Heidi Stieglitz Ham

A Sustainable Living Community for Adults on the Autism Spectrum

TEDxPerth 2014
October 2014

Talk length:


A Sustainable Living Community for Adults on the Autism Spectrum | Heidi Stieglitz Ham | TEDxPerth

Heidi's talk was preceded by this short video featuring adults with High-Functioning Autism discussing their experiences. Watch it here


Heidi Stieglitz Ham brought together a team of architects, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and researchers to design a sustainable living community for people with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger Syndrome (AS). This innovative community is the first of its kind in the world. 

Different to a group home or institution, the individuals will have their own independent living units made of sustainable materials and community areas would be designed for shared spaces. 

The vision is for the community to "live off the grid" and be sustainable using solar and wind power. Green spaces for organic gardening and therapy will be included.

Ham's training centres will provide job coaching, various forms of therapy services and provide a safe place to learn about becoming independent in a chaotic world. The community will also encourage other neurotypical adults to live there as well to provide role models and offer a safety net for the adults with autism.

Heidi Stieglitz Ham

Heidi Stieglitz Ham is a cognitive psychologist and a speech-language pathologist. After spending 11 years in clinical settings, she undertook a major career change and moved into academia, earning her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2010 investigating developmental dyspraxia and cognitive processing in individuals with autism. Heidi has worked with individuals with autism and their families in the United States, United Kingdom, Nigeria and Australia.

She is passionate about helping individuals to transition from adolescence to adulthood and helping them succeed in life, especially post secondary school when support services are often limited. Motivated to see positive change in this area, she is pioneering an innovative approach to improving functional outcomes of adults on the autism spectrum.

She is the owner of Autism and Language Intervention - WA, in Perth, a university associate at Curtin University, a member of the Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG) and conducts research within the Autism Cooperative Research Centre. She holds an academic title of Lecturer at University of Queensland.