AFIL - Association for Independent Living

AFIL - Association for Independent Living AFIL is a 24 hour residential program which teaches independent living skills to young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

“The mission of the Association for Independent Living (AFIL) is to strengthen the independence of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through life skills education, vocational guidance, community integration and spiritual growth in a supportive living environment.”

Operating as usual


Understanding Autism
Do autistic people struggle with sleep?
Research has found that compared to neurotypical people, autistic people take significantly longer to fall asleep, wake more frequently in the night, and have a poorer quality of sleep and thus are more likely to wake up still feeling tired (Morgan et al, 2020).

Some things that can help support with sleeping:
- use of a weighted blanket
- use of a white noise system
- using a red light filter on any
electronics to block blue light
- opening a window; it is easier to sleep in a cooler room

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos

Unfortunately realizing you’re autistic as a teen or adult isn’t always well-received. But finally knowing that you’re autistic after years of invalidation and misdiagnosis, helps to give us a fighting chance to actually love ourselves and be more understood by those around us.

Too many of us have heard things like, “Why would you seek an autism diagnosis? “Why would you want to put a label like autism on yourself? That will make your life harder!” Or my personal favorite /s, “You’re just looking for attention.”

So the next time someone wants to discourage you from learning more about yourself and your neurotype, in an effort to make your life better, show them this.💖

Image ID: The positives of realizing you’re autistic. You now have an explanation for differences that you’ve never understood. You gain access to accommodations, disability discrimination policies, and community connections. Knowing allows medical professionals to better understand and treat co-morbid conditions. Loved ones can understand you better and respond in ways that respect your differences. It allows you to redefine your life through an autistic lens, leading to a greater understanding of yourself. Knowing can encourage you to be kinder and more forgiving with yourself when faced with challenges.
It helps you to realize that you were never broken but a perfectly whole autistic person.

#actuallyautistic #redinstead #autism #aspie #autistic #autisticadults #autismawareness #neurodiversity #autismcommunity #autismproud #aspiegirl #neurodiverse #aspielife #aspergers #differentnotless #autisticpride #autismadvocate #neurodivergent #digitalartist #digitalart #autisticwomen #nothingaboutuswithoutus #autisticartist #autismawarenessmonth #autismacceptancemonth #autismacceptance

Spring Cleaning with a touch of renovation. ✨ Thank you to the Hillcrest Foundation for allowing our residents to enjoy ...

Spring Cleaning with a touch of renovation. ✨ Thank you to the Hillcrest Foundation for allowing our residents to enjoy brand new flooring! A good floor changes everything!

Celebrating one of AFIL’s residents 23rd birthday! 🥳 everyone worked together to bake a delicious chocolate cake 😋

Celebrating one of AFIL’s residents 23rd birthday! 🥳 everyone worked together to bake a delicious chocolate cake 😋

What an eventful day here at AFIL! Ice cream sundaes and a water balloon fight 🍨🎈

What an eventful day here at AFIL! Ice cream sundaes and a water balloon fight 🍨🎈

WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore

WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore

A state of the art shopping mall is helping children with disabilities learn important life skills.

To Be Like Me

To Be Like Me

The words we use matter! Ever feel like you don't know what to say when discussing disabilities? We are here to help! Please share, and visit our website ( for online lessons about a variety of disabilities!

#wordsmatter #tobelikeme #tblm #disabilityawareness #youdontknowwhatyoudontknow #education #empathy #inclusivelanguage #etiquette #language #onlinelessons

MassMutual Greater Houston SpecialCare

Sarah had a great time visiting with Bryan and Tinja of MassMutual Greater Houston SpecialCare last week, and we’re honored to have that visit featured on their page! Thank you to Bryan and Tinja!

Bryan and Tinja had an awesome time interviewing Sarah Causey, the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Living.

AFIL is a unique and innovative residential program located in Dallas. They are unique in that we are a transitional, residential program tailored to meet the needs of each individual. AFIL works with each person to develop and expand their vocational, social, and daily living skills, financial management and personal growth and development. As a result of the residential environment they have great peer mentoring and modeling opportunities that develop companionship for new residents coming into the program and often after they leave the program. AFIL likes to think of their residential setting as a campus, similar to the ones where their siblings go when they enter college. They help make their resident’s dreams and aspirations a reality.

Learn more about the Association of Independent Living at

Looking for more resources?

Sign up for the SpecialCare Planning Team's newsletter and visit our website:

We're so excited to announce the kick off of a fundraiser effort through Go Fund Me! This is specifically to raise money...
AFIL Sport Court for Adults with Disabilities, organized by Sarah Causey

We're so excited to announce the kick off of a fundraiser effort through Go Fund Me!

This is specifically to raise money to replace and upgrade our current Basketball Court. If you've been by AFIL recently, you know our current court is small, cracked and sinking into the ground. When it rains, the water collects and pools in the court which takes days to dry, and therefore makes the court unavailable to the residents for that period of time. Basketball has become a favorite with our residents and it would mean so much for them to have a new sports court on which they could SAFELY play. And it wouldn't include just basketball! It would be a multi-sport court with even more opportunities for other sports and activities. For anyone who participates in sports, you know it's about more than just fun and exercise. It's also beneficial for mental health, coping with stress and learning how to engage with peers appropriately when either playing on a team as a whole or being on competing sides.

We'd love for you to click on the link below, contribute and pass on!

Do you love sports and believe in their power to make a positive impact in … Sarah Causey needs your support for AFIL Sport Court for Adults with Disabilities

Autism Management

Autism Management

I've been autistic all along?

I've been autistic all along?


📷 : @autisminsightsandme

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the AFIL family to yours! May your celebration be filled with peace and joy! 🎄

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the AFIL family to yours! May your celebration be filled with peace and joy! 🎄

The Rainbow Legion

The Rainbow Legion

The Autism Cafe

The Autism Cafe

When it comes to autism, no two autistics are alike.

Some can communicate, others can’t, and will never be able to.

Some can talk, but prefer to communicate nonverbally.

Some love to talk, while others are quiet.

Some prefer identity-first language, and others use person-first.

Some will live independently, and others require 24/7 care for life.

Some like the puzzle piece symbol, others don’t.

Some have an impressive “splinter skill”, but most do not.

When it comes to autism, we all have different abilities and varied opinions.

There isn’t a single autistic voice, and there’s not a single form of autism. If you’re looking to learn more about autism, have conversations with an autistic person, and then another, and then another.

But remember, some people with autism cannot communicate, whether verbal or otherwise, so to get to know them, you might have to talk to the people closest to them, those who care for them and often will for their entire life.

The Autism Cafe

The Autism Cafe

We’ve reached the point where Charlie’s autism is no longer an invisible disability.

It's reasonable for anyone who sees a seven-and-a-half-year-old at the grocery store hysterically jumping, squealing, and flapping his hands, to stare. I don’t blame them — it’s human.

A couple of times, in response to Charlie’s intense stimming, I heard a little kid ask their parents what was wrong with Charlie or why he was doing that. Every single time, the parent was embarrassed and told their child not to be rude.

I don’t find it rude. And you don’t have to be embarrassed if your child has questions. Normalize it. Teach them about stimming. Explain that some children show their feelings differently. Don’t make it awkward!

Non-harmful stimming shouldn’t be discouraged. We should strive to teach more kids about the different types of expression they'll encounter in the world 💙

Monica Berg

Monica Berg

Chelsea's inspirational story is a beautiful example of never accepting anyone else’s opinion or beliefs about your inherent potential.

Repost from @sculptwomensguide

Special Olympics National Championships Winner & two-time World Champion Chelsea Werner 😍⁣

Chelsea is a very special athlete with an inspiring story of breaking barriers towards achieving her dreams 🌟⁣

Chelsea was born with Down Syndrome and her doctors said she will always have low muscle tone. But Chelsea proved everyone wrong and started Gymnastics at the age of 8 💪⁣

Chelsea didn’t settle down for being an average Gymnast. With her hard work, talent & believing in herself, she won the Special Olympics Championship 4 times and the World Championship 2 times 🥇⁣

She is such a hard worker and loves to be represented by inspiring women who are pushing their limits towards being the best version of themselves and motivating others toward their dreams 💕️

Yenn Purkis Neurodiversity page

Yenn Purkis Neurodiversity page

Yenn thought for the day
Image description: Purple background with text that reads "An autistic student or employee being bullied is not an autism problem, it is a bullying problem. Address the bullying rather than trying to 'fix' the autistic person."

One of the residents facilitated a group where everyone created a feelings journal!

One of the residents facilitated a group where everyone created a feelings journal!

AFIL residents have decorated for the spooky season! 🎃👻

AFIL residents have decorated for the spooky season! 🎃👻

It’s getting a little spooky here at AFIL! 🎃👻

It’s getting a little spooky here at AFIL! 🎃👻

AFIL - Association for Independent Living's cover photo

AFIL - Association for Independent Living's cover photo

Wheelchair Rapunzel

Wheelchair Rapunzel

Instead of being happy and inspired by disabled people “overcoming barriers,” get angry. Get mad.

Get pi**ed that the only reason we’re having to overcome barriers is because of disability oppression.

Get mad enough to help us break down these barriers.



BEHOLD! A beginner’s guide to ableism!

“Ableism” is a word I didn’t hear until after I became disabled AND was active within the disability community—which is pretty amazing, since ableism is so dang present in our world today, BUT ALSO and UNFORTUNATELY not that surprising, since it’s really only talked about by disabled individuals whose words often echo within disabled circles because...well, ableism keeps us out of lots of other circles. 😐

Because this is just a beginner’s guide and a place to start, here are some links to help you learn more:
For more about a legal lower minimum wage for disabled individuals: , ,
For more about violence against disabled individuals: (There is a list of further references at the bottom of that article.)
For more about disability stereotypes: (There are a LOT of things on this list, and I’m not saying all of them are harmful, but stereotypes in general tend to strip individuals of all complexity, and many disability-related stereotypes turn disabled characters into an object or plot device rather than a person.)
And for more about individual acts of ableism—actively seek out disabled voices and pay attention to them! Don’t bombard them with questions, but instead just take the time to listen/read what they’re saying or have already said.

As a final note! The alt text for these images is actually in the individual image captions, because there’s a lot of information in these images and I was afraid Facebook’s alt text might cut off my admittedly long descriptions. I tried to keep them as short as possible without losing any of the information, but I apologize for any inconvenience this causes!

Âûtistic News Feed

Âûtistic News Feed

10 Autism Facts Everyone Should Know
(sources added now!)

1 It's genetic.
It doesn't suddenly appear or get caused by anything environmental. It should be noted environment can impact the degree to which genes are expressed, though. Epigenetics (how factors affect gene expression) is fascinating but deserves a comprehensive post of its own. Autistic patterns of brain development are observed to be atypical even from infancy, though diagnosis rarely occurs until later. Autistic people very often have autistic family members. I was diagnosed later but I can retrospectively identify tons of autistic traits in my childhood. It's not vaccines. It's not toxins. It's just how our brains are wired.

2 It can't be "cured" and we* don't want it to be cured anyways!
My autism is as important to who I am as my gender or my national identity. I wouldn't want someone to take it from me. I'd be a completely different person!

3 Autistic people* don't approve of ABA.
ABA= Applied Behavioural Analysis. Both people who've gone through ABA and people who've practiced it have come forward to denounce it as ineffective and extremely harmful. It increases our risk of PTSD and anxiety disorders, and it's been likened to "conversion therapy for autistics", because the goal is often to make us appear less autistic and suppress autistic traits, instead of learning how to live and thrive as an autistic person.

4 Autism Speaks doesn't speak for us*.
They have few to no Autistic people in their leadership and use only a minute fraction of their funds to help autistic people. They participate in genetic research which furthers the goal of a prenatal autism screen (eugenics), and consistently demonize and dehumanize autistic people in campaigns in order to gain donations.

5 Most of us* prefer "autistic" to "person with autism".
Each person may have their own preference and that should be respected, but if you aren't sure what someone prefers, or you're talking about autistic people in general, please use "Autistic". The main reason behind this is because 'having autism' sounds much like 'having cancer' or 'having a cold'- that's the phrasing we use when we have a temporary illness or ailment. Autism isn't temporary, and it's not an illness or ailment. It's not an accessory. It's part of us. One comparison I like is that we'd say someone is a woman, not a person with womanhood.

6 Most of us* DON'T approve of the puzzle piece symbol.
It was first designed by non-autistic people who thought autism was a 'puzzling childhood disorder', and it's used by Autism Speaks and by many other organizations that seek to cure autism. We* prefer a rainbow (or gold) infinity symbol to signify the infinite variety of autistic presentation.

7 Functioning labels hurt us more than they help us.
When you call someone 'low-functioning' it dismisses their skills and abilities and is often used as a reason to deny people autonomy and respect. 'High functioning' dismisses someone's struggles and is often used as a reason to deny them accommodation and support. Additionally, functioning labels are an observation about how much someone's autism affects outsiders, not anything to do with how it affects the actual autistic person. It also treats a spectrum as a binary, which is really never accurate.

8 A LOT of us are LGBTQIA+ (aka q***r).
It's important to note autistic people often face several kinds of discrimination. We are significantly more likely to be trans or nonbinary, and many of us have other q***r identities. If you want to support autistic people, you should learn about LQBTQIA+ issues, too. Autistic and q***r identities and communities have a lot of overlap.

9 Autism is not an intellectual disability.
You can be autistic and have an intellectual disability (as many of us do), but they're not the same thing. We're not all geniuses, and neither do we all have difficulty learning. There is a wide range of skills, and abilities among autistic people. (Contrary to what TV would have you believe). Some of us might be like Rainman or Shaun Murphy, but most of us are pretty average. Don't place unusually high or low expectations on an autistic person you meet- just treat them like an equal and get to know them.

10 "Nonverbal" people still communicate.
The word 'nonverbal' or 'nonspeaking' brings a lot of stereotypes with it. Most of them are wrong. Nonspeaking does not mean 'doesn't understand speech'. People can be nonspeaking and intelligent. People can use technology to communicate and be independent adults. AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) is just as valid and important as spoken words. For far too long, nonspeaking people have been marginalized and ignored. It's absolutely not okay.

** Not all autistic people will agree on all issues. We're not a homogenous group. My statements are based on statistics from polls of autistic adults. More info below.


Further reading:


(scroll about 1/4 way down in article for relevant graph, but the whole thing's worth reading in my opinion)



Even autism speaks' own poll! (despite the fact that AS uses PFL)





Ask Me, I’m an AAC user! (24 Hour Rule!)

*hashtag garble below*
(Aspie is used only for tagging purposes)
#autisticwomen #autisticgirls #femaleautism #ASD #girlswithautism #womenwithautism #femaleswithautsim #femaleASD #aspergirls #femaleaspies #autismingirls #aspienwomen #autism #aspergers #autistic #actuallyautistic #aspie #autie #autismawareness #ABA #AutismSpeaks #AustismSpeaksdoesntspeakforme #autismacceptance


2826 Storey Ln
Dallas, TX

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 16:00


(214) 351-0798



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