The One-stop Autism Hub will be a place where autistics, caregivers, service providers and other stakeholders can come together to create new possibilities and solutions for autistics.
Autistics need more than just living quarters and jobs – they need a safe place where they belong and from which they can integrate with mainstream society on their terms. Caregivers need more than just mental wellness support – they need solutions that ensure the well-being of their loved ones after they pass on.
We can start with a one-stop online portal bringing together all allies who pledge support for the Action For Autistics Masterplan, eventually finding a physical location where we can come together. Just as Sim Lim Square is the place that serves computer hobbyists in Singapore, the Autism Hub will also be the place that serves the autism community in Singapore.
Idea: build an Enabling Hub around the Enabling Village
The greatest flaw with the Enabling Village is that it lacks any residential facilities for disabled people to stay. However, this could be remedied by reworking the land use nearby.
Surrounding this facility are many old HDB apartment blocks that could be torn down. New HDB apartments can then be built, some of which can be reserved for the autism and disability community. Autistics will then have a place that they can interact with their peers, while caregivers can stay nearby to watch over their adult children living independently.
Nearby shops can be reserved and used for housing therapy and educational centres, mental health and medical services, daily living and vocational facilities, religious and social service agencies (SSAs). Many of these can also provide employment to autistic people.
Autism-related events such as peer counselling and leadership training can also be held in the two community centres nearby. The library nearby can stock up on autism books, both public schools nearby can cater to autistic students, the hawker centre nearby can serve affordable allergy-free foods, while the Polyclinic nearby can be revamped to be more autism-friendly.
Nearby factories can be reserved to provide low-cost industrial space for autism startups. Nearby green spaces can be converted to community farms run by social enterprises. All the organisations and businesses in the autism hub can also employ autistics such as in IT and farming work.