Friday, December 2, 2011

Home Design Project Addresses Unique Everyday Challenges of Families With Children With Autism

The Hope Institute’s Chicago Dream House Raffle partners with Ethan Allen to create “Dream Room” design for inclusionary families

How can families dealing with a child with autism create a home that meets the unique needs of both the autistic child and other family members?

The Hope Institute for Children and Families and Ethan Allen launch today the “Chicago Dream House Raffle - Dream Room Project” to combine the expertise of Ethan Allen designers with the knowledge of Hope Institute staff. Together, they will create a model home environment that provides unique solutions to everyday challenges faced by families and children with autism and other developmental disabilities. The model rooms will be unveiled on Tuesday, December 20.

The setting for the Dream Room Project is the $1.2 million dream home featured in the Chicago Dream House Raffle, the Hope Institute’s largest fundraising initiative ( All proceeds from the fundraiser will help The Hope Institute provide services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities throughout Illinois. Ethan Allen designers, consulting with Talitha Mueller, an expert on autism spectrum disorder, are working for the next three weeks to design comfortable, family-friendly spaces within the home. The concept of the project is based on Hope Institute’s model of inclusivity, where they encourage spaces designed for children with and without developmental disabilities, rather than an either-or approach.

The final designs will be unveiled on December 20, where families and friends of the autism community will get to walk through each of the rooms and hear directly from the designers involved in the project.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Ethan Allen on the Chicago Dream House Raffle - Dream Room Project. There are more than 29,000 families who have children on the autism spectrum in Illinois. This project is intended to demonstrate how design can help overcome some of the everyday obstacles these families face, and establish a sense of comfort and function while fostering independence,” explains Clint Paul, Interim President and CEO, The Hope Institute for Children and Families.

The Chicago Dream House Raffle - Dream Room Project will be chronicled via Parents and interior design enthusiasts will be able to follow the progress of each of the rooms (family room, eat-in kitchen, dining room and children’s bedroom.) Designers will share their thoughts on the process, and will offer tips on how families can incorporate essential elements in their own homes.

"Ethan Allen is very excited to be a part of the Chicago Dream House initiative,” says Pam Bemus, Regional Design Manager. “Our local designers can’t wait to bring their talents to the family room, eat-in-kitchen and girl’s bedroom, especially knowing that the proceeds from the raffle of this home will benefit such a deserving cause.”

Ethan Allen is also hosting a complimentary Holiday Design Workshop in its Lombard Design Center on Saturday, December 3, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Their pros will lead attendees through a series of quick ideas for adding a feeling of warmth and welcome to their homes.

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