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History of The Homestead

History of The HomesteadThe Homestead was founded by the grassroots efforts of parents and professionals who recognized the need for a provider agency with a specific focus on providing services for people with autism. It wasn’t long ago that many people with autism were placed in state institutions.

Over the last decade, services for children with autism have improved as knowledge has increased. Today, with early identification and appropriate interventions, children with autism are able to take advantage of both special and general education opportunities.

Unfortunately, services for children and adults with autism lag behind. In most states, people with autism have few residential or vocational options available. They usually fail in typical programs designed to serve those with mental retardation because they need different specialized supports. Those who do not start out in institutions, often end up there.

New Ideas. New Opportunities.

In 1991, a group of parents and professionals in Iowa came together to create new living and working opportunities for adults with autism. They researched other programs around the country and talked with experts in the field of autism, including Bittersweet Farms (Whitehouse, Ohio) and the Carolina Living and Learning Center (Chapel Hill, North Carolina).

From these efforts, The Homestead was founded. A non-profit organization, it set about to create a model program for Iowans with autism. With a strong board of directors and an advisory committee of community leaders, plus a solid vision and a worthy mission, the founders set about raising both the public awareness and the dollars necessary to support their vision.

Those early efforts took root and grew into a collection of varied programs focused on serving the needs of people with autism. Today The Homestead serves children and adults in a wide variety of campus- and community-based settings.

For a thorough overview of the services currently offered by The Homestead, please read.