By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Aperture International.
Oct 5, 2015, WTOP Washington, DC: Plans brewing for D.C. coffee shop that trains students with autism
Oct 4, 2015, Yahoo Parenting: The Problematic Obsession With ‘Curing’ Autism
Oct 4, 2015, New Orleans Advocate: Baton Rouge Autism Speaker seminars to give tips for law officers, caregivers
And lack of real-world preparation for the workforce is a major concern.
“The fact that roughly 35 percent of students with autism are graduating without getting jobs is a pretty harsh statistic, and it really needs to be addressed in the community,” she says.
The statistic is not a reflection of the students’ capabilities, Pickard says, but rather the support measures in place.
At school, students are immersed in a “really structured and set environment,” but when they graduate, that assistance goes away.
“So there really is a huge need for transitioning students in a systematic way to a less-structured environment with on-the-spot, real-time feedback.”
Pickard says students on the autism spectrum could also use more help practicing job-prep skills, such as how to apply for a position, how to dress appropriately for work and how to interact with customers.
. . .“I have so many parents that reach out to me and write me personal emails, asking to please be put on the waiting list, please give them more information about how their student can get enrolled, so I think that people see a real opportunity here to change their children’s lives.”
As the argument over vaccines grew explosive — it was spurred by a fraudulent 1998 article in The Lancet, which was later retracted — these families were facing a much quieter, less publicized struggle. “The whole world was having this long argument about vaccines but the families and autistic people themselves were dealing with a completely different set of problems,” said Silberman, “which was that there were not enough services and resources for autistic people and their families.”
These factors came together in what Silberman calls “an epidemic of recognition.”
For two decades, Debbaudt has studied the interactions of law enforcement with children and adults with autism. A retired private investigator and father of a 32-year-old son with autism, he has dedicated much of his life to helping families of autistic individuals.
What do these three stories have in common? They're all focused on dealing with an epidemic of disabled children/young adults we somehow have to accommodate.
The WTOP "lifestyle" story may sound like a nice human interest piece about employing the disabled, but it's more evidence that there is nothing for adults with autism and people are worried. It's also wrong. WTOP reports that only 35 percent of young adults graduating from high school are unemployed. That doesn't sound too bad. The truth is employed autistic adults are rare. .
On June 10, 2014, CBS This Morning announced, "It's estimated that 85 percent of adults with autism are unemployed. . . "
Yahoo Parenting gives more coverage to Steve Silberman's book, Neuro Tribes, which is an attempt to convince Americans that what we're seeing everywhere isn't really happening. According to Silberman, autism has always been here, we just didn't recognize it. Over the last twenty years we've been so busy trying to find the cause and the cure that we've neglected providing for adults. We need to get over that mindset and realize that autism is just another way of being human.
Finally the New Orleans Advocate is about more training for law enforcement officers. Stories like this are a regular feature in the news. Police, fire fighters, ETMS etc. have to learn to deal with individuals who may not be able to communicate, may be aggressive or scared. No one ever asks why this is necessary if autism has always been a part of the human condition.
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Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.