Bittersweet Farms

Bittersweet’s philosophy draws on its groundbreaking farmstead model and best practices for autism support. It is summarized by the acronym “M.A.P.S.”

Meaning and Motivation

For individuals with autism, the most meaningful and motivating tasks have a clear beginning and end, observable progress along the way, and a rewarding end result. Growing produce from seed to harvest is one example. Bittersweet’s philosophy prioritizes these tasks and incorporates meaning and motivation across all programs.

Aerobic Activity

Like any holistic approach, Bittersweet’s philosophy encourages aerobic activity with an emphasis on outdoor activity in the farmstead setting. This is immensely beneficial for the physical and mental health of individuals on the autism spectrum, as is true for all people. For this reason, aerobic activity is included in the daily schedules of Bittersweet participants.

Partnership and Planning

Partnership is the core of Bittersweet’s philosophy. At Bittersweet, staff are not tasked with doing things for participants; instead, participants and staff work alongside one another in partnership. This fosters mutual respect, equality, and independence. Bittersweet’s person-centered planning approach further supports these outcomes. Each individual is empowered to create a support plan based on their personal goals and unique abilities, and this plan provides stability and guidance for their daily life.

Structure and Support

Daily structure, support, and consistency are crucial for individuals with autism. At Bittersweet, structure and support takes the form of individualized written or visual daily schedules, verbal cues, clearly defined transition routines, task analysis sheets which outline the steps of given tasks (pictured at left), and more.

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