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The Beginning of Alternatives for People with Autism

From its start as a study group of dedicated parents looking for quality, community-based residential services for their Children, Alternatives for People with Autism (APA) has always been dedicated to creating community living options for people with autism. This is an effort APA has pursued tirelessly since its incorporation as a non-profit charitable organization in 1980.  

The founding parents of APA were painfully aware of the lack of living options for their children.  No services existed that respected their needs, humanity, and dignity.  Since nothing suitable existed, the group set out to create their own. 

APA achieved a major goal in 1982 when Shingle Creek opened. A residence that serves up to 15 men and women, offering a quality of life that had previously seemed impossible. Shingle Creek offers person centered planning, community participation, and a safe place to call home. The building is divided into three apartments, in which each person has their own bedroom and a common living area.  

In 1987 APA opened Little House, a smaller, split-level home just across the parking lot from Shingle Creek. Little House started as a respite home providing short-term housing for children whose families needed respite care but has evolved into a full-time home for four individuals. The four residents, much like those at Shingle Creek, receive individualized programming, and a safe place to call home. 

At SCO and Little House, the people who live there are taught daily living skills including: personal hygiene and grooming; meal preparation and cooking; and domestic skills such as laundry, vacuuming, and cleaning. They also go on outings that help foster socialization skills and experience with community skills like handling money, staying safe in public, and making purchases. 

APA’s Commitment to Care

APA has always embraced a commitment to personal choice and quality care, but that has gone hand-in-hand with an embrace of technology and innovation. That type of broad thinking led to the creation and development of APA’s patented CappsDATA system. Data driven care at Alternatives for People with Autism helps us track and monitor resident activities. The program ensures consistency of routine and approach, working across multiple generations of staff and residents. 

None of the good work APA does would be possible without the committed efforts and skill of its staff. The typical staffing ratio is one Living Skills Instructor (LSI) for every one or two residents. The goal at Alternatives is to ensure the success and professional growth of each team member. We actively promote from within, nurturing the unique skill set of each team member. The skills you learn at Alternatives can translate directly into many other fields. 


If you are interested in the work APA does, the CappsDATA system, or working for APA, contact us via phone at 763-560-5330 or online at afpwa.org/contact