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Beyond an Autism Diagnosis

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transitioning into Puberty

Every child goes through a major change when they hit puberty. These changes can seem so like a much bigger deal to those affected by Autism. Click below to view some resources to help you mitigate this very sensitive period of your child's life.

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transitioning into adulthood

For every parent, the transition into adulthood can seem scary and be a very emotional experience for both the child and the parent. For parents of an autistic child, this experience can be an even bigger challenge.
As your child reaches adolescence, you will begin to work with him or her, your school district and others to develop a plan for the transition to adulthood.
It's best to think about what adult life will include - a job, post-secondary education, a day habilitation program, living outside of the family home? Once the goals are decided upon (and they can change), a transition plan will be developed that builds the skills necessary for your child to be able to achieve these goals in adult life.
Preparation for the transition process happens in school. Students with autism have the right to receive comprehensive transition services. Under IDEA, school districts are responsible for providing the supports they need to meet their goals for after high school to the best of their abilities.
Each student's Individual Education Program (IEP) process must include transition planning services for all special education students at age 16. Ideally, this process should begin as early as 12 or 14 years old.

Click on the button below to view some resources that may help!

GUARDIANSHIP

When an autistic child is approaching the age of majority, guardianship may be mentioned as an option to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child. Should parents obtain guardianship and/or conservatorship if an adult child with autism spectrum disorder seems incapable of looking after themselves and making decisions about important matters like financial affairs? Full adult guardianship is not something courts regard lightly, it essentially means the person under guardianship—the ward—is stripped of many, in some cases most, of their legal rights to act independently.

Should a parent be appointed as the autistic child’s guardian, they may be exercising most of the ward’s personal rights. The court could terminate your child’s right to vote, make decisions about where they want to live, and limit their right to consent to medical care. While courts make every effort to ensure guardians act in their wards’ best interest, and encourage wards to participate in decision making, full guardianship is a drastic measure that will take away many of your child’s rights.

Click the button below to view resources and law firms located in the Tampa/Hillsborough County area.

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Employment and vocational training

It can be difficult for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to find regular, paid employment. However, increasing numbers of employers are open to hiring adults with disabilities, including those with ASD.

That said, if you're an adult with ASD (or parenting one) and about to embark on a job hunt, be aware that you may have to jump through more hoops and pass more tests and evaluations than neurotypical job candidates.

Check out the AAPD Career Center: a premier source for people with disabilities to search and land professional careers with leading employers.

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Autistic Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy involves knowing when and how to approach others to negotiate desired goals, build better mutual understanding and trust, and achieve fulfillment and productivity. Successful self-advocacy often involves an amount of disclosure about oneself to reach the goal of better mutual understanding. In other words, it can be necessary to explain that you have autism and what that means in order to explain why an accommodation is needed or helpful.
Ideally, parents lay the groundwork for self-advocacy when the child is young. An important precondition for successful self-advocacy and disclosure is self-awareness. People with ASD need to understand how autism affects their interactions with others and the environment. Also, they need to be familiar with their strengths and challenges. A parent or caretaker can do this with a child from a very early age. In fact, the earlier a child has an explanation about his differences, the better off he will be.

(Adapted from “The Secrets of Self-Advocacy: How to Make Sure You Take Care of You” by Stephen M. Shore, Autism Advocate, 2006, Vol. 44, No. 4)

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state and federal resources

There are many state and federal programs that are designed to assist individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders. There are cash benefits from programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), tax savings plans like the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, and state programs like the Medicaid Waiver. Other governmental and nonprofit agencies have compiled helpful descriptions of these various programs and we are happy to recommend them, below.

DD disabilities
DD disabilities
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state and federal resources

There are many state and federal programs that are designed to assist individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders. There are cash benefits from programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), tax savings plans like the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, and state programs like the Medicaid Waiver. Other governmental and nonprofit agencies have compiled helpful descriptions of these various programs and we are happy to recommend them, below.

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Housing

Finding safe housing for your autistic adult can be a challenge. Check out our resources below for more help!

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Day Programs

Day Programs can offer alleviation of care for caregivers while also giving your Autistic person amazing educational, fitness, and socialization opportunities to help them thrive when the caregiver is not around. Having alternate methods, environments, and people caring for your Autistic person can allow them to gain more independence and overall satisfaction.

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**Experienced Autism Alliance (“EAA”) does not endorse any specific treatments or therapies. Information provided is not meant to serve as medical advice. EAA urges individuals exploring any treatment to work with their treating physician to make the best decisions for their own care. 

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