The Jones’ youngest child Alexander has severe autism and he is the inspiration to create Cape Cod Village. This will be a residential community for young adults with autism who require 24 hour assistance and care.  Bob explained that this year more children will be diagnosed with autism – 1 in 68 has an autism spectrum disorder. His son is now 26 years old: when he was diagnosed it was 1 in 10,000. No one knows what has happened to see this incredible spike. The life time costs of care is in excess of two-million dollars.
Autism impacts the normal development of the brain. Typical cases have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication; they isolate themselves and become withdrawn. And it does not go away with the onset of adulthood. Up until the age of 22, people receive services mandated by state and federal law. But after age 22, they are “on their own”. 40% of these people need 24 hour care and assistance. In 2012, 300 kids on Cape and islands were diagnosed in the system with autism. Currently, housing for these adults is in isolated group homes out of the main stream.
April 2011, a group of parents with children with autism who were concerned about where their children will live when they turn 22, formed Cape Cod Village. January 2015 the group purchased a 4-acre parcel behind Mid-Cape Home Center in Orleans and they plan to open late 2017 or early 2018. It will be a community in a community for 16 autistic adults. There are four housing units for four people with a commons building where they can interact with the broader community. Cape Cod Village will own the buildings and services will be provided by a contractor.
Cape Cod Village is a 4.5-million dollar building project with a projected operating budget of 2.5-million dollars per year with 90% of this coming from state and federal sources. The rest will come from residents through Social Security, food stamps and other benefits they receive. To help with the purchase of the property, the Town of Orleans donated $350K from CPA funds. There is a great team of architects and engineers working on the project.
Bob said Cape Cod Village has a board of directors that is dedicated to the project, working very hard at fund raising. The board is a dynamic mix of professionals in social work and health care as well as business. He added that we shouldn’t shun people with developmental disorders like autism: it is important for them to be included in the community.