Yesterday, Pittsburgh City Paper covered the growing need for services for adults with autism in Pennsylvania. The article features the stories of two young adults with autism. Christopher is a 19-year-old still receiving services from the school district. Cori is a 23-year-old young woman diagnosed with autism last year who is having trouble finding employment.
The state of Pennsylvania is often considered at the forefront of solving this problem, but there is a long way to go. In 2007, the state created a Bureau of Autism Services (BAS), designed to centralize services and programs. The state also started an Adult Community Autism Program, one of the first home/community-based managed-care programs for people with autism. But the demand for services still far outweighs the supply. For example, the Medicaid waivers that help provide funding for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism have lists with over 15,000 people waiting for services. And that only covers the families who are aware of these growing lists.
"Our biggest fear is he won't end up with funding and he'll end up sitting on the couch," says Christopher's mom Lisa. "My school district does a really good job — I'm just afraid all their good work will be for naught."