"Star Town" in Dabie Mountains


  In Jinzhai County, Lu'an City, Anhui Province, a "star town" covering an area of ​​36 acres has begun to take shape.

As far as the eye can see, 9 buildings stand tall, and they will be used for living, convalescence, labor, sports and even leisure and entertainment.

The owner of this "star town" is a special group - adult autistic people.

  People with autism are often referred to as "children of the stars," and the town that belongs to them is given such a poetic name.

  Finding shelter for older people with autism

  Before the "Star Town" was born, a problem plagued Yi Zhigang and Yu Hua.

Their child, named Xiaoman, is 27 years old.

Xiaoman suffers from autism. As early as 10 years ago, when he graduated from Peizhi School, he encountered difficulties about where to go next.

  Elderly people like Xiaoman, especially adults with autism, can no longer go to rehabilitation treatment institutions for children, and there are insufficient nursing services for adults with autism in society.

"Most adult autistic people have to stay at home and be cared for by relatives. But in the long run, their physical and mental conditions are prone to problems." Yi Zhigang said.

What is even more disturbing for the couple is that as they get older, who should their children be entrusted to in the future?

How can he survive?

  At first, Yi Zhigang and his wife set up the "Connor Island" Autism Family Support Center together with 5 other parents of autistic children in Haidian District, Beijing.

"Connor Island" has both rehabilitation training for young patients and day care schools for older children.

Xiaoman participated in the latter.

  However, this model of day care cannot solve the problem of lifelong care for older autistic people, and it is not a long-term solution.

In order to solve the predicament, Yu Hua and his parents went to study all over the country, and also visited many countries and regions in the world, but could not find an ideal solution until the parents discovered the "Hometown of Beech".

  "Keyaki Township" was established in 1985 and is located in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan.

This is a lifelong care organization for adult autism initiated by parents of autistic people.

As a community, "Keyboard Township" can accommodate more than 100 people, where people with autism live, study and even work.

With the help of the staff, some people with autism can complete simple handicraft works, and use the money from the sales of works to pay for subsidies to realize their own value.

  Let the "star town" take root

  The "Hometown of Beech" made Yi Zhigang and his wife see hope, and the idea of ​​building a "star town" came into being.

There are not a few parents around who have the same idea. They get together and are eager to try, and they have been discussing and planning this matter for a long time.

  "We hope to build such a community, on the one hand to solve the problem of placement and survival of our own children, on the other hand to provide a reference for the society to solve such problems." Yi Zhigang said.

  Where would such a small town be located?

Site selection is a problem, it can’t be too remote, and it can’t be too expensive.

Yi Zhigang is a native of Jinzhai. Jinzhai is rich in natural resources, beautiful in environment and profound in red culture.

However, due to its location in the hinterland of the Dabie Mountains and traffic congestion, Jinzhai was once a poor county.

  Once back home to celebrate the National Day, Yi Zhigang and his wife suddenly discovered that the hometown they had been away from for many years was completely different from a few decades ago.

The high-speed rail connects the provincial capital and neighboring provinces with convenient transportation; the urban infrastructure is complete and the life is convenient; more importantly, it maintains a good ecological environment, dense forests, and is located in the upper reaches of the Huai River, with abundant water sources.

  All this gave Yu Hua and Yi Zhigang the idea of ​​letting Xiaoman live here.

  At the end of 2017, some parents of autistic people from Beijing, Shanghai, Hubei and other places launched the "Star Town" project in Jinzhai County, Anhui Province. The project was invested by parents, and was based on the "dual care" of adult autism care and parental care. model to build.

This model is the first in the country.

In this way, while adults with autism live in the "Star Town", their parents can also retire in different functional areas of the same community.

  "It is particularly worth mentioning that the people in the old area are very friendly to us. They regard the introduction of 'Xingxing Town' as a project to improve the spiritual civilization of the society. I am very grateful." Special policy support and assistance have also been given in the use and construction, so that the "Star Town" can be successfully implemented.

  Active attempt to crack the puzzle

  According to the plan of "Star Town", the town has convalescent unit buildings, labor and leisure and entertainment venues, canteens and indoor sports venues, as well as parents' apartments and external business venues.

The design of "Star Town" fully considers the needs of autistic people.

Taking the workshop as an example, the reason why such a labor workplace is set up is because most adult autistic people can learn and master some skills and engage in simple labor. Takeaway delivery point, etc.

For parents of autistic people, "Star Town" is not only a place for children to live, but the ideal state is that different children can work together in the small town to perform simple and sheltered work.

And its greater significance is that when one day their parents are gone, they can still spend the rest of their lives being cared for in a stable and dignified way.

  Now, the main construction of "Xingxing Town" has been completed, and children like Xiaoman will soon be able to live in this life-long care community built for them by their parents.

  Yi Zhigang said that so far, 70 families have signed up to become "permanent residents" of the town.

More than a dozen people with autism who came to Jinzhai ahead of time are living in Hope Primary School not far from the town, and are undergoing life adaptability training accompanied by teachers.

This is the preparation made by "Star Town" to help them settle into the town smoothly, so that they can adapt to the collective life more quickly.

  He Xinyu

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