Autism Doesn’t End at Age 21

Reports of autism cases per 1,000 children gre...

Reports of autism cases per 1,000 children grew dramatically in the US from 1996 to 2007. It is unknown how much, if any, growth came from changes in autism’s prevalence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And neither  does the need for services for those with autism.  I have mentioned my son and his autism, but it’s been a while.  I know there are several bloggers who have young children with this life-long disorder, but if there are others with adults, I haven’t found you,  Please, let me know you’re there!!!!  I’ve also written that CT has a program for adults which provides community mentoring and life skills coaching.  He went to Six Flags with his community mentor and is learning to mow the lawn.

photo from wikipedia

Man child is now 26 years old.  He aged out of the education system at 21 and was really doing well for some time.  The CT Bureau of Rehabilitation Services helped him get training and ultimately a very good-paying job at a new distribution center Walgreens built near us.   They have won many awards for working with the disabled population. The program started, so I’m told, because an executive vice-president has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.  Thus the changes in the way Walgreen’s did things in their distribution centers fit highly functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome people reasonably well.  For a time at least they fit my highly functioning (thanks to the super supportive special services he got in his therapeutic day school environment from age 3-21) man child.  With time, the noise, the expectations he do everything all of the neuro-typical employees do and pressures to perform despite the mounting stresses presented on the job made the situation that of putting a square peg in a round hole.  After a bit more than a year he could not do it any longer and had a pretty major meltdown leading him to leave the company. If the changes proposed for the new DSM-V* are approved, as is a given now, it’s my feeling many of those with Asperger’s will no longer be considered to have autism.  It is a relatively mild form (and for those whose kids have it, please don’t think I’m saying your road isn’t rough; I know it is); many of these kids aren’t even diagnosed as young kids but as teens or adults because they sometimes compensate that well.  Anyway, my son was more of a “Rain Man” kind of

Cover of "Rain Man"

Cover of Rain Man

autistic child.  In fact the movie came out when man child was going through a very lengthy diagnostic process and it was recommended I buy a new box of tissues and take it into the theater because I would need the whole box.  I’m happy to say they were wrong telling me that the adult “Rain Man” is all I could expect, he is not even close to a neuro-typical young man.  My son has a sense of humor, reads, (studies the Bible with a group at church in fact), has gone on mission trips with this group, bowls in a league, takes guitar lessons-pretty typical stuff.

One thing that never changes in one with autism is an extreme need for structure.  As you can imagine, when my son had to leave Walgreen’s, finding a new job was not a quick process.  He needed time for his shot nerves to heal, yet that time kept him out of structure longer and it was a vicious cycle of healing yet coming undone because of need for structure beyond what his two physically disabled parents could provide.  He has tried a couple part time jobs without success.  Our meeting today was because he has regressed tremendously, which is just what typically happens with someone with his degree, if you will,  of autism, and the amount of free time his circumstances have put him in.  The job placement agency that has worked with & for him in the past says he’s no longer in a  place that he can handle competitive employment, butAutism Awareness Ribbonneeds highly structured days.  We, his parents, agree.  That means the Department of Developmental Services would be the provider of his services; but they don’t have that information in writing from the rehabilitation agency.  And his lead doctor is on vacation and the letter he sent for this meeting didn’t have enough information for them.  So we are still dangling with waiting for these two state agencies to get their people together to meet about this consumer again during vacation season, the care givers (doctors, therapists) involved to see him again and write more detailed letters, etc.

I’d really appreciate hearing from others with experiences with adult offspring  with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder)  By the way, man child approved this writing.

Janet

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About craftythriftydecoratingwifemom

I thank God for all the wondrous gifts he's given me daily. Reading many of your blogs has inspired me to get busy and stay busy doing things I used to enjoy and just fell away from. And you've given me courage to try new things I've never done before, things I'd have been afraid to try a few months ago. Thank you for your unknown contributions to this woman's life.
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One Response to Autism Doesn’t End at Age 21

  1. So sorry to hear about your son losing his job. Here’s to hoping he can get back into a structured environment soon.
    Kelly

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