One of the many issues facing many parents of children affected by disabilities is what is going to happen when they get older and enter adulthood? Are they going to be able to live a normal life by themselves, or will they need something to help them?
Debra Caudy, who is a retired medical oncologist, and her husband, Clay Heighten, also a retired emergency doctor and founder of a real estate management company, have thought long and hard about this. Their son has autism and is at the high end of the spectrum. They want him to experience a normal adulthood, but where could he achieve this?
Well, because of his parents he’ll be able to. They have invested over $745,000 in 29 Acres of beautiful rolling meadows and woods in Cross Roads, Texas. For years now, they have been working on the idea of a complex specifically designed to home people affected by disabilities, providing a safe environment for them to enter adulthood and hopefully live happy and healthy lifestyles. Together, with fundraising, the pair are hoping to raise $12 million dollars to complete the project.
"We couldn't find anything, so we just decided to do it ourselves," Caudy told the Dallas Morning News. With so many young adults like their son, she adds, "The need is enormous."
Sources put people affected by autism entering adulthood in the next decade at almost 500,000. This means that over the next decade, almost half a million young men and women will be looking to leave home and move into adulthood.
The complex at Cross Roads is estimated to have at least 200 staff, and include over fifteen separate homes, a large community center, a transitional academy to teach life skills as well as access to a bus stop and ride share facilities. It is estimated that people will begin to move into the complex later this year.
Caudy hopes her idea will prove successful in Texas and throughout the world. "This is just the beginning," she says.