Adults with Autism learn to become independent at First Place apartments in Phoenix

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Last summer, we introduced you to First Place, a brand new assisted living apartment complex in downtown Phoenix, designed for adults living with Autism.

Now eight months later, we wanted to see how things are going.

The founder of First Place, Denise Resnik, says when it comes to Autism, there is such a broad spectrum of folks living here, everyone is learning at their own pace. However, we want to introduce you to one parent, Young Shin, who faced a question may parents who have a child with Autism think about: how will their children survive as adults?

"Finally he finished high school, then what's the next step? He cannot go to college, so I'm searching all around Arizona," said Young Shin, who is Calvin's mother.

She says that's when she finally found First Place, the first of its kind in the world. An apartment complex, where adults with Autism learn how to become truly independent.

"Daily cleaning, budget, cooking..," she said. "First time he struggle, he call me, 'Mommy, I want to go back home. This is not my home.'"

While there were growing pains, Calvin was making progress.

"He started using Uber," said Young Shin.

And then he made friends and started going out.

"Play in the swimming pool, and I went to Phoenix library building, look around, and we went to Art Phoenix Museum, we went to Heard Museum and the Museum of Natural History Arizona," he said.

Crying last Christmas time, Calvin never went shopping by himself, but he started at First Place, first time shopping for the whole family.

Calvin is also a savant with a knack for drawing. After school, he spent 10 hours drawing.

Resnick says she's not only displaying Calvin's art but art from other residents as well.

"We're working on an artist lounge right now, to support individuals who are demonstrating tremendous talent."

Calvin's artwork has been displayed at the Scottsdale Contemporary Museum of Art, then in South Korea, where his parents were born.

Young Shin's message to other mothers: "Kids get not enough training, then parents going to give up but don't give up. Never ever give up."

Calvin's mother says she was also encouraged to write a book about raising her talented and unique son. It's titled, The Happy Savant, Calvin's Story.

First Place
3001 N. Third St.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
602-464-6600
www.firstplaceaz.org