Issues and Opportunities


Once a child with Special Needs ages out of the school system at age 26, parents struggle to find resources to support and develop their young adult’s growth and potential.

In the 2007-2011 Michigan Developmental Disabilities State Plan, the state estimates that 1.8 percent of Michigan’s citizens have developmental disabilities, or 182,175 individuals. In Kent and Ottawa Counties alone, there are approximately 16,000 citizens with developmental disabilities.Statistics show that Network 180, the community health provider for Kent County, serves only 5,000 of these.

There are also a limited number of residences for developmentally disabled adults. As longevity increases in our society, the needs of a growing population of Special Needs adults far exceeds the resources available. One way to meet the needs is to create sustainable housing—inclusive, intentional mini-communities of 6-10 people—throughout West Michigan. This is the goal OASIS Communities of Western Michigan is determined to meet.

Life Experiences of Young Adults

Special Needs vs. Neuro-Typical

Continuing Education 11% 67%
Live away from home 18% 66%
Employed 30% 85%
Socialize with friends 30% 85%

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