my loved one.” Instead, person-centered planning embraces a more active, realistic and empowering perspective that asserts, “If I wish to see my loved one with autism have a great place to live, and participate in fulfilling activities and enjoy a quality life, I have to play a significant role in that life planning process,) well in advance of the time my loved one needs residential services, staff supports and job training.”

Many people across our country hope and believe that the federal government will somehow solve this enormous autism housing crisis on its own. In this current economic climate, we believe that is wishful thinking.

It is more likely that it will become necessary to reorient one’s thinking to envision a public/private partnership in which each family and their circle of friends, along with government agencies, join together to work out the details of a good future lifestyle that fits the unique and particular needs of each of our loved ones. In this model, both parties take the responsibility for some of the costs related to developing quality community living options, services and supports. Exactly how do we play that significant role? ARCHway was established to provide answers to that challenging question.

The members of ARCHway’s consortium are disability housing pioneers and seasoned experts in the autism field who have proven experience designing and building a wide menu of adaptive housing options. These experts also know how to properly train support staff and utilize leading edge assistive technology. These approaches help shift the balance from limitation to safe and sound choices for supported independence. Moreover, we have created a very specific, intentionally targeted national network of families who are eager to share both their successes and their false starts in this quest so that we may all learn and join together to solve the housing crisis for people with ASD. is our social network of families who have tried many approaches to solving the housing crisis across this country. The rest of ARCHway’s members want to learn ways they can develop their own housing and supports. Our goal is to dramatically increase the number of quality community housing options and models across the U.S.

ARCHway Consortium members: a unique partnership of ASD and building industry experts

The FAST ARCHway approach has resulted from a collaborative effort between ASD experts.

  • FAST CEO Karen Kaye-Beall – Autism Services Provider Trainer/Augmentative Communication Specialist – Lifespan Planning. Karen is the director of the Center for Autism Support and Training, as well as the Speech, Communication and Reading Center, both approved autism service providers with the State of Maryland’s Autism Waiver. She founded FAST’s Augmentative Communication Showroom and Demonstration Center and is the mother of two teenagers with autism.
  • John Rowell, AIA – Architectural and Universal Design/Homes and Intentional, Integrated Multifamily Communities. John is a principal at Rowell Brokaw Architects and an associate professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Oregon. He has worked on countless housing projects and has conducted research in the area of environments for people with developmental disabilities, as well as co-authoring the following books:

    -Person Centered Environments
    -The Bay Area Project, Housing Design Guidelines
    -Design for Safety

  • Tom Keating, PhD – Assistive Technology Specialist. Tom is director of the Eugene Research Institute, which focuses on assistive technology research and development. The institute’s work emphasizes cognitively accessible computing and design of systems for community living support, including creation of the Picture Planner™ icon-based personal organizer. He is also an adjunct research associate in the Computer and Information Sciences Department of the University of Oregon. Keating's work over the past fifteen years has focused on the role of assistive technology in the lives of students and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities, on human interface design and development of cognitively accessible software for activities of daily living, and on intelligent systems for remote care giving. His perspective in all of his work is strongly influenced by his role over the past 25 years as primary care provider for his brother James Keating, who has autism.
  • Joe Wykowski – Disabilities Housing/Funding Opportunities/Community Support. Joe is the executive director of Community Vision in Portland, Oregon, a person-centered organization providing individual supports to over sixty individuals and families. Joe also founded the Homeownership Empowerment Program, which assists 15 individuals or families a year in purchasing their own homes. He serves on the Multnomah County Housing Commission and the Mayor’s Vision PDX planning committee. He is the past president of the Oregon Homeownership Collaborative, and was a past executive board member of TASH, a worldwide advocacy organization. Joe consults with various housing coalitions across the country concerning the creation of individual housing opportunities and personal supports for persons with disabilities. He is a guest lecturer for the University of New Hampshire, Colorado State University, and University of Kansas. Joe was the recipient of the 2001 Fannie Mae Home Choice Award, the 2005 Trail Blazers Community Coaches award for nonprofits, and the recipient of the 2008 ARC Multnomah-Clackamas Walter Fuhrer Award for systems change. Kathryn Weit – Disabilities Policy Analyst is the Policy and Political Affairs Analyst for the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities. She staffs the council’s Policy and Family Issues Committees. Kathryn provides staff support to the Developmental Disabilities Coalition and is the primary liaison to the legislature, state agencies and human services coalitions. She was chosen by Oregon’s governor to sit on his Special Commission on Autism and she has an adult son with severe autism.
  • Johnnetta Davis-Joyce, Director - Center for Public Health Improvement and Innovation, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). Johnnetta and PIRE have a wealth of experience in implementing information clearing houses and technical assistance centers for numerous federal agencies.  PIRE’s Center for Public Health Improvement and Innovation will partner with ARCHway on these kinds of projects.
  • Candace Baldwin – NCB: Capital Impact Group - Experts in shared equity and cooperative models as well as housing for disadvantaged communities and people with disabilities. NCB will provide consultation to FAST-ARCHway on those models as well as Community Land Trusts.
  • Robin Allen -Behavioral Services and Products, Inc. – Expert autism behavior specialist; producer of a broad array of visual support materials and functional photo boards across the US.
  • Plan Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) – Successful model for life planning, advocacy and housing with proven track-record of success throughout Canada.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Disability and Human Development, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC)  Tamer Heller and Alan Factor.
  • Futures Explored – Experts in providing support and care to adults with disability within community living options; creators of model employment and vocational training programs
  • Melwood – Pioneer group home provider in Maryland who recently moved all their clients into community housing options separating home ownership from service: model employment, vocational and recreational programs.
  • Attainment Company –Speech generating devices, visual support materials/AAC-Go Talk Series
  • Samuel Sennott – Co-Founder of Proloquo2go – Developed one of the leading speech generating software in today’s augmentative and alternative communication field.
  • Barbara Delsack – Speech Language Pathologist, double Master’s degree in Speech/ Language and Audiology. 15+ years experience in Augmentative Communication (AAC).
  • Dana Mason - Speech Language Pathologist, Founder of Kids’ Village Therapy, LLC.  18+ years experience working with adults and children in special education.
  • Bob Bodell – Bob serves as a Consultant to ARCHway on housing finance and has a broad background in mortgage banking.
  • iCohere – IT company with innovative Web 2.0 Platform for networking