Finding support for adults with autism

Graphic by Kash Patel

Autism is a tricky thing because no two cases are the same. Many individuals with autism are slotted into a cookie cutter way of being dealt with and end up being treated as a problem to be taken care of, not a person with potential to thrive.

Many of them are nonverbal and remain that way long into adult years. There isn’t enough time, support or education for parents to encounter behavioural challenges, set up an IEP, to help their kids succeed the best they can. It doesn’t help that the majority of parents of kids with autism are divorced, so they go at it without a vital partner to lean on.

I’ve had personal experience witnessing the frustrations accompanied with raising special needs kids. Neither of my brothers fit into the typical mold that suits many other individuals with autism. Finding ways for them to thrive has been extremely difficult. 

I interviewed my Mum on the topic. She explained: “I’m disappointed in the school system… they give you this package that tells you all of these wonderful programs available to your adult child. Our adult child doesn’t fit into these types of programs.”

Kids like my brothers could fit well into a regular classroom with more support. They might be disruptive on occasion, but this would be a perfect time for schools to adopt coping mechanisms in with teacher training rather than sticking neurodivergent kids into a class where their development is stunted.

They could teach students that some people don’t think like them, and that there needs to be patience so these kids can get the same quality of attention and learning.

Autism support has never seemed to be a priority. Something needs to be done to encourage more education in the special ed field for the kids who aren’t neurotypical. 

Dealing with issues accompanied with a disability doesn’t stop at school. There is not enough education, dedication or funding going towards helping kids with autism thrive in the world. 

More often than not, they are warehoused. Those that do not fit the expected mold receive no help to achieve what they are capable of, and are stunted.

Despite the severe lack of support, my brothers have been able to thrive. My mother stayed at home, dedicating her life to fight for her boys education and development. They have overcome many obstacles.

One brother knows just about anything from surfing the web all day, reading about any question that comes to mind. The other brother can beatbox, act, make and edit videos, draw, dance, sing and is way too sassy.

For people who were told they would probably never be able to speak, they sure have come a long way. But the majority of parents simply don’t have the resources to educate themselves. 

It becomes even more challenging when these kids turn 18. 

Since my brother became an adult, there has been a huge legal commitment that my parents weren’t expecting. There has been no information, notification, not even a website to help parents with children with autism make the transition.

There has been no information regarding legal aspects my parents must cover once their kids turn 18. My Mum has taken it upon herself to find resources, put together a document and hand it to the school board so that other parents might have an easier time dealing with this. 

Autism support has never seemed to be a priority. Something needs to be done to encourage more education in the special ed field for the kids who aren’t neurotypical. 

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