Introducing Ócate Cliffs
Ócate Cliffs is an autistic-run retreat center in Northern New Mexico.
Around 80% of autistic people are unemployed, compared to 5% of the general population. When the media talks about the autism “epidemic,” why aren’t they talking about this?
The scope of the problem is staggering, and something needs to change. The current solutions — like training programs that push autistic people into low-skill labor instead of encouraging them to pursue their potential — aren’t working.
“My name is Star Ford, and together with a group of other autistic people, I’m building an autistic workplace called Ócate Cliffs. Instead of a model that aims to integrate autistic people into the workplace by forcing us into behaviors that are unnatural for us, we’re building a workplace and community where autistic people can be themselves and use their strengths.”
We’re building a wilderness retreat in beautiful northern New Mexico that will be financially self-sufficient by offering retreats for groups of 20 to 60 in comfortable, environmentally sustainable lodges. And all of the staff will be autistic.
Read more about us and why we started Ócate Cliffs here.
It’s worth stressing that this is not just another “great idea” out there, but is steadily progressing. In the first two years we obtained the land – 139 acres – obtained county zoning approval for the project, completed basic waste water engineering, built a road 2 miles from the county road, drilled a well, and built a toilet house. The staff house is over half completed.
It is currently open for rustic camping (water and toilets only), and can be rented out by groups such as churches, other non-profits, and family reunions.
We are located near Ocate, New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. (See contacts and maps.)
(Photos from retreats held 2015 and 2016)