Youths with autism often confront unique problems as they begin the transition into adulthood. It is a matter of learning new boundaries and whether the new people in their lives will accept their condition.
Financial assistance is also a concern, especially to the parents of an autistic child. However, help is at hand on all fronts.
Preparing for transition
Developmental issues can make the change from childhood to young adulthood difficult for autistic youths. A study by a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, found that compared to those with typical development, young people with autism are more likely to struggle with a psychiatric issue like anxiety, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The study encompassed two groups of young people between the ages of 18 and 24. In Canada, a change in child to adult social and mental services takes place at age 18. In the United States, special education services remain available either until the recipient graduates from high school graduation or reaches the age of 21.
Parents must pitch in
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention see an increase in autism diagnoses, estimating that one in 68 children has that diagnosis. Preparing children to handle their condition as they grow older takes a lot of time and dedicated effort. Professionals recommend that parents with autistic children begin transition-to-adulthood preparation as early as possible; ideally when the patient is 12 to 14 years old. Parents must also know when to step back a bit and allow children to use their training to do more for themselves.
Seeking legal assistance
Among the many concerns for parents is the issue of government benefits for their child; specifically, that any funding the child receives may stop when he or she reaches the age of 18. This is the time to be proactive and seek legal guidance. Upon reaching that milestone, the child may qualify by having an income low enough to meet government requirements, making one more item to check off among the challenges of transitioning to adulthood.