Into "The Abyss" Shedding Light on the Decline of Services for Individuals with Autism
Northern Kentucky University
"After Transitioning Into Adult Services Over the next decade, an estimated 707,000 to 1,116,000 teens (70,700 to 111,600 each year) will enter adulthood and “age out” of school based Autism services. With more and more children receiving diagnosis and intervention therapies, we have made the grave oversight of not providing adequate supports and services for them as they grow into adults. The law requires that school districts provide additional services through the Free and Appropriate Public Education mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. However, there is no funding expansion in place to cover these still desperately needed services at the same rate for people past age 22 who have Autism. Resources are still in high demand after these individuals with Autism reach age 22. Options in funding, services, and interventions, for this population and their families are greatly limited in both availability and appropriateness of accommodations. Services and resources have lengthy waiting lists, and unnecessarily stringent criteria for gaining access. Current programs have insufficient staffing ratios and training. This decline in services associated with transition has been shown to have long-lasting, if not permanent, devastating psychological, developmental and psychosocial effects, on many levels; not only for these individuals but our society as a whole as these individuals struggle to integrate in their communities. Our society chooses to acknowledge very little about this issue. I intend to shed light on the plight of these individuals with Autism past age 22; and their families struggles that leave them feeling as if they are falling into the abyss."
2020 Celebration of Student Research and Creativity presentation