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Nationwide there are currently 80 projects similar to the Sunflower Hill vision either operational or in development. In California, there are 12. Communities and programs like Sweetwater Spectrum in Sonoma, Vine Village in Napa and Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN) in Fremont have set the stage for what’s possible. Each of these organizations sought to develop a community that would allow for the uniqueness of the special needs individual to flourish while still ensuring larger vocational and social integration.
Farm and ranch communities devoted to long-term special needs living have also thrived. Bittersweet Farms in Ohio serves as an early innovator for this concept – offering an option of living and working in an agricultural environment with gardening, small animals and rural operations. Finally, in Mesa Arizona, another paradigm is emerging – a combination community where typical seniors and special needs individuals can age in place together – allowing for both cross community volunteer options and increased levels of care.