U.S. News & World Report shared an article today on the ongoing rise in the population of autism in adults. Currently 1.5 million people have autism in the United States and each year more than 50,000 individuals with autism will transition into adulthood. These numbers indicate the urgent need for more adult services across the board.
“The current system we have right now is woefully inadequate,” says Angela Lello, Director of Housing and Community Living at Autism Speaks. "There are lots of long waiting lists. In some states, it can take as long as 10 years to gain access to [these support] services."
To help with this, President Barack Obama recently signed into law the Autism CARES Act, which will give $1.3 billion of federal funding to autism research over the next five years. Bill co-sponsor Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said, “The Autism CARES Act tasks multiple federal agencies to study and report back to Congress on the special needs of autistic young adults and transitioning youth. In light of the severity of the aging-out crisis, we must do more – and fast – and ensure we are providing a comprehensive and thorough review of available services, and those we need to create.”
Andrew Duff, 24, who was diagnosed with autism before his third birthday was also interviewed by U.S. News & World Report. Duff said that therapy helped him tremendously growing up. Even though many don't think of Andrew as having autism, he has dealt with several challenges growing up. "It became hard for me to maintain eye contact at times. It took me a year to get back to where I was in college." Today he is a Production Assistant at Autism Speaks.