Living with autism
Autism can present itself with a variety of individualized issues and attributes.
Some of the main hallmarks of this developmental disability are;
- Social interaction - Difficulty with social relationships, appearing aloof and indifferent to others
- Social communication - Difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures and/or facial expression, tone-of-voice and sarcasm
- Social imagination - Difficulty in the development of play and imagination; for example, having a limited range of creative ability, combined with the tendency for routine or repetitive behaviors
- Unemployment rates for adults with autism hovers at around 90% - largely a result of their social challenges, lack of training and/or on-the-job supports
- Further complicating this scenario; The SSI benefit system, which provides benefits to this population, significantly limits the amount that a qualified beneficiary can earn, crippling their ability to maintain themselves financially**
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, now affects more than 70 million people worldwide, and an estimated 1 in 68 in the U.S. - those numbers are increasing rapidly every year
Within the next 15 years, more than 500,000 Americans with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will enter adulthood, based on the rising incidence of the disorder. Conservative projections indicate nearly 400,000. Either way, the numbers are staggering.
Today, many adults with autism are being cared for by aging parents, who, in most cases, will not outlive their children, leaving them limited options for lifelong support. This growing new subset of the developmentally disabled population - too old for continued support through the special education services of a public school system andtoo fragile to live without support in the larger world - and their families face a complicated system of vocational rehabilitation services, Medicaid, disconnected government agencies, and a lack of appropriate residential care options beyond the obvious ones of keeping them at home or within institutional settings.“The impact that millions of children and young adults with ASD who are transitioning into adulthood cannot be overstated. The dramatic increase in the population of individuals with autism gives rise to serious concern among families, service providers, government officials, and the community at-large that residential services for post-school aged adults with autism must be created as an integral part of a health community’s housing plan and opportunities.’-From 'Opening Doors' A Discussion of Residential Options for Adults Living with Autism and Related Disorders
OPENING DOORS: A Discussion of Residential Options for Adults Living with Autism and Related Disorders
OPENING DOORS is a collaborative Report by the Urban Land Institute (ULA) Arizona, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), the Arizona State University (ASU) Stardust Center for Affordable Homes & the Family and the ASU School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
IN JUNE OF 2004 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTED ON THE TULLIS FAMILY, AND 49 YEAR OLD TIM TULLIS, A MAN WITH AUTISM WHO HAD SHARED A CRAMPED SPACE WITH HIS LOVING 89 YEAR OLD FATHER;
Father and son had spent many long afternoons in pleasant companionship since the passing of Tim's mother five years previous. But one day upon arriving home, Tim found his entire world abruptly upended...
by Clare Ansbury
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
Today, one in 110 children is estimated to have some form of autism spectrum disorder. But back in 1943 there were a total of 12. That was when the first article about a condition “unlike anything reported so far” appeared in a medical journal. A boy named ...
by Lisa Belkin
New York Times Writer
**excerpts from OPENING DOORS: A Discussion of Residential Options for Adults Living With Autism