Monday, November 26, 2007

Since she brought the subject up…

A bitch was pleased to read that Senator Clinton would increase funding into autism research and education

…but I’d like to see some of that money go to adult autistics too.

Oh, I know that the press is in love with autism right now because the revised spectrum has resulted in a better understanding of just how common an autism diagnosis is.

But the press has failed…horribly…to point out that autism is not a childhood illness just because symptoms appear when a person is a child.

Autistics grow up.

Education is great and more funding will certainly help the many families who can not afford programs that will help their child become an adult who can participate in society.

But autistics grow up and that 1 in 150 estimated figure should be a warning bell to policy makers that major funding increases in adult care and job training programs are needed now and sure as shit will be needed in a few years.

So go forth and fund research for a cure and research into treatments. I hope all the candidates intend to fund education and expand the availability of those programs to all families.

But all y’all need to know that the thousands of autistic adults who woke up autistic today and will, by the grace of God, wake up autistic tomorrow need a commitment to healthcare, job training, work programs and residential care.

I’ll say it one more time…autistics grow up.

This Missouri voter would like some of that $700 million to go towards funding adult programs for people like my older autistic as hell but loves to work brother so his ability to participate and add value to our community isn’t on the quarterly cutting block.

A bitch would like everyone and anyone who talks about autism to recognize that some of us caregivers are siblings or aunts or uncles or even cousins. As autistics grow up my family’s story will be more common…siblings emerging as co-guardians when parents are no longer there.

My brother is 37 years old…he ain’t a child anymore…and I will welcome funding that acknowledges that.

Senator Clinton’s proposal it is a good first step.


Maya's Granny said...

So often there is funding and concern for children and everyone forgets that they grow up, whatever the condition. And the needs of adults are different than the needs of children.

Melissa McEwan said...

*Great* post, Shark-fu. This -- "people like my older autistic as hell but loves to work brother" -- describes my cousin perfectly. (He not only loves to work, but loves to complain about how much he hates working, just because that's what everyone else does, ha.) His boss loves him, his co-workers love him, and he's good at his job. But it's only possible because his mother is still alive and makes sure the rest of his life is carefully arranged and all the necessary accommodations made so that he can function as best at possible to make working possible.

Without her, he would be lost. And/or in need of living arrangements that duplicate her efforts. He's lucky to have two siblings and several cousins, all of whom are willing to provide that for him -- a depth of options. Not everyone in his situation is so fortunate, which is, as you say, why funding for adults (including adult residential centers) is so important.

Camera Obscura said...

My 15-year-old is "high-functioning", but still I won't let him cross the street by himself. His older brother is thisclose to being Aspie. My youngest, the girl, is in for a rough ride when I'm old, I fear...

There's Alzheimers in both my family and my husband's.

I'm scared as hell of the future.

Unknown said...

If we had universal healthcare, would that take this issue off the table?

What bothers me most is that you have to point out that Autistics grow-up..its like no one thinks of that fact.

ben said...


And how about funding that doesn't just daydream about cures, but finding ways to help people as they are, in the lives they lead.

Anonymous said...

I'm here from Feministe, thank you for your excellent post.

I live in Canada and am a caregiver to a nine year old with autism. Although we have universal health care and my province has terrific funding, this will probably be his last year of funding.

He's such a great kid. He's so funny and he has a great imagination and he's so smart. He's very high funcitoning and works so hard everyday, but he still needs help with so many things. I really worry about how he'll do next year.

And let me say YES to sly civillan's comment. We can hope for a cure, but we need to realize that these kids-and adults-and their families are living this now. I think therapy needs to focus more on enabling people to live as they are, rather than 'curing' them. The boy I work with is an amazing individual. There's nothing 'wrong' with him, he just processes things differently and needs some help getting to know people. Once he knows someone and they know him, he's a delight.

(Sorry for the long comment, I've been thinking about this recently...)

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