By Kim Stagliano
Hi, friends. Thought I'd provide an autism-adulthood update. My daughter Mia aged out of school in June. Here's what I said four years ago.
"Mia will NEVER ever go to the XYZ Center for a day program. Never. Over my dead body!"
I might be getting old, but I ain't dead yet!
And Mia is indeed going to the XYZ Special Needs organization, which has been in business for decades, five days per week as a member of not just one but two day programs. The first is a relatively new program.
INSERT TIRE SCREECH SOUND: But Kim, you said this organization is decades old? How can this program be new?
Pull up a chair.
This program focuses on AUTISM. The XYZ Center has catered to special needs for decades. But the autism programs are relatively new.
INSERT HEAD SCRATCH SOUND HERE: But, Kim, why are the autism programs new?
Grab an adult beverage.
The programs are new because the population of adults with autism is starting to explode with the early 1990s birth cohort aging out of school. This is AMERICA the beautiful. Land of the newly minted adults who struggle to speak. Home of behaviors. US of Autism.
I would never compromise privacy by snapping a photo of the folks who ride the bus with Mia, so here's a brief description. Five or six adults, male and female alike, all over the age of 50.
Her bus-mates look like this (stock photos from Internet.)
Mia looks like this.
The folks on the bus talk a bit to me when I say hello. One day one of the women helped Mia with her seatbelt. I always ask them how was their day. They came before Mia. Who will come after?
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.