Two decades ago, new research and new diagnostic tools led to a sharp rise in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism. The surprising prevalence of the developmental brain disorder – affecting an estimated 1 in 68 children born in the U.S. – sparked a wave of special programs designed to help autistic children achieve their full potential. Now, as these children have grown into adults, programs to help them live their lives with purpose and dignity are few and far between. This morning, producer Rob Sivak reports on some local efforts to address the unique challenges of adults with autism.
Itineris, a non-profit agency launched in 2003 by a grass-roots coalition of health professionals and parents of autistic children, is one of the few organized efforts in Baltimore that's helping autistic adults meet those challenges. Another, larger, fee-for-service operation is the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, established in 2007 as part of the Institute for Well-Being within Towson University's College of Health Professions.
Rob pays a visit to the Hussman Center and talks with staff and adult participants; we hear how the facility provides both a training environment for Towson University students interested in learning about autism, and a valuable resource for young adults living with autism spectrum disorder.
Autism Speaks is a key online resource for families with children and young adults living on the spectrum and who are interested in self-advocacy.