What Happens to Kids With Autism When They Grow Up? (VIDEO)

Video 33

Autism AwarenessAccording to the latest numbers, one in every 88 children is diagnosed with autism. The rate is even higher among boys, at one in 55.

Moms across the nation are talking about the need for autism awareness, autism research, autism funding -- but one aspect that's often overlooked is what's going to happen to all of these children when they grow up. Moms Matter investigated and found some disturbing information about the resources currently available for adults with autism. See what we found in our video report after the jump.

Help for autistic adults varies from state to state, but in every state, government resources run out for those with autism somewhere between the ages of 18 and 23. After that, adults with autism are pretty much on their own unless they can get help through privately funded organizations.

More from The Stir: The Way Your Baby Cries Could Be a Sign of Autism -- But Don't Panic

In Tennessee, for example, adults with autism can apply for disability help, but in order to qualify, their IQ must be below 70. Obviously, many with autism have moderate or even high IQs, so they don't qualify for special help from the state.

Autism advocates say some adults with autism end up homeless, while others turn up at psychiatric hospitals and receive medication for their problems, when what they really need is therapy. Clearly, with the number of children being diagnosed with autism on the rise, this is an issue that is not going away for our nation any time soon. I was very surprised to discover the lack of resources for autistic adults, and troubled to find that there's not much dialogue going on now regarding how we as a nation are going to handle the rapidly increasing number of autistic adults in the future.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Are you concerned about the lack of resources available to adults with autism? Do you see this as a potential problem for our nation in the coming years? With our economy where it is and funding for existing services already strapped, what's the solution?


Image via BLW Photography/Flickr



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Vegeta Vegeta

I have low functioning autism and so does my brother. Were both adults and I think that people aren't used to it yet in adults. The numbers keep rising of kids that have it, I think that soon it will just be the new normal. Pretty soon people will have it in their head that 'oh that person who was acting a little off probably has autism' rather than 'what a wierdo'. ADHD used to be scary and weird but basically every kid in the 90s had it and it became normal. Biggest problem I have as an adult in the working/customer service field: If I'm not looking at your eyes when speaking to you, I'm not disrespecting you, I just can't do it.

Anne Dachel

Why can't mainstream medicine give us any answers about autism? Why does a once rare disorder with no known cause or cure now strike one in every 88 children, including one in every 54 among boys alone? Why does a healthy two year old like Gabriella lose learned skills and regress into autism? What will it take to get health officials to address autism as the national health emergency that it clearly is?

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism


Anne Dachel

Thank you for telling us the truth about what autism is doing to our children. For years the medical community has taken credit for all the autism, claiming that it's all just better diagnosing of a condition that's always been around.

We clearly see that's not true. If it were, then children like Gabriella and her brother would go where autistic individuals have always gone when they reach adulthood. The problem is, no one has ever been able to show us a population of adults in their 30s, 50s, and 70s with autism at rates even remotely comparable to what we see in our children--especially adults with classic autism whose symptoms are easily recognized. Experts tell us that 80 percent of autistic Americans are under the age of 18. That simple fact should scare everyone.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

Maurine Meleck

The numbers of those with autism are rising faster than Jack's beanstock. The government, doctors and the media have all failed our children on the spectrum. They haven't a clue or do they? The fact is that autism is NOT a mental disorder, but a neurodevelopmental and metabolic disorder. These children are sick with oxidative stress, immune dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease and encephalopathy, Most doctors treat them as if they have a mental disorder. The tsunami of adults is coming and soon. The US is totally unprepared for this. Most people just roll their tongues(except for autism families) and repeat the 2 decade old addage, "There is no rise as it's just better recognition and diagnosing."
Maurine meleck, SC

nonmember avatar Cynthia Reece

The numbers 1 in 88 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder are among 12 year olds today, so the actual numbers/statistics are higher. Why isn't our government and the CDC reacting and doing something about it? You know why? Because these kids are not dropping dead left & right but 36 kids dying of influenza between late last year & earlier this year, and OMG the country has reason for panic and hysteria.

kerryket kerryket

Adults with autism have been pointing this out for quite some time.

nonmember avatar Sarah

Towson University's Hussman Center for Adults with Autism in Maryland is doing some terrific programs for adults with autism in Maryland.

Char_... Char_gal4

I have high functioning Asperger's Syndrome.  I say before your child turns 18, look into your state's Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (may be different in other states).  Through this group, I learned to drive (got my license at 18), and went through college (no financial help: I had savings).  They offered to pay for my books, and we are seeking reimbursement for the certification exam I took for medical coding (I passed!).  I now have job counseling, and I volunteer at an animal shelter twice a week.

But a lot of these things were difficult to find out.  We had scares when budget cuts threatened to affect who benefits from vocational rehab (though it makes no sense to me: it's turning those who might have needed welfare into viable taxpayers!). 

Rando... Randomlady

I agree with the people saying it is a metabolic disorder and not a mental illness. Once a child is diagnosed autism they don't try to delve deeper into why this child is acting like they are. A lot of kids are helped by the early intervention program but not all of them. I am a stepmom to a 4 year old with severe autism and the way doctors just look at him and say he's perfect but has autism astounds me. True story, I had to be very adamant when he had worms, the doctor was blaming the itching and diaper throwing on autism too! I'm ranting but what I'm trying to say is something is causing this, it isn't just the fact diagnosis has gotten better.

marci... marcie1455

I worry being a mother of a four year son who is non-verbal and diagnosed with autism.  I wonder about his future everyday.  I work hard to try to help him.  I have to always focus on the moment, because I would run myself totally nuts just thinking about what will happen to my son someday, especially if something happens to me.  I pray that he will gain the ability to communicate someday.


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