Chances are you’ve been hearing about the epidemic of childhood autism for years now and maybe you’ve also heard that there is no cure for autism. Autism is a lifelong disability and children don’t stay children forever. The epidemic of childhood autism is becoming an epidemic of adulthood autism.
So, what happens when childhood ends? When individuals with autism grow up? Early diagnosis and intervention may alleviate symptoms and improve behaviors, but as children transition from adolescence to adulthood, they remain dependent on parents or caregivers, and still require levels of support and assistance.
When children with autism turn 21, they age out of schooling and the services that were available to them as students abruptly end. But their special needs do not suddenly, magically disappear. They require teaching and supervision in order to maintain the skills they’ve learned and apply them in new contexts. They can still learn to be more independent and take better care of themselves. They can be part of a workforce and productive members of our communities.
Adults with autism need support form their community.
Young adults with autism face so many new challenges. Learning to adapt to new relationships, new schedules and new situations is not easy for them, but with proper supports, they are capable of responding to the difficulties that confront them and overcome the obstacles they encounter.
Community integration also helps others to better understand what individuals with autism are like, to see them as individuals, to see that our participants are capable of contributing, that they can be productive, that they want to work. We put a great deal of effort into identifying appropriate job sites and employment opportunities where our participants can fill a void in the workforce, and in finding forms of recreation that they can enjoy.
Adults with autism
want to work.
They want to contribute, and want to be a part of the world that surrounds them. And they can. But only with help and support from employers who can provide jobs, recreational facilities who can offer classes and our first responders who, when trained can provide protection when needed.