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Will Dateline NBC Light It Up True with "Aging Out With Autism - On The Brink"?

Aging Out

Dateline NBC Investigates 'Aging Out' with Autism in "On the Brink" - Madison House Autism Foundation SUNDAY, APRIL 12.

Kate Snow Shares Powerful Stories Of Young Adults Living With Autism And Their Families' Desperate Search for Specialized Support

Dateline's "On the Brink" Airs Sunday, April 12 at 7pm/6c

NEW YORK - April 9, 2015 - On Sunday, April 12 at 7pm/6c, NBC's Dateline will air "On the Brink," a powerful new report, three years in the making, that puts a spotlight on autism's 'aging out' crisis. Over the next ten years, an estimated half a million young people with autism will turn 21 and 'age out' -- losing their eligibility for help through the education system. The stability and structure they have had nearly their whole lives will end, and there's no equivalent support system to take over. "On the Brink" takes an unprecedented look at the lives of young adults with autism and the extraordinary measures parents take to provide their children with specialized services and a better future.


"The joy they feel in this moment masks the terror and dread lurking just below the surface. "

"It's a tsunami of children who are aging to adult life."

"The burden of caring for Eric and Nick will fall almost entirely on their families. "


Lisa Galen

Several issues regarding "On the Brink." First of all, yes there is a dearth of quality programs for ALL students "aging out" of special education. At some point in their education, the differences between individuals with Autism, neurological impairments, and retardation are semantic, and their needs are not that different. We all fall on various continua of functionality, and by the later teenage years, it has usually become clear what the capabilities of a student who has been receiving good educational services will be.
As an earlier poster (Marcy Rappaport?) noted, transitional planning should have begun when these children were 18. The schools and programs who serviced these families would have encouraged them to investigate possibilities, get their child's name on waiting lists, and if appropriate, get them into some form of vocational training, The parents should have had a clear idea of what would happen when the child turned 22 (in Massachusetts, children are serviced by their public school system up until their 22nd birthday) so that they could have some training and a plan of how to help their child to maintain skills until a more comprehensive program. I think that these parents, and their child's program providers dropped the ball.
Believe me, as a sibling of an adult with special needs, and as a retired special educator, I understand what a difficult transition this is. Parents of children on the autism spectrum have advocated well for their children's needs, and to a very great extent, many school systems have responded by providing many services that other special needs populations would have also benefitted from. However, I believe that some parents of autistic individuals continue to believe that there is something very different about their child's needs that distinguish them from other adolescents and young adult children with developmental disabilities.
There are good, even great programs out there. There are non-profit agencies that will assist families in seeking services. These boys are so lucky to have families who have some intellectual, financial and psychological wherewithal to seek out and press for these services There are so many others with developmental and mental health issues who lack these resources, and have no one to fight for them.

Jim Scott, RN

With reference to your program on autistic children aging out of their schools, a mother was featured commenting that sheltered workshops amounts to "warehousing" these kids and that the shops should close.
I strongly disagree with this. It amounts to using a sound byte to describe a very complex issue.
What will become of these kids when the parents are no longer alive? How ill they obtain care and live a useful life if all they have ever known is life at home with their parents? Without these facilities to teach them useful skills, earn wages and enable them to socially cope with others, the outlook for them is indeed dim. The only thing that withdrawing this service will do is to increase the numbers of the homeless and further overburden our mental health care facilities.

Kay Rokovich

Thank you Dateline for airing "Light It Up True with "Aging Out With Autism - on The Brink"! I am a Mom of two sons with Autism 26 and 16. When I watched the program and listen to the Moms talk about their sons, they were talking about my older son who is 26. My husband and I have been fighting for services since our son graduated from high school in 2007. He and our younger son have been on waiting lists for a very long time for additional services. We live in Texas and were we live their are no good services or places for our older son to go. We worry what is going to happen when we are no longer alive, who will take care and look after our sons.

Monica Branton

I know autism needs more attention as do a lot of social service programs. But why didn't the school prepare these parents way in advance? And why all the horrible food like sugary pop and cake? I understand it is tough and can't imagine their heart goes out to them.

George Rico

Unfortunately I missed this Episode. Any chance you can re-air this Episode? where can I see this Episode?

num guy

Hello Folks:

If you think there is no link between vaccines and autism, kindly watch these two short videos and you can make up your own mind.

One of them is from a pediatrician and the second is by a Prof. from MIT.

I hope Dateline would interview these two individuals.

Please sign this petition on that would remove the immunity unjustly granted to vaccine makers by Congress in 1986.


Please check Bakersfield ARC in bakersfield, ca. Non profit paid for by state of ca. For 18+ adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many programs from sexier disability to work out in the community. But state is going to change laws so every adult must work and get paid minimum wage. That means businesses will only hire high functioning and very few hours.

Sheryl L

Availability and accessibility to services and funding varies from state to state. As a mom to a special needs adult who does not have autism, but has many ASD traits, and will be aging out in about a year, from my experience there is actually a lot more that those diagnosed with ASD are eligible for than those who are not. My son is eligible for next to nothing because he is high functioning intellectually, is not diagnosed with ASD, however he is severely impaired in so many ways that will make it extremely difficult for him to manage in any post-secondary life path. The "system" is so broken when it comes to helping young adults with special needs. I hope for my son's sake and so many others out there like him it gets "fixed" asap!


I don't know much about this foundation, but thought I'd put up the link. It's purpose is specifically for those individuals who have aged out of the system...

Adrienne Struck

I am really glad that you created this special. It really has raised awareness of Autism. It would have been better if you would have shown the life of one boy and one girl. I have a daughter with aaspergers who has a 4 year old child. Since females are traditionally more social, aspergers is an incredibly difficult challenge. Please provide more information on the female perspective. I'm sure information about someone like Dr Temple Grandin would be helpful.

Ed Krass

The Friendship Circle of West Bloomfield, Michigan an outstanding program for young adults with autism. They are opening soon the Soul Cafe which offers a cafeteria, art gallery, and classes for young adults with autism enabling to work and cook in the cafeteria, paint and sell their paintings, design and produce shirts to sell.

Marcy Rappaport

As a Medicaid Service Coordinator working at a not-for-profit agency that supports the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities I am appalled by how the entire field was misrepresented. There are a myriad of programs for individuals (day habilitation, Independent Support Services, community habilitation, SEMP, etc) available to individuals once they age out from school. Why were agencies not included or mentioned as a resource (AHRC, ACLD, Community Mainstreaming Associates, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Human First, QSAC, REAL and many more)? The two individuals followed were done a disservice by their schools as they should have been referred to an agency at the beginning of 12th grade. Without including not-for-profit agencies a huge disservice was done to all those individuals aging out of school now and in the future. It is even sadder that Dateline did not do their due diligence in researching the storyline and subject before airing.


I am currently watching this show on the brink with a daughter who is autism spectrum and is twenty. I will tell you this story has been needing to come for quite some time. There will be so many children aging out with nowhere to go. It is the saddest thing for our future. My daughter has been trying to get a job for the last year. She is sweet and kind.

Loretta Yates

I am watching the program now. THANK YOU SO MUCH, NBC!!! We have two boys (men) with this . Now 19 and 26. We have kept them in college but, there are really no continuing programs that are helping. We all need help with this. They are AWESOME boys that play by all the rules and are so kind. They have MUCH to contribute but, need the opportunity. We (parents) are aging. What comes next?


Why would anyone think that NBC would show anything close to the truth? They're just going to say that there is no true increase in autism, they've always been here, they were just misdiagnosed with MR and hidden away in institutions (which is totally not true, or we'd have institutions FULL of hundreds of autistic adults in every city).

If you check out the preview, you can see one of the moms slicing a grocery-store birthday cake for her son, so we can assume that she doesn't know about gluten/casein/candida issues and autism.

It will only be downhill from there.

We will probably hear all about how they never had problems with their vaccines--and for all we know, maybe they didn't. As we know, there are many forms of mercury and aluminum poisoning.

I apologize for being so negative, but I'm not getting my hopes up.


All I'm hearing is the storm to be created when all these people with autism age out. Does anyone hear my cry? I have an adult age 41 who aged out long ago. Texas is still talking about reluctance to send individuals is their state school institutions out in the community. Texas has more institutions for the disabled than any other state. They are spending $200,000 a year on keeping individuals there. You can't create community opportunities when you are putting all the money
into institutions.

Tim Lundeen

Interesting that NBC is airing this after last week airing a totally irresponsible episode of Law and Order SVU that makes measles look like a deadly epidemic and those who question the efficacy vaccines look like self-serving, ignorant, people...
Yes - the Aging Out of People with Autism is a crisis. But so is the fact that not one politician or media person will insist that the link to vaccines and autism be fully and completely researched with double blind randomized studies.....

num guy

Sadly, vaccine makers have no incentive to change their ways. They make huge profits but are totally protected from lawsuits because Congress granted them immunity

in 1986. We the taxpayers are paying for the damages they are causing. Sound familiar? Privatizing profits while socializing risk!!

If you want to chage this, please sign this petition on

Kindly pass this on to everyone you know. Together, hopefully, we can make a change.


@Tim Lundeen:

That link says, "page not found." Can you re-post?

Tim Lundeen
Anne McElroy Dachel

How can NBC News talk like this without making AUTISM itself into a crisis, not just the shortage of adult services? Why is there nothing for adults already in place? Will this just be more of the mystery?

The autism increase has been explained as "better diagnosing" by NBC in the past. They've also cited unspecified prenatal factors, but there's never been a call for answers or any real concern over the dramatic increases in autism. NBC has never used the word "crisis" in the past when they reported on autism. NBC has never conducted a three year investigation on the ever-increasing autism rate. They never made an effort to find where adults are right now.


Benedetta yeah- with a vendetta!

Stunned about Stossel - I kind of stop watching Fox. Wonder if Stossel is now going to have to go look for a another job.

Giant wave of young adults with autism splashing upon the shore - But that means it is just one giant splash and then the ocean returns to normal.

They have been vaccinating these kids brains out - with no let up for 25 years; since 1990. So 25 years from now there are still going to be lots of bodies on the beach.


California's Medi Cal program still discriminates against adults with autism. They won't fund ABA for adults under 21. That's like saying adults with autism who are over 21 can't get medical treatment.....I say a lawsuit is coming.....


Anything on mainstream media can't be good, and this dateline will be no better, just more lies and partual truths, I wouldn't waste my time watching.

Bob Moffitt

If the public acknowledgement .. by one of the three major news networks (NBC) .. in primetime on Sunday night ..that a "half million (500,000) young people will turn 21 and "age out" .. losing their eligibility for help through the education system .. does not FINALLY END the public health myth there is "no increase in autism" .. nothing will.

It will be interesting to see how NBC will attempt to "explain" why so many are "turning 21" over the coming years .. cautiously hopeful .. they will not suggest these 500,000 young adults were "created" by "better diagnosing or a broader definition".

Just think for a moment .. 500,000 children have been diagnosed autistic over the last 2 decades (20 years).. while .. at the very same time .. our public health agencies and main-stream media were busy creating mass hysteria over a couple of hundred cases of measle outbreaks during those same 20 years. TWENTY YEARS OF BOUGHT AND PAID FOR DENIAL.

Yesterday .. on Foxnews "STOSSEL" .. his topic was in the form of a question: "Should vaccines be mandated". His "honored guest" was Dr. Manny Fernandez and the show began with a quick view of Jenny McCarthy stating her belief there are "too many, too soon" vaccines being given our children.

Dr. Manny .. who favors "mandates" .. suggesting some type of punishment .. fines or loss of school opportunities .. of parents refusing the mandate. To make his argument .. Manny immediately began criticizing both .. Jenny and parents .. who are refusing to vaccinate their children .. and .. surprise, surprise .. used the latest measles outbreak as his example of the terrors that lay ahead should more and more people refuse to vaccinate .. telling Stossel that measles has been known to kill millions of children "all over the world" .. before the vaccine arrived. John .. to his immense credit .. calmly informed Manny that not ONE child has DIED from measles in the US in decades .. but .. he stated 67 children have DIED from the MMR vaccine.

Stunning statistic to hear actually spoken .. and .. Dr. Manny's response was also stunning .. reluctantly admitting that not ALL vaccines on the schedule are of equal need .. which .. though Manny never actually said the words .. is exactly how the program began with Jenny's statement "too many, too soon"

As I understand it .. STOSSEL believes parents who do not vaccinate their children are STUPID .. but .. as a self-described Libertarian .. to give the devil his due .. he DID state the obvious .. thereby going where others fear to thread.

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