There is simply not enough funding for the services and supports required to meet the needs of the rising number of adults with autism in the United States.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people with autism and similar disorders across the country who are waiting for waiver supports,” Autism Speaks Vice President of Adult Services Leslie Long told The Sentinel. “There is not enough funding for the tsunami of people coming into the adult system. Our budgets are getting tighter and it’s not going to pay for everyone who needs services. The demand is greater than the supply.”
“We need to start to really brainstorming other funding sources for adults to live independently in the community,” Long said. “There are creative ways to fund supports for adults with autism in some states, but there are not enough of them; it is not consistent."
One Autism Speaks initiative to help meet the needs of the growing number of adults with autism is the House to Home Prize. The organization is seeking groundbreaking ideas from around the world on ways to expand housing and residential support options for adults on the spectrum that will allow them to live as independently as possible. The total prize purse is $150,000.
Other Autism Speaks resources for adults with autism include:
- TheSpectrumCareers.com, a jobs portal for individuals with autism, service providers and employers
- Employment Tool Kit - a guide to help adults with autism research, find and maintain employment in the competitive labor market
- Housing and Residential Supports Tool Kit - a tool kit to assist individuals and families as they identify and secure appropriate residential supports and services
- Transition Tool Kit - a guide for families to help prepare for the transition to adulthood
- Resource Guide - a database of service providers including residential options, employment service providers, day programs and more, searchable by zip code