We live in a climate of disarray and crisis in which people with a disability lose everything they've ever known when their parents die. In this climate, our families have come together in an attempt to find a solution.

RASAID’s clustered residential model will allow each of its residents to have their own private space and easy access to their friends. We envisage a development of purpose-built houses congregated together. We want our sons and daughters to live in the community that they know, close to their families, their day or work programs, their recreational pursuits and everything familiar to them.

We want to contribute to their transition out of the family home and to have significant input in their new lives. We expect to enlist the help of the local community in our project because we are all well-known in this area. While our proposed model will have 24-hour staffing, it will be at a lower staff-client ratio than in a traditional dispersed group home, particularly overnight. It will therefore be far more cost-effective. However, it is not only because it is less expensive that we are promoting this model; it is because we believe it is the ideal one for the group of people we have in mind.

We believe this model is ideal because we have lived with our people for decades, observed them on a daily basis and been privy to their innermost hopes and dreams. We can best represent this particular group of people because we know them best.

What they are telling us is that more than anything, they want to be with their friends, and their friends are that group of people who have a disability similar to their own. Our sons and daughters have been included in everything that we have done for decades, but it is not inclusion in the wider community that is as important to them as inclusion in the group of like people. In this they are no different from the rest of us.

When one considers that our people will probably not have a family of their own or a rewarding career, it is easy to see why a social life assumes a high priority in their lives. But often, their disability makes it impossible for them to access their friends - if they may be unable to use a telephone, a computer or drive a car. People with an intellectual disability are often as lonely and isolated living in group homes as they are living when living with their ageing parents.

Our model is an attempt to best meet the needs of our people and to thereby show the way forward in an industry that is hamstrung by rhetoric and the pursuit of a single philosophy. We are not pretending to speak for other than our family members, but we do believe that our model is the one preferred by most parents of people with an intellectual disability.

It is our hope that once we make our dream a reality, it will be emulated by other groups and that eventually every suburb and large country town will have such a development for the local people with an intellectual disability.

Download the RASAID Home Model Plans pdf.