I built a £13,000 house in my garden for my autistic brother – The Florida Star

A woman has built a house for her autistic brother in her garden for £13,000 and says it has been a game-changer by giving him the independence he needs. Tiffany Chou, 36, an accessories designer, returned to Maui, Hawaii, USA, in 2019, from New York, USA, to care for her brother, Chris, 33, after hearing that he was unhappy in his residence.

The siblings – who are both adopted – had not lived together for 15 years, so Tiffany was worried about what it would be like as she says Chris’ behavior could be ‘difficult’. Tiffany and her boyfriend, Erin Reid, 38, an artist, decided to build a cottage for Chris in their back garden. “There was a small structure in our backyard that Erin tore down and rebuilt from scratch. The house was built from salvaged materials and outfitted with second-hand furniture to keep costs down,” Tiffany said.


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♬ Pennies From Heaven – Remastered – Louis Prima

Chris got to choose the colors for his house and helped build it first. After three months of construction, Chris was able to move into the house in August 2022. Erin managed to assemble the structure for just £13,000 and built it in three months.

The space is equipped to meet his needs – such as a bathroom and a water tank right next to his bedroom – as Chris is often thirsty at night. His kitchen has an induction hob to make sure it doesn’t stay on and he has his portioned food in his fridge. The house has given Chris newfound independence and means that Tiffany and Chris still have their own space – which is essential after welcoming their daughter, Luna, in September 2022. Chris loves being an uncle and is great with Luna.

Tiffany said: “I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I came back and welcomed Chris. It took us time to find the best solution for him to live with us. It can be a bit noisy and overwhelming so we decided if it had its own independent space, seconds away from us, that would be ideal. He loves it and the change has been amazing. He will do his dishes without being asked. It really helped him to be more independent.

Tiffany has also set up a drop-off market – a business offering creative and social employment opportunities for adults with disabilities – like Chris. “The name is inspired by the story of Chris when he was found abandoned in a market,” she said. “We want to hire more adults like Chris to give them opportunities.”

Produced in association with SWNS.

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