Children with ASD age like everyone. So why is adult autism never spoken about? Well, primarily because everyone is so focused on the kids. Children are still in their learning years and the adult mind is much less pliable. Studies have shown that young minds learn a lot quicker and retain what they've learned longer. Most treatments are aimed at children because their minds are still forming, still being molded. Teaching children with autism while they're young is the best time to form those good habits and appropriate behaviors.
R. Pixley says, "There's another reason that adults with autism aren't talked about much - time vs diagnosis. Autism only entered into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1994 and it's listed as a children's malady. In fact, it's difficult or impossible to diagnose autism in adults using the criterion from the DSM. This means, that to be diagnosed you had to be a child, probably under 7, in 1994. In other words, you had to be born after 1987. People born in 1987 are only in their 20's today. The rest of us autistics are either undiagnosed (hence people and statistics think we don't exist) or we have gone to personal expense to get a diagnosis, which has little actual value since there's no treatment for adults. The vast majority of adult autistics don't even know they are autistic."
So what about adult autism? Why are we pretending like there are no adults with this disorder? Unfortunately, today few services exist for adults. In my state, California, the Regional Center system serves them for life. So when my son grows up he'll continue to have the backing of the Regional Center. But when they have bare bones services to offer that hardly matters. What we need are programs that offer better transition into adulthood and programs that help them find viable employment. The dept. of Rehab. is a big help on the employment front.
Our older ASD population could also use services to assist them with housing and day-to-day living skills. Right now those programs are so scant it's hardly worth mentioning. And getting these types of adult autism programs in place is really going to take a grassroots effort. In other words, parents are going to initiate the programs and push 'em forward. We have to be the catalysts and the main driving force. It'd be nice if more celebrities faced with autism would get their weight on board and help with the pushing.
As a parent, I know that I can't count on good programs being in place as my son reaches adulthood. That's like counting on Social Security to take care of me through retirement! Ha! It would be a pleasant surprise if those things are in place down the road though! My wife and I are going to have to plan things out and help our son as he reaches those critical points in life. But God is with us, so we don't worry... much.
Organizations like Autism Speaks don't help provide services to adults. They're focused on eradicating the disorder, not helping those who already have ASD. And they love to focus on the kids with all their pity advertising. That's possibly due to the fact that more people will open their wallets when they know children are suffering. And Autism Speaks does a good job of showing suffering children, that's for sure. In fact, they go a bit overboard. They've made it clear their dollars are going toward research for a cure, not into services for those who already have ASD.
As of 2012 Autism Speaks has no adults with autism on their board of directors. And trust me, there is no lack of adults ready to step into this role. It's largest autism organization on the planet and they're basically ignoring adults with the disorder. Here's more info on the people who are currently sitting on Autism Speaks' board of directors.