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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More