Farming has been shown to provide a “terrific skill match” for those with autism. Farms across the country have provided opportunities to children and adults with autism, allowing them to advance their life skills, education, health, and overall well-being. In addition to providing a calming and naturally joyous activity, farming allows individuals with autism to interact with others and improve their social skills.
During these programs, participants often take part in the entire process. From seeding to transplanting, harvesting to packaging, individuals with autism often do very well with this type of routine work. Being able to efficiently complete repetitive, predictable tasks, agriculture programs help these individuals build their confidence and self-esteem. Many also develop a passion for growing.
Based on these success stories, the Adult Autism Center developed a unique agriculture program. This program offers individuals an opportunity to learn the skills needed to care for plants, as well as opportunities to get involved in the local community.
The main goal of this program is to provide adults with autism an opportunity to care for plants, which they can sell to those within the local community. Throughout the entire process, our clients are able to develop a wide array of skills, including social skills.
Those who participate in this program will grow produce and flowers in our on-site greenhouse. They will learn the skills required to care for plants, as well as how to harvest and sell what they’ve grown at the farmers’ market, as well as to local businesses, and out of the center.
These activities are often highly therapeutic and the skills developed help our clients better prepare for life outside of the Adult Autism Center. Whether this program leads to potential job opportunities or simply makes individuals feel more integrated with their local community, our agriculture program offers numerous sensory experiences and encourages personal growth.
Clients receive instruction on how to best care for various plants and animals. Each client’s responsibilities and assigned tasks will be based on their own personal interests and abilities.
In addition to assigning tasks that align with each individual’s core interests and skill set, we also consider what each client could improve upon. For example, individuals who would like to improve their gross and fine motor skills may be assigned tasks such as planting seeds, picking vegetables, and pulling weeds.
In some cases, individuals explore other interests through the vegetables and flowers they grow within the agriculture program. For example, those with an interest in cooking may learn to preserve vegetables, whereas those who love art may dry flowers to use for art projects.
Client’s will be assessed upon intake for interest and ability to participate in the agriculture activities. From behaviors to interests, strengths to goals, there's a lot to consider.
Tending to a garden every day is a combined effort, one that is fully inclusive. There is something for everyone to do, and responsibilities are shared. Throughout the program, we continually reassess each client’s skill level, as well as their growing interests. We ensure that each individual gets the most out of their experience.
At the Adult Autism Center, we understand that each individual is unique. We celebrate each client's unique strengths and achievements, encouraging personal growth every step of the way. Taking a person-centered approach, we consider each individual's complex needs when placing them into our agriculture program.
Some individuals thrive within the greenhouse, while others feel comfortable stepping into the community to sell vegetables and flowers. The program is a combined effort, and everyone has a role to play.
Client progress will be monitored and measured based on increased independence in their ability to complete tasks. Like all of our programs, the agriculture program is intended to help our clients live a more fulfilling, healthy life. The agriculture program is unique in that it encompasses so many skills and interests, helping each individual shine.
If you or your loved one are 18 years or older, we welcome you to contact the Adult Autism Center. If you are particularly interested in the agriculture program, you can discuss specific details with our dedicated staff. We invite you to submit our referral form so that we can learn more about you or your loved one.