Though formal programs for children diagnosed with autism continue through high school, at 21 these programs end, and the options for care become less clear. This process is known in the autistic community as "aging out."
As we rally around, trying to distance or identify with the parent, Alex and those like him are all but forgotten. His life is seen as an example of what some must endure. But what about Alex? What about what Alex had to endure?
It is often stated that the latest and greatest consumer electronics have quickly eroded our social skills. While that may be true, these devices can have the opposite effect on children with autism by providing new ways to effectively teach social skills.
How is it that we can say we "care" about autism and those who are autistic, yet not fund programs that will make their lives better? How is it we can use war terminology and ignore that these words make those who are on the spectrum feel badly about their very existence?
I am constantly impressed with my 10-year-old autistic daughter Emma's mind and creative use of words. I often think when I listen to her that there's a kind of poetry in the way she phrases things, the way she will use seemingly unrelated words to describe something.
The fact that Emma was able to communicate to Joe that she'd had a rough day is a massive leap forward for her. Secondly, that she was able to then make it known that what she now wanted to do was see me was nothing short of amazing.