|Dr. Wiley and Donna Ross Jones |
@ Stephanies Day Resource Fair
Last summer I visited "Stephanie's Day" an autism resource fair held at the CBS Radford Studios. It was a family reunion of sorts reconnecting with parents I've met over our 12 year ASD journey. I was so happy seeing them, and so proud of the parents who've started organizations determined to fill the voids in our systems of care. As the day went on my happy feeling faded as we talked about our kids - who just like Nick were becoming men - and our concerns for their futures. As we have for years, we looked to each other to exchange resources and positive insights on "what's next" and it was clear we had little to share, because there are few options when it comes to housing, recreation, job skills, job creation and community integration. Hope came in the form of parents and professionals, like Dr. Pam Wiley who are dedicated to addressing the critical needs of our soon to be adults. The article below, by Dr. Wiley tells the story and speaks directly to the need. http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2013/130401/Gearing-Up-for-Reality.htm
Gearing Up for Reality
Helping clients with ASDs find their way in the world after high school takes creativity. by Pamela Wiley
When their children with special needs are young, parents are guided and supported through most of their child's education, often starting when their child is 18 months old. But what happens after high school is over? What supports will be needed or even available? After age 21 do the services stop and, if so, who pays for speech-language and other interventions?These are the real thoughts plaguing parents of high school-age children with autism spectrum disorders. Transitioning from high school to the adult world is a critical time in the lives of all students and their parents, but it is even more daunting for parents of children with ASDs. Sheltered programs are available for adults at the lower end of the spectrum, and college or technical programs for the very high-functioning students. But for those who fall in between, there aren't as many options.
What does the law provide?
What we have tried
A sea change
What is the SLP's role?
- One SLP collaborated with classroom teachers on her student's pre-vocational goals and reinforced them in her treatment groups using role-playing and social stories related to workplace situations.
- Another SLP opened her personal contacts list to help her students secure volunteer opportunities and gain exposure to the world of work. She most recently connected one of her students with her neighborhood dog walker.
- The care provider of a musically talented 21-year-old with an ASD asked an SLP for her thoughts on encouraging him to pursue singing. She thought it was a great idea and supported the possibility. She accompanied the young man as he initially began to sing free of charge at local clubs. He was subsequently "discovered" by a local singing legend and now receives compensation for opening her shows.