The coming avalanche of autistic adults

As the number of autistic children grows, so does the number of autistic adults. Their needs remain much the same as they age, yet the support they once received fades. Though families like mine are feeling it most acutely, this is an issue for everyone to consider. The tsunami of adults with autism is coming…

For many families, there is no choice other than to keep their adult children at home. According to a National Autistic Society survey, 70% of adults with autism need support services, and 49% live with their parents. Very few adults with autism live fully independently. Family members suffer financially and emotionally from this burden, typically with little or no support. And, like us, many families are also caring for aging parents and other family members at the same time. I also care for my 95-year-old mother and my disabled husband.

While my daughter receives monthly disability benefits, the below-poverty-level amount doesn’t begin to cover the cost of the services she needs. Typically, I take my daughter to the grocery store weekly and help her shop for healthy food that is within her budget. I take her to her doctor’s appointments and take notes about what she should be doing. I manage her finances and all the paperwork associated with her benefits. I deal with weekly crises, such as the time she fell off a ladder while changing a light bulb, and the time she was sheltering a drug addict from the addict’s abusive boyfriend.