Retired Dallas doctors Clay Heighten and his wife Debra Caudy are spearheading an effort to build a community for adults with autism.
The $12 million project situated on 29 acres in the Denton County town of Cross Roads will include 15 homes and a 7,100-square-foot community center, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The impetus for the community comes from the couple’s 19-year-old son Jon, who has autism. In the event that they weren’t able to care for him, they wanted to know Jon had a place to live and work in an environment catered to his needs.
“We couldn’t find anything. So we just decided to do it ourselves,” Caudy told the DMN. “We want to do it not just for him, but for many of the others out there like him. The need is enormous.”
The story points to a 2015 report from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, which found an estimated half million people with autism will reach adulthood over the next 10 years.
Although it won’t be ideal for all those with autism, a transitional academy at the Denton County community will help teach young adults skills for living and working independently.
So far, the couple has raised $1 million for the project through a nonprofit they created last year called 29 Acres.
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