By Natasha Brown
CHESTER SPRINGS, Pa., (CBS) – Marie Louise Ludwig adores her daughter Stephanie. Stephanie has severe autism and has spent the majority of her life in a home in West Chester that accommodated her needs.
But Marie says once Stephanie turned 21-years-old, just a few months ago — things changed drastically.
“On June 28th of this year she graduated and I could tell you pretty much on that day it was like goodbye, pack her suitcase, take her home, because she’s all yours now,” Marie said.
Marie knew this day would come, so four years ago she started a non-profit called Stephanie’s House, hoping to raise enough money to finally create a house for women with autism.
“It was our mission to raise the funds necessary to establish and maintain life homes for women with autism,” she said.
It started out as a mother’s dream. Thanks to tireless fundraising, four years later, and $250,000 later, Stephanie’s House is now a reality.
“Our goal is to have three girls here, in an independent life home,” Marie said.
The home in Chester Springs will be a home to at least three young women with autism.
Marie and her husband still have many renovations ahead, including making sure the home is safe and accessible for the young women and the fundraising to maintain the home will be relentless.
“These children with autism grow up to be adults with autism, and suddenly the parents wake up one morning realizing ‘Oh my God what are we going to do’,” Marie said.
With autism statistics among children in the U.S. on a staggering rise, Marie hopes Stephanie’s House is just the beginning of a mission to create more homes for young adults living with autism.