New Jersey, USA. In America, children with disabilities are entitled to social services until they are 21 years of age.
Kristina Chew’s son, Charlie, is severely autistic and has intellectual disabilities. He will soon be 16 ½ and this has prompted Kristina to think about preparing for his future as an adult on the autistic spectrum.
It is reported that in New Jersey that the waiting list for housing for individuals with developmental disabilities has over 8,000 people on it. The average waiting time to gain a residential place is 15 years.
Kristina is quoted in the Guardian newspaper as saying:
“With Charlie getting older (and Jim and I too), a gnawing anxiety has taken root in us. In the US, children with disabilities are “entitled” to receive services until they are 21 years old under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It’s a different story for adults.”
Autism Speaks conducted a survey into the needs of Autistic adults and found
‘Out of the 10,000 caregivers and 400 individuals who are themselves on the spectrum who responded to the survey, 84% of caregivers reported that an individual on the autism spectrum is currently living at home. Nearly 70% said they had no outside help to provide care.’
Kristina voices that many families are left to care by themselves with very little help from outside resources.
She also highlights the case of missing autistic teenager, 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, who has been missing since he wandered from his New York City school on 4 October. She highlights that children like her son who are nearing independence need more support than ever before.
Kristina ends by saying that she wants to give Charlie the best chance possible as he starts the rest of his life.
You can read the original article on the Guardian website here.
You can follow Ms. Chew on Twitter.