The headline "Autism's Lost Generation" refers to children currently coming of age before there are adult services, group homes, vocational training, etc., enough to handle their numbers. The article notes that "in the next 15 years, an estimated 500,000 autistic children will graduate out of school systems in the U.S. and into the unknown."
Audrey will be included in that half a million. If today's generation is the Lost Generation, then she will be a part of the Boomer Generation who will come of age in exactly 15 years. Is anyone out there gearing up for this juggernaut? It sure doesn't sound like it from the article. They talked about the advocacy going on right now for this current generation, and what parents are doing in the face of this dearth of services.
"...parents are calling local businesses to craft makeshift job programs—or even pooling their resources to buy property and hire support staff to create assisted-living situations for groups of autistic adults."This reminded me of my proposal to form an Alpha Sigma Delta fraternity/sorority house for our kids. AS-Delts y'all! OK, maybe not the best nickname. But the idea is a good one, and hopefully by the time I'm den mother to our chapter, the trailblazing parents ahead of me will have worked out all the kinks.
The other thing that struck me about the article was when they spoke of the girl in the article having an older NT sister:
"The Eismans’ older daughter, who is 22 and in graduate school, has said that she’ll always be there for her sister, but (her parents) do not want to force that responsibility on her."You guys with the NT siblings always effing say that. But, be honest, you know that the NT sibling will always be there as a safety net when you are dead and gone and you totally sleep easier at night knowing that. Right? Right. I understand not wanting to tell your 5 year-old how they are going to have to take care of big/little brother/sister for the rest of their lives, but at 22...guess what? You're on the hook, sister.
Audrey doesn't have any siblings and I was 82 when I had her, so this is something I think about every. single. day. I'm petrified at the thought of what will become of her when I am gone. Really really really petrified. But just a teeny weeny smidge short of being petrified enough to actually give her a sibling. I mean, let's not go crazy.
I'm going to be writing more on this cheery subject this week because, as it happens, Thursday is Audrey's annual IEP meeting. And I will be making some decisions presently that will impact her life when she comes to the end of her years within the school system.
But more on that later. As the reader of gozillions of special needs blogs, I know that for me IEP posts are my absolute favorites. *erp* So you have that to look forward to...