* Building a future

In the news:  Parents with autistic children are planning a $12 million community to provide future homes and care for their adult children.  Headed by a Dallas couple with an adult, low-functioning son, this community will provide 15 homes, a community center, and an academic academy.  Read more about the details in this article by the Dallas News.  Although we see many moderate and high functioning kids in an inclusive setting, the low- to-moderate group faces unique challenges as they age related to behavior, social skills, and ability to earn a living.

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Autism Speaks addresses the challenges of providing long term care.  They report that only 24% of caregivers reported that they were on a waiting list for community services and only a quarter of families are saving for future housing needs.  If families cannot secure alternatives, this population is likely to be housed in group homes; as Autism Speaks points out, group homes are confronted by the “not in my neighborhood” mentality.  I did a search of resources in North Carolina and the list looks slim.

As an elementary teacher, I don’t always see where my kiddos end up, but I’ve known a couple of families struggling to care for low-functioning adults in their 60s.  Distant cousins, already in their 60s as well, were strapped as they tried to support their needy relatives.  Thankfully, organizations like Autism Speaks are drawing attention to alternatives and options.