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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid