Autistic children and adults, and the loved ones of those diagnosed with the disorder, have cause to celebrate: the Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States has received a $29 million grant to develop a care program for autistic adults as well as expand its services for autistic children, according to the Boston Globe. This could mean major steps forward in caring for adults with autism around the world.
Every year, about 26,000 children are diagnosed with autism or autism-like disorders, and as those children age, proper care will become crucial. Although largely known as a childhood disorder, autistic children eventually grow up to become autistic adults. Autism, a brain developmental disorder, impedes an individual’s social and communication skills, and some autistic people also show obsessive-compulsive symptoms, such as the tendency to stack and meticulously arrange objects.
There is no cure for autism, though certain treatments and therapies may lessen symptoms. As a result, most adults with autism cannot live independently, and rely on the aid of caregivers and loved ones throughout their lives. Many patients in their 40s continue to see their pediatricians as too many physicians are unfamiliar with how to deal with the disorder. Patients’ difficulty in speech and anti-social behavior cause some doctors to mistakenly prescribe psychiatric medications for treatment.
The grant will fund a program at MGH to train nurses and physicians on how to handle autistic children and adults. It will focus on how to detect illnesses in autistic patients without relying on the patient to explicitly verbalize his or her symptoms. Autistic patients can react violently, passively, or are unable to speak at all, making it crucial for physicians to learn other methods to find out what ails the patients. Social workers will also be brought in to find housing and jobs for the autistic adults in an attempt to integrate them into society rather than fencing them out.
Today, autistic patients are encouraged to find a therapeutic an outlet for their restlessness. In Garden Hill, Myles Kirsh, a 16-year-old with autism, rides his favorite horse Alex to relax and bond with fellow riders and family, according to Northumberland Today. Usually shy and flighty, Kirsh can stay focused on riding for longer than other activities.
With the program underway at MGH, children and teenagers like Kirsh may have better adult care available to them once they grow up.
This post was contributed by Amber Hensley, who writes about the online college reviews. She welcomes your feedback at AmberHensley1980@ yahoo.com.