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Adults with Autism? What a Novel Idea!

Posted Apr 06 2010 12:00am

Question mark kids By Anne Dachel
April 1, ABC News ran the story, Nation's First Adult Autism Clinic .     Here's what was said on the video: A mother asked: "What do you know about a 30, 40, 50 year old person who is diagnosed with autism?  You never hear about it.  The gap is obvious. There is no organized conversation about this topic."

We were told about the nation's first ADULT autism clinic serving adults disabled with autism in California and we were given some stunning information about autism's impact on that state: "Most people with autism in CA are three to 18 years old so the problem of addressing their needs as they become adults will only grow."

"Besides their medical needs, the costs of their social services are great too.  The California Dept of Developmental Services says the state spent nearly $11,000 in 2007 on services for each child and young adult with autism.  After age 21, those costs more than triple when the state starts paying for food, shelter, and transportation expenses the parents used to pay for."

The doctor at the adult clinic said that his service is "a life preserver in a sea without many landing spots." 
Not once does anyone answer the obvious questions:

Where are all these autistic kids coming from?
Why is this the nation's FIRST adult autism clinic?
Why don't we know about 30, 40, or 50 year olds with autism?
Why aren't there services for adults?

And last of all: |

How is CA ever going to provide for the tidal wave of young autistic adults about to descend on social services?
As far as the ordinary viewer in California is concerned, this has got to raise concerns.  Someone is going to have to foot the bill for all this autism.  The money from the DDS in CA comes from the taxpayers.  How come no one ever warned them these young adults with autism were coming?   How come as nation we haven't made stopping the epidemic our number one priority?

How does any of this make sense in light of the fact that officials have told us for years that there's been no real increase in autism?

And just in case you might think that this is only California's problem, watch the news video from from April 2 on CBS 42 Montgomery, AL:
In this we were told that "In the last 10 years, the number of people in AL diagnosed with autism has increased by more than 3,000 percent."    Furthermore the news anchor announced the topic saying, "The condition is known as autism and it's reached epidemic proportions."
They gave lots of grisly details about what autism is doing: "What was an undiagnosed condition just two decades ago is now found in one in every 110 children." One mom said, "Autism is a life long disorder.  You don't grow out of autism. You don't get cured from Autism. And all these children are going to become adults with Autism."

"State Representative Cam Ward doesn't need the annual reminder he stares the condition in the face everyday while home with his own children. Ward has been a champion in Montgomery helping secure the little money that programs receive.

"Ward says he understands the need for the expansion of services to better accommodate adults living with the disorder.

"We have to look at transition services, job training, all across the spectrum. We have to look at services from age 3 to death. So yes we do have a lot to do."

What is most baffling about both stories is that NO ONE CAN EXPLAIN WHY THIS IS HAPPENING.  Health authorities and doctors have watched the numbers pile up higher and higher and continue to scratch their heads, almost proud of their ignorance.
They continue to "study" autism going up one blind alley after another.  Media people take their cue from medical community which barely notices autism is happening and never shows any alarm.
An even more incredible aspect was presented on April 3 Michigan Public Radio . They featured a talk on a MI State University study showing that special education teachers need training in working with autistic children: 
"A Michigan State University study finds many special education teachers don't feel well-equipped to teach children with autism.

"Preliminary findings from the MSU study show some special education teachers don't feel confident in their skills, and many say they don't have high expectations for their students."
For years the federal government and medical experts have pretended that all the autism is just the result of "better diagnosing" by doctors.  However, these stories show us that autism is something we're simply not prepared for.  And although they love to take credit for the explosion in autism, no expert has ever shown us a comparable autistic population among adults.
It is so clear that no one will report on this as A CRISIS until we're flooded with autistic adults who have nowhere to go.  No one will seriously demand answers until the cost makes it an emergency. 
As long as doctors and health officials continue the façade that nothing is really wrong, the members of the media have no choice but to resort to this senseless reporting.  (And I'd like to tell the announcer in Montgomery that NO OFFICIAL HAS EVER CALLED AUTISM AN EPIDEMIC.)
Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.

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