Autism is a developmental disorder that generally presents with deficits in communication, social interaction, and behavior that can persist throughout life. The numbers are on the rise as the diagnosis itself has changed with advancements in identifying changes within the spectrum. Early detection makes it easier to participate in programs that enhance the child’s development, but what happens when a child becomes too old to participate in those programs? Eryn Balch from The Kelberman Center tells us.
"It’s estimated that about 50 thousand kids every year are going to age out of school-based services and supports, so a lot of kids that are diagnosed early, they may start in a specialized preschool, they may have extra supports all through their elementary and high school years, and then all of the sudden when they are after high school age, we call it falling off the cliff."
The Kelberman Center is working to help those kids by setting them up with a mentorship program. One of those kids landed a job working at Utica College.
"The businesses can take a little bit of training and learn how to make some minor accommodations in order to have somebody with Autism be able to work effectively in their business, and what they’re finding is that a lot of people with Autism have some really excellent traits that you would want in an employee."
The Kelberman Center is trying to find more employers interested in mentorships, but there’s still an entire population of Autistic adults anxious to work.
"If you can get over the fact that somebody might not ever really do a great job in an in person job interview, and get past that and find out what they are good at, you can find some great employees that everybody wins in the end."
The nation still lacks any reliable estimate of Autism"s prevalence among adults.