Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mother Asks: What About Autistic Teens?

Susan Senator, who has a 17-year-old son with a severe form of autism, published an interesting op-ed piece in The Washington Post on March 18 entitled, "In Autism, Hope At Any Age." In the piece, she describes her frustration with the lack autism services and supports available to teens and adults. Read the piece at The Post's website by clicking here.

Senator is both an advocate for better autism services and the author of the book "Making Peace With Autism," which describes her experience as a parent discovering about autism and learning by many trials and errors how to make a difference in her son's life -- and the lives of her family which include two other sons. See more about the book, which my family has found helpful, by clicking here.

In her op-ed piece, Senator strikes an exciting and hopeful note by recounting the recent event of her son Nat's asking his first question ("where's my pajamas?"). It's a moment understandable for its import -- asking questions is a key building block for interacting with people, for social interactions. But she also expresses frustration with where to take her energy for her autistic teenager. She writes:

Like the parents of young autistic children, I have hopes for my son -- though others may not. I just know -- at least I hope -- that if we strike while the iron is hot we might end up making a huge difference in his future, his independence. We are not alone. The many families of older autistic children have needs, too. We want support such as home-based therapy and job training for our children. We want housing for them. We want to know that they will get the right kind of care when they are adults. And we want educational strategies for them, because often autistic people bloom late, as my boy has.
Read the whole article; it's well-written.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the article was interesting.
Last night on the news they were discussing Alzheimers. The focus was on the money it would cost if the country did not do something.
I believe that the country should be made aware of the cost of not helping children on the spectrum. Follow the money.