Marianne Sullivan is responsible for Community Outreach and Education at Autism Speaks. She can be reached at: email@example.com
Hunter, my son with autism invited me to go bowling on Sunday for Mother’s Day. A local bowling alley offers “Moms Bowl for Free on Mother's Day”
, and since bowling is one of his favorite activities, I am looking forward to this Mother’s Day. As every family knows, special days can be tough. We often adjust our expectations, so when a good fit comes along and it’s a win for everyone, we go for it!
Since turning 18 two years ago, Hunter has been living “independently” in this community. He relies on SSI benefits, Section 8 Housing, and Supportive Living Services from a CA Regional Center. With lots of support from family and staff, he is fully integrated into his community. But many kids with autism will turn 18 this year. What is the plan that will allow them to live as independently as possible? Many will need support and planning for housing, community integration and employment. Sadly, we know there are limited resources for our adult kids.
One of Autism Speaks
key initiatives is focused on improving outcomes and quality of life for adults with autism
this includes; secondary education, housing/residential living, employment and community integration. You will hear more about this in the coming months. In addition, Autism Speaks
and other advocacy groups have fought for state insurance reform
--a mandate that requires state-regulated health plans to provide medically necessary coverage for treatment of autism spectrum disorder. In California, insurance reimbursement is providing services that will lead to more people with autism living full lives in their community.
Mother’s day reminds me that we must continue to stand together and advocate for services and funding to give our kids the best chance at a full life in their communities. To all the Moms who each and every day go way beyond in their love and support for their kids with autism, Happy Mother’s Day! If you live in Santa Cruz, California, join me on Sunday where Moms bowl for free!
Autism Health Insurance Project
- supports families at no cost to secure health insurance and other coverage for autism related interventions
– provides services to adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities through community integration, life-skill training, advocacy, referral and information.