The philosophy behind OASIS tlc is one that embraces human beings for their interconnectedness to each other and all living things. Although our centers will be set up to foster independence for people on the autism spectrum, interdependence and social connectedness are our main goals. We believe that it is through work, personal exploration and our relationships with others, and nature, that we realize our full human potential. Given the challenges of autism, we see the local farm setting as an ideal place to achieve this goal.
Work and interdependence are one in the same concept. We all seek to relate with others through giving and taking. The concept of meaningful work is paramount to personal fulfillment. We all need to feel needed and we all need help at times. Individuals with autism are no different. They have the same human needs. They do not want to feel constantly dependent on others; nor do they want to feel useless. Therefore, it is important that our farm center be perceived as a service provider in two ways. One, the centers will provide the service of continuing education and housing for people with autism. Two, the individuals with autism and their co-workers will provide the community with healthy food and visible examples of sustainable farming and “green living.”
Social-connectedness has to do with personal exploration and our relationships with others. As young adults move out of their parent's homes, they begin to discover who they are. We all want people to know, truly, who we are and still love us with all our flaws and all of our history. We want others to understand us. Typically developing people achieve this goal through language. They tell people their story. Individuals with autism have great difficulty communicating. Nonetheless, they have the same human need- the desire to be understood. The local farmstead model can fulfill this basic human need by providing a place for young adults with autism to live away from home but be close to home. Remaining geographically close provides the opportunity for personal exploration and the support of family, friends and teachers and peers who know the individuals history and who can help communicate their story.
In conclusion, it is our highest aspiration; to have these centers open locally, nationwide. We hope they will be perceived not only as doing a service for people with autism, but also as providing a service to the community. Most importantly, OASIS tlc hopes to be appreciated for providing the setting and opportunity for non-autistic people to connect with autistic individuals in a very positive way. The centers look, philosophically, to provide encounters between people that will foster positive human growth through nature and the acceptance of human differences and, the realization of the common ground we all share.