News / Health

Parents of Autistic Adults Worry About Future

Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challengesi
X
Faiza Elmasry
April 21, 2014 1:21 PM
Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. Assistance often comes from the community of families affected by the same condition. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often, social awkwardness. Faiza Elmasry tells us its goal is to help this population have as full and meaningful a life as possible. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges
Faiza Elmasry
Rafael Angevine can spend hours taking pictures.
 
“I just do it for myself," he said. "I don’t try to set up a scene or anything. I just take pictures.”

Rafael was diagnosed with autism when he was 26. His mother, Noelie, says his father encouraged their son to pursue his passion for photography.
   
“His photographs, the way he sees the found objects, the ordinary objects and picks up what’s beautiful about manmade things as well as what’s in nature, to me this is almost mystical,” she said.

When Rafael’s therapist told Noelie about an art exhibit by autistic artists, she wanted her son to participate.

The exhibit - called "Through Our Eyes" - is sponsored by the Madison House Autism Foundation, a non-profit that advocates for autistic adults.

Co-founder JaLynn Prince named it after her 24-year-old autistic son, Madison. He is one of an estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often, social awkwardness.  Many parents like Prince worry about the future of their adult child, who can face difficulties finding work and housing.

“The most daunting concern is when I’m not around him any longer, who is going to make certain that my son has a happy and productive life?”  Prince said.

The foundation lobbies for legislation to enhance opportunities for adults with autism and reduce barriers to meeting their housing and employment needs.

“Employment is huge because it’s estimated that about 85 percent of those on the spectrum may never have a totally gainful employment,” Prince said.

Sponsoring the exhibit advances another goal of the foundation: promoting understanding and inclusion in the community.

“We don’t have enough physicians that know anything about adults on the spectrum to be able to treat these adults," she said. "We have safety issues in the community. Some of our population tend to wander and what happens if they encounter a police officer and a police officer asks somebody to stop? and  they're not going to stop because they don't know the police officer. And it can escalate before someone even understands that someone may be on the spectrum. They may feel they’re on drugs or something else.”

The art exhibit showcases the work of more than 20 artists and is presented in collaboration with the Universities at Shady Grove in Maryland.

The school's executive director, Stewart Edelstein, says it is a great learning opportunity for his students.

“We are in the process of educating students who will become nurses, teachers, social workers and they are citizens in our community," Edelstein said. "For them to understand in a more deep way the needs of this segment of our community - people with autism - is really important for their professional development.”

Noelie Angevine, Rafael’s mother, agrees that events like this benefit people like her son, and society at large.

“The economy would profit by using the talents of people like Rafael instead of letting them end up on the street,” she said.

It gives her hope that her son will continue to have a good life when she’s no longer around.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anne Dachel
May 14, 2014 4:29 PM

The message here seems to be that adults have autism just like children do, we just need to find them. The truth is, no one has been able to show us a comparable rate among adults, especially adults with severe autism whose symptoms are easily recognized. The current rate of one in every 68 children, one in 42 among boys alone is based on studies of eight year olds, not eighty year olds. Officials tell us that one fourth of autistic children are classified as nonverbal. That means lots of children will be seriously impaired for life.

The young man shown here is very accomplished. He's verbal and skilled. Sadly, that's not true for many children with autism. And while it's encouraging to see art work by autistic artists, we also need to worry about all the severely autistic children who are still in diapers as teenagers, have seizures and bowel disease. Where will they end up?

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism



Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs