LTO Ventures at 1st Annual Summit of Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism

HENDERSON, Nevada, (April 23, 2010) — LTO Ventures is pleased to announce that we will be participating May 3-5 as a member at the 1st annual Summit of the Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism (ACAA) at Bittersweet Farms in Whitehouse, OH.

The LTO Ventures model is not a farmstead per se, but we see agriculture-related employment as a high-value source of employment for our communities and the existing operators have tremendous experience from which we can garner valuable information and insights.

As the chairperson of the Community Living & Employment Subcommittee for the Nevada Autism Commission, LTO Ventures President & CEO Mark Olson believes the farmstead model is an attractive opportunity for northern Nevada to provide much-needed housing for adults with autism there.

ACAA is a consortium of existing and prospective organizations that focus on sharing best practices and advocate for holistic, agricultural-based employment and housing models for adults with autism.  The goal of the conference is for organizations to build their strength in order to advocate for the agricultural community model.  The members and guests will spend time together sharing knowledge and learning from each other’s experiences.

ACAA was created two years ago to provide information to adults with autism, their families, academics, professionals, legislators, policy makers, other agricultural communities and interested parties.   The 50 member group educates people about the common characteristics and differences in agricultural communities in the United States.  A website (www.ac-aa.org) exists to dispel the incorrect notion that agricultural communities are institutional, segregated, congregate care models when, in fact, the members, residents, and day program participants are strongly woven into the fabric of their respective communities.

Farming communities for adults with autism are typically non-urban, low-density community based integrated models.  Typically there are no openings and long waiting lists.   The only way many adults with autism will be able to access an agricultural model is for advocates to come together with others to create a model in their own area. Creating a community is difficult but not impossible. The ACAA Inaugural Summit will provide information and networking for the 70 individuals registered including a representative from Autism Speaks.  Attendees are coming from 15 different states across the U.S.

What:        ACAA Inaugural Summit
When:       May 3, 4, 5 (detailed agenda available) Where:      Bittersweet Farms, 12660 Archbold-Whitehouse Rd., Whitehouse, Ohio 43571 Contact:    Vicki Obee-Hilty or Julie Horns 419 875 6986 extension 1209 or 1236; or vobeehilty@bittersweetfarms.org