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Dachel Wake Up: Preparing for Adulthood with Autism

Dachel Morning Wake UoOct 13, 2016, WFMZ TV (Allentown, PA): Life Lessons: Training kids with autism for the workplace

The number of adults living with autism is growing every year. In Pennsylvania, authorities say the number has tripled in the last six years.

It's a particular concern for health care providers who want to try to help adults with autism live independently....

The unemployment rate of young adults with autism is estimated to be around 90 percent. In response, there's a new idea in the Lehigh Valley that aims to be life changing for the future of kids with autism. It's a program to let kids with autism figure out exactly what they can do so when they get out in the working world they can be successful.

CICS is in the midst of a major expansion and part of it will be Creative Abilities Vocational Initiative for high school students and young adults on the autism spectrum that will include a makerspace area for high school students and young adults on the autism spectrum and other neuro-diversities.

In Nov, 2014, Drexel University reported that Pennsylvania was providing services to over 55,000 children and adults with autism. (That was up from 20,000 five years earlier in 2009.)

This coverage from WFMZ sounds very progressive. People are addressing the needs of young adults with autism and making use of their skills. But it's also misleading the public. There is no mention of the rate of autism or the specific number of Pennsylvanians affected. The one statistic given, "the unemployment rate of young adults with autism is estimated to be around 90 percent," is merely said in passing, but it speaks volumes.

No one questions why nothing is being done about middle aged people with autism. Why are young adults the only concern?

The opening sentence, "The number of adults living with autism is growing every year," begs the question: WHY? If there has always been autism everywhere, shouldn't the number be pretty steady?

From 2009 to 2014 the autism numbers more than doubled. What if that continues and by 2020 there are over 100,000+ (mostly young peope) in the state with autism? When does this become more than "a particular concern for health care providers"? When does it start to be a crisis where we ask for some kind of explanation?

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.


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We need RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH to find, dare I say it, THE CURE for all our vaccine damaged children NOW! Autism Speaks has given up on our children as they are no longer looking to find a CURE. The analogy is like saying to a cancer patient, or someone with Parkinsons or MS or any other condition that there is no hope for you! I am shocked that the board of directors at Autism Speaks has decided on this policy.

Angus Files

Its not good that's so far 8 months into leaving school now aged 19 years mental age is just the same around 2 years old at best (school assessed) .To look at what a lad, but the brain has long since departed..sadly. The local council see it as a cut cost exercise come what may and the only qualification to be a carer, is not to have a criminal record that's all. You don't need any qualifications, you don't need to speak English, zero ..that's who`s looking our for them when we all slip of this mortal coil.


Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Anne, Thanks for pointing out that 90% unemployment for autistic adults is something new.

My 54-year-old son had a job at Burger King when he was in his 20s. I am eternally grateful to the store manager, Doug Barlow, for hiring my son. My son swept the floors and wiped the tables. Then one day he went missing (as he often still does). Boston police put out an all-points-bulletin, and located him in jail on Cape Cod. He had been apprehended for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Department of Corrections could not handle him.

"Look lady, if we could pack him up and send him home with you, we would," one officer told me.

My son then went into care of the Department of Mental Health (DMH). The best years of his life were at Westborough State Hospital, where he again was employed at the Agnes Clarke Workshop. Assembling bird feeders for Opus GardenSong company was what he enjoyed most. Seeing his work on display at the local Caldors, recommended as Christmas gifts evoked great emotion.

"That's my work!" he exclaimed.

Then at age 40 he was discharged to a "community" group home. For nearly 14 years his only regularly scheduled occupation is one-cigarette every hour on-the-hour.

No, my son 30 years ago was unique. He is high functioning. We have written 2 memoirs together. More severely disabled autistic children are now coming to the attention of "experts" who have no clue what to do. First, the cause of increasing numbers of autistic children must be found. Medical errors affecting so many young children must be identified and stopped.

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