Autism After Age 21
What happens when my child is no longer in school?
Where will he live when he no longer wants to live with me?
What is going to happen to my child when I’m no longer around or able to care for him?
These are just a few questions that Easterseals hears from concerned parents of kids with autism. Most children with autism are eligible to receive special education services through the school system until age 21. As the nation’s largest provider of services and support for children and adults living with autism and their families, Easterseals offers services as children with autism grow up and “age out” of the school system.
Easterseals provides services for adults with autism as they navigate barriers they are likely to encounter in their lives. These may include finding a job, going to college, attending day programs, exploring housing options to live independently, managing their finances, transportation solutions as well as community and recreational activities so they can participate in their community.. Easterseals also works with individuals and families to identify other services in the community so young adults with autism thrive in their communities.
Finding a Job
Finding a job is a critical first step toward self-determination and financial independence for adults with autism. Easterseals professionals help people with autism assess their skills, identify employment goals, and provide training to meet those goals. Easterseals also works with businesses to provide resources for employers to recruit and hire people with autism.
Day Programs for Young Adults Who Remain at Home
Easterseals offers day programs for people with autism so they can enjoy socialization and recreational opportunities and participate in the community. While people with autism who participate in Easterseals day programs might need some supervision, they need only minimal assistance with activities of daily living.
Moving Away from Home
Adults with autism have many choices when it comes to living away from home. The primary goal of Easterseals’ residential services is to assure that people with autism can stay in their community in a living arrangement of their choice. Options include:
- Independent Living. Involves living in their own apartment or house with little, if any, support. Services may be limited to complex problem-solving, money management, or budgeting.
- Supported Living. Provides individuals with autism a bit more support, involving a support worker to assist the individual with certain areas of self-care or social planning. Individuals typically have their own apartments but may share living space or live in the same building as others with similar needs.
- Supervised Group Living. Group homes are facilities that provide support for several individuals with disabilities. Group homes are usually located in residential areas and have the physical appearance of the average family home. Professional staff assist residents with daily living and social activities based on individual needs. In some cases, group homes will specialize in providing services to people with autism. Here, the staff are more likely to be trained to better meet the unique needs of people with autism.
- Adult Foster Care. In adult foster care, individuals live in a home with a family. Adult foster care is intended to be as permanent as possible. Families usually receive financial assistance from the government to support individuals with autism in their home. They are not necessarily trained or expected to teach independent living skills.
- In-home Services. Many adults with autism live at home or with a friend or family member. When additional support is needed, in-home services may include a companion, homemaking/housekeeping, therapy and other health services, or personal care.
- Respite Care. Some individuals with autism remain in their parents’ home far into their adult years. Sometimes families receive respite care where a professional comes to the home and provides support services to allow the parents to attend to their own personal, recreational, or social activities.
Community and Recreation Activities
Adults with autism can be active participants in all areas of community life including social and recreational activities. Easterseals programs may include weekends away, evenings out, and other opportunities to participate in recreational activities throughout the year. With more than 100 camping, recreation, and respite programs, Easterseals offers thousands of individuals with autism the chance to develop lasting friendships and develop independence, regardless of their age. Participants enjoy adventures and conquer new physical challenges. Camping programs also offer sessions exclusively for campers with autism.
Outliving Ones Parents
Easterseals partners with health and human service organizations as well as public and private insurers to provide life-changing services and support for children and adults living with autism and other disabilities and special needs and for their families.