An Innovative Housing Solution for Adults with Autism

Photographs by: Melania Mahoney
"Blazing new trails is nothing new for people in California. Look how John Muir came here to take on wild, uncharted territory and develop an environmental model for land preservation that has been widely replicated."

Patty Jackson, Founding Donor

Sweetwater Spectrum
369 Fifth Street West
Sonoma, CA 95476, U.S.A.

A Community-Based Design

The nearly 3-acre property is within walking distance of the historic Sonoma Plaza. The development includes four 3,240 sq. ft. 4-bedroom homes that provide each resident with their own bedroom and bathroom, plus shared common areas. Sweetwater Spectrum also consists of a 2,300 sq. ft. community center, 1-acre farm, greenhouse, and large therapy pool. Trained volunteers, a farm manager, and an on-site executive director, and activities coordinator add support to this peaceful setting. 


The design and enrichment activities choices that went into the building of Sweetwater Spectrum have created a supportive residential community that accommodates individuals with a full range of autism spectrum disorders. The community challenges each individual to reach their fullest potential, live life with purpose, and adapt to the world given their unique disability.


Sweetwater Spectrum is a new and innovative concept, not only for the 16 residents, but also as a model that can be reproduced in communities throughout California and across the nation.