I’ve been watching the media cover autism for about 12 years now and I can tell you that I’ve never seen a news story yet that reassures parents about the future. No reporter has been out there talking about all the options available and all the educational/vocational/residential possibilities. I want to see where the 40, 50, 60, and 70 year olds with autism are living and working. I want to see the nonverbal adults, the ones who hand flap, the ones who wander, and ones who have seizures and bowel disease. If no one can show us those people out there somewhere then officials have a lot of explaining to do.
I posted a comment.
Sept 30, 2014 PBS: Adults with autism deserve a system that allows them to thrive
The picture you probably have in your mind of autism is that of a child. But autism is almost always – if not always – a condition that lasts for life. We are the parents of a 22-year-old young man with autism. He barely recognizes our presence, but clearly knows us better than most other people. He cannot speak, but he can read and type to communicate on an app for his iPhone. He cannot use a spoon or button his clothes, but can find Barney videos on YouTube. He is completely unaware that cars are dangerous and cannot cross a street without assistance. He is a representative of the many with autism who are not well known to the media, or to society - not the verbal, gifted, and in some ways sympathetic Rain Man, but the ones with very little social awareness, scattered skills and often challenging behaviors. He is also an example of the obstacles faced as children with autism grow into adulthood. After age 21, his schooling ended. But his needs didn’t change. He has always needed 24/7 care, and he always will. . . .
But let’s not pretend: all of these needs are so much harder to provide for individuals with autism. And, many, if not most such individuals, will not be able to earn enough to provide for their needs themselves, at least in our present system. . . .
Outside residential services are typically a group home or, for a higher functioning adult with autism, may even be an apartment. The hitch is that the number of disabled individuals needing outside residential services vastly outnumbers the spots available. Thus, waiting lists that can be, for all practical purposes, almost infinitely long. It is not unheard of for a widow in her 80s to be forced to keep caring for her autistic son in his 60s.