Although symptoms might change or improve, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition that presents many challenges, even in adulthood. Whether an adult child on the spectrum lives independently, in a group, or with a family member, they require parental or guardianship support.
Just like children on the spectrum experience varying symptoms, so are adults. Therefore, some adults can live a semi-independent life, while others are entirely dependent on their parents or guardians.
Transitioning from child care to adult care
Public schools are expected to offer services to people on the spectrum until they are 22 years old. After that, the responsibility of care is left to the individuals and their family members. Recent research indicates that autism affects 1 in every 50 adults, which implies that more parents will have to care for their kids even when they are in their senior years. While symptoms related to autism can be mitigated, most families don’t know how to do it. That is why many parents have described the transition as driving over a cliff.
Challenges that parents caring for adult children on the spectrum face
During the transition from childcare to adult care, the major problem is that there aren’t sufficient programs for adults with autism. Experts feel that the reason for this challenge is that individuals on the spectrum have varying needs. One adult might present symptoms that another wouldn’t. The extremes differ to the extent that one person requires custodial care throughout their lives while another is highly successful, but is regarded as being a little quirky.
Another challenge that caregivers face is the limitation of resources that they can use to ease both their lives and that of their adult children. Some countries and communities have suitable policies that make it easier for people on the spectrum, while others are too rigid.
Is there any available help?
Look for vocational training programs in your area. The tutors in the facility should be knowledgeable at coaching adults on the spectrum. Find a suitable course that your child can join depending on the level of dependency that they require. Vocational programs are essential because they help eligible adults on the spectrum to be as independent as possible.
Research shows that individuals on the spectrum are likely to settle for math, technology, or science major. Since they focus mainly on details, these careers suit their personality, and the individuals are likely to flourish. Jobs that would be boring to most people like spending hours alone and doing things over are a huge strength to adults on the spectrum. Therefore, guide your child into selecting a program that he or she is likely to flourish.
Once your child completes the course, you can help them find supported employment opportunities that enable both employment and training for the disabled. Look up online sources or consult local disability offices for information on the available services in your area. Parents and guardians can also consult healthcare professionals or join relevant support groups for further details.
Planning finances in advance
Caring for an adult child on the spectrum requires substantial financial investments. If your kid manages to get a higher education, they will soon pay for their upkeep. However, the college fee isn’t easy to come by. In case your child cannot live semi-independently, you need to care for them. Either way, the children depend primarily on their parents’ finances.
When mapping out a plan for your child on the spectrum, consider the individual abilities, eligibility for government assistance, and the cost of care. Some government services cater in full or partially for the child’s adult care, depending on many factors like income. Familiarize yourself with estate planning arrangements and tax issues in your locality. That way, you will have secured your child’s financial status even after your demise.
Self-care and “Me-time” are important
Parents, guardians, and caregivers for adults on the spectrum have countless rough days. Don’t allow the sad times to define your life. Find the time to take a breather and enjoy life. If you require help, never shy away from asking. Counseling helps people to get through difficult days, and it is recommended. Remember that however much your child needs you, it’s not possible to give them the best if you aren’t at your best.