Building a Whole Beautiful Life as an Adult with Disabilities


In a neighborhood near Columbia River High School lives a family of five brothers, two chickens and one dog. This family is like most families who have their own daily routines for meals, recreation and relaxation, except the “brothers” are actually residents of Winegarden Adult Family Home. Lyle (names have been changed to protect privacy), enjoys going on a daily walk and helps to take care of Onie, the dog. Sometimes he’ll run a quick errand to the store to pick up a forgotten ingredient for dinner that night. Lyle has Autism. Before being referred to Winegarden, he lived in a state-run inpatient facility. Now, Lyle enjoys learning to cook, going to the library and spending time with his roommates.

Brian is one of those roommates. While Lyle likes to sleep in, Brian is the first one to wake up in the morning and get the house going. Brian was born with intellectual disabilities, but his humor is outstanding. He easily laughs at his own jokes and makes everyone around him smile. He likes to stay busy, working part time in a fast food restaurant and filling his free time with everything from bowling, to basketball, and dancing.  What he likes most about living in the adult family home is that “it has friends.”

According to Washington State’s Developmental Disabilities Administration, 80 percent of adults with disabilities live at home with their families, and 20 percent live in other situations including supported living facilities or adult group homes.

To read more, pick up a copy of the April 2019 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy here.

Community resources for adults with disabilities:

Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy
Vancouver Parks & Recreation
It Takes a Village Conference
Miracle League of Vancouver
Special Olympics Washington
The Arc of SW WA

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About Author

Sarah Mortensen recently completed her degree in marriage and family studies and works for Vancouver Public Schools as a paraeducator in addition to her role as associate editor of Vancouver Family Magazine. When Sarah is not reading to her kids or students, she is probably in her backyard taking care of her garden. She also enjoys hiking, hot chocolate, and dressing up for Halloween. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, son and daughter.

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