Sister Builds Cottage in Her Backyard for Autistic Brother So He Can Live Independently


Autism presents a unique set of experiences for every individual diagnosed with it. Unfortunately, many are left undiagnosed and thus, unsupported. Even for those diagnosed, dealing with the stigma surrounding autism becomes an added challenge.

Take Chris, for example, an individual living with autism. His sister, Tiffany, desired to foster an environment where he could live independently, yet stay close to her. As a solution, she chose to construct a custom cottage for him in her backyard. Apart from being a caring sister, Tiffany is also the visionary founder of Depo Market, a startup focused on enhancing the quality of life for those with disabilities.

Adopted at the age of 8 months, Chris and Tiffany lived apart for 15 years. Not content with his living conditions, Chris voiced his concerns, which Tiffany comprehended. Though his condition occasionally made living with him challenging, Tiffany was resolute in her mission to ensure his happiness.

Living with higher-functioning autism carries a unique set of hurdles, including distinctive coping mechanisms and feelings of boredom and stress that are often misunderstood by neurotypical individuals. Regardless of these challenges, Tiffany was unwavering in her pursuit of ensuring the best for Chris, prompting her to build him a bespoke home in her backyard.

Her vision was to create a cottage that would attend to Chris's particular needs, and she certainly accomplished it. The project, costing $15,000, resulted in more than a shed—it's a full-fledged, beautiful home where sunlight filtering through the windows amplifies the charm.

Individuals on the autism spectrum, like Chris, often develop unique habits. For instance, Chris's consumption of water is higher than average. Acknowledging this, Tiffany equipped the house with a water tank and a bathroom conveniently located near his bed for easy nighttime access.

Safety was a key concern in the kitchen, equipped with an induction cooker to avoid accidents due to a forgotten active stove. Tiffany also pre-prepares portions of Chris's meals, helping him in case he forgets. The house is adorned with reused materials and furniture, contributing to its distinctive appeal and character.

On top of providing Chris with a supportive environment, Tiffany, along with her partner, recently welcomed a new addition to their family—baby Luna. Chris is excited to live close to his adorable niece. Furthermore, through her startup, Depo Market, Tiffany is steadfast in her mission to elevate the lives of those with disabilities. Her unyielding commitment is a testament to her passion for making a difference.

Life with autism might present unique challenges, but with familial love and support, individuals like Chris can lead gratifying lives. Tiffany's devotion to her brother's happiness and her efforts via Depo Market inspire us to strive for a world more inclusive and understanding of individuals with autism and other disabilities.