NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 23, 2015) – Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, today has launched a new tool kit that addresses the needs of adults affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The tool kit – Is It Autism and If So, What Next? A Guide for Adults – provides an overview of ASD to help recently diagnosed adults better understand the disorder, and offers guidance to people who suspect they have ASD but have not received a formal evaluation.
“With increased awareness of ASD and its signs and symptoms, a growing number of people are receiving diagnoses during adulthood,” said Lisa Goring, executive vice president of programs and services at Autism Speaks. “At the same time, there are many adults who suspect they have ASD but have not received a professional evaluation or have been misdiagnosed with other conditions. Our new tool kit provides a roadmap so that adults with autism and those seeking an evaluation can navigate their journey with the disorder.”
The tool kit assists adults with ASD through the next steps in terms of accessing services and provides critical information about their rights and entitlements as an adult on the spectrum. It also includes personal essays from people with ASD who were diagnosed as adults, as well as tips from experts on how to get a proper evaluation and find effective treatments and services. The tool kit is freely available for download or a hard copy can be requested on the Autism Speaks website at www.autismspeaks.org/adult-tool-kit.
Autism Speaks works to promote services and supports for people with ASD throughout the lifespan. Now a central pillar of the Autism Speaks mission, its adult services initiative is dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of opportunities and resources available to adults related to employment, housing and community living, postsecondary education, community integration and more.
“ASD affects people throughout their entire lives and within the next decade more than 500,000 adolescents with the disorder will transition to adulthood,” added Goring. “It is imperative that a comprehensive range of services and resources are available to this growing population so that their needs are met now and in the future.”
Other Autism Speaks tool kits available specifically for young adults and adults with ASD include a Housing and Residential Supports Tool Kit, Employment Tool Kit, Transition Tool Kit and Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Guide. The Autism Speaks Autism Response Team (ART) has staff trained to help connect adults with ASD, their caregivers and professionals to resources, tools and information. Autism Speaks hosts a series of town halls across the country to connect adults with ASD and their family members with employers, as well as housing and residential support programs. Through its Brian and Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund, Autism Speaks provides grants to local organizations to fund programs for young adults and adults with ASD. These range from colleges to vocational and transition programs.
Is It Autism and If So, What Next? is the final tool kit in a series of three guides designed to provide information, tips and tools for newly diagnosed people with ASD and their families. The 100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families of Young Children launched in 2008 and was updated in July, 2014. In December of that same year, Autism Speaks released a 100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families of School Age Children.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $525 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year, Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit autismspeaks.org. (http://www.autismspeaks.org)