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June 18, 2017

Home on the Range

Home on the Range

Today we welcome Donna Brickett, executive director of Home on the Range Autism Ranch, to share the incredible program being offered just outside of Sherwood Park.
Home on the Range Autism Ranch Society currently offers an agricultural program during the summer and workshops throughout the year. This is just the start towards the goal of building the first therapeutic farm with rural sustainable housing for adults with autism and agricultural programs for adults with developmental disabilities. The development of rural based housing and local, organic farming with agriculture and animal programs, will assist in meeting the growing demand for housing for disabled persons.

Rural environments with animals, nature and agricultural opportunities, have proven to be the most successful, sustainable housing models for adults with autism. They allow for a healthy lifestyle with recreation, volunteer and employment opportunities on site. Autism is a neurological developmental disorder characterized by deficits in communication, social interaction and a limited range of activities and interests often with the presence of repetitive behaviors. The brain of a person with autism is wired differently, so they can see, hear and experience the world differently.

A farm setting creates opportunities for individuals to complete a variety of different tasks to be completed at their own rate and work independently. The quiet environment coupled with being active outside, allows for the healthy, healing benefits of working the land. Away from the loud sounds and sensory challenges of the city, these young adults thrive. Home on the Range Autism Ranch Society is an incorporated non-profit organization and a registered charity offering agricultural programs. The Ranch uses social enterprise, an agri-tourism model with an organic vegetable market on site and lots of interaction with the community to support current activities. To reach their dream, they are working towards fundraising 1 million dollars. This money is necessary to purchase an 80-acre parcel of rural land with two homes in the Strathcona area that will become Home on the Range Autism Ranch

Home on the Range Autism Ranch Society board members are comprised of parents and professionals whose lives have been touched by autism and are dedicated to making this housing dream a reality. Please visit our website at www.autismranch.org or contact us by email  to learn more about our programs, become involved or donate. Happy Gardening!