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The Benefits of Neuro-Inclusive Cohousing

A Path Towards Inclusion and Support

Today’s cohousing options offer a variety of ways to live alongside others. From the traditional model of detached dwellings that share amenities, to a more modern arrangement with private homes accessible by internal hallways or an internal courtyard. Cohousing offers residents access to social connections and support, as well as shared spaces for activities like cooking, billiards, or even co-working. Inclusive housing — also known as accessible housing or universal design — is any residence that meets the needs of people with different abilities. Neurodiversity is one way this can be accomplished.

Humans come in all shapes and sizes, and that extends to mental abilities and quirks as well. The term neurodiversity refers to people who think differently than the majority because they have neurological differences like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, or other cognitive variations. This article will explore the benefits of neuro-inclusive cohousing and explain how you can take part in this first-of-its-kind intentional community.

Why Cohousing?

Cohousing is simply a form of shared housing with a strong focus on community and connection. It’s a great option for people who want to live in a supportive environment with like-minded individuals. There are many people who choose cohousing because of a mental or physical disability or because they want to be near other people who can help with daily needs. Cohousing can also be beneficial for people who want to get more involved with their community, but who may not be as outgoing or have trouble finding the right fit with roommates. It also works well for families, as children can have their own space while also living in a community where they can interact with other children.

What is Neuro-Inclusive Cohousing?

Neuro-inclusive cohousing (also called accessible cohousing) is a type of cohousing where residents’ needs are understood and incorporated into the design, including the type of dwellings, layouts, and shared spaces. The goal is to create a safe, supportive environment for residents who may have different needs, such as people with physical disabilities, single parents with small children, seniors, or people with cognitive differences. A neuro-inclusive community can include residents who have physical disabilities, mental health conditions, or other challenges that impact their ability to live independently.

Benefits of Neuro-Inclusive Cohousing

  • Support – Having a strong support network is key to living well with neurodiversity. In neuro-inclusive cohousing, residents can turn to one another for help around the house, with childcare, or with other daily tasks.
  • Mental Health – Neuro-inclusive cohousing can also provide a safe place to discuss mental health issues, like anxiety or depression, with other people who “get it.”
  • Safety – When people have different needs, they may also require different safety considerations. For example, someone who uses a wheelchair might need wider doorways, lower kitchen counters, and other features built into the design of the home.

The Path Towards Inclusion and Support

To make neuro-inclusive cohousing work, everyone involved should agree to certain guidelines for support and inclusion. This includes creating a welcoming environment for all potential residents, writing a strong mission statement and values that everyone can agree with, and finding a way to help residents support each other. As with any cohousing community, you’ll want to create a welcoming environment for residents by being intentional with your community-building efforts. Next, you’ll want to create a vision statement and values that everyone can agree with. This will help ensure the community is inclusive, safe, and supportive. Finally, discover ways to help residents support each other. This might involve organizing regular social events, forming support groups, or hosting workshops on skills like managing money, housekeeping, and emotional self-care.

Bottom line

Cohousing presents an appealing option for people with many different types of needs. Neuro-inclusive cohousing provides a supportive environment where people can turn to one another when they need help. It’s important to create a welcoming environment and to use the shared values to inform the design of the community to ensure it is as inclusive as possible. Join the work we’re doing at Front Porch Cohousing to create a new and exciting twist on the well-established intentional and universal design concepts ingrained in traditional cohousing. We invite you to help us change the world.