Friday, September 6, 2013

The Number of Adults with ASD is Expected to Increase by 1,292% by 2020

Store Clerk????
Yesterday Nick saw a new doctor. As goes the routine, I described autism as defined by Nick. When the doctor told me that Nick was doing great, as compared to so many of his other clients, there was no part of me that jumped up to applaud our progress.  Instead, I thought about how much further I wish Nick was. We are doing pre-vocational training teaching him to shop and do daily chores, which he now does flawlessly.  Yet, my first thought was had I done all I could, was it enough to make a difference. Then I got really sad as I thought about all the boys he must be talking about who will enter adulthood without even the “life skills” Nick has.  For the hundredth time I thought dear God, what’s going on with our almost adult boys, what is this doctor seeing? When I got home I looked up stat’s and here’s what I found.   

The Number of Adults with ASD is Expected to Increase by 1,292% by 2020, and no one is prepared. 

An estimated 80 percent of autistic Americans receiving services are under the age of eighteen. In front of us is a tsunami of young adults, who once they hit their 21st birthday, all of the support that they had from school or behavioral health services comes to a screeching halt, which translates into actual negative outcomes for autistic adults. 

From 2005 to 2010, there was a 179 percent increase in autistic adults, and that number is expected to increase by 1,292 percent by 2020, according to the Department of Public Welfare.

Most states have minimal state-funded programs for autistic individuals over 21. Pennsylvania, a leader compared to the rest of the country has only 2, who collectively, only helped 456 out of about 7,000 autistic adults in 2012.

This lack of adult services is chronic in the US where one in four adults with autism reported that they needed, but were not receiving vocational training, career counseling or supported employment and more than 50 percent reported an unmet need for mental and emotional health services in general.

Imagine the future when this generation of disabled children becomes dependent on the taxpayers for their support and care. Or, a world where they live in institutions and are lined up along walls to get their showers by way of violent fire hoses.  Sound unbelievable, it's not. That was the life in the late past of the last decade.  

We can make a difference. We have too. 


  1. Donna, something must be done! I'm creating my own support program including finding him an internship & social mentoring for activities in the community. Wrote about this very same thing in my last blog post - please check it out. Would love to discuss a home based support program I'm developing with Chris Mulligan of Groupworks West. We hoping to get it vendored by Westside Regional Center so other parents can access it as well. Thanks!

  2. Sorry, forgot to mention that my son is turning 20 & has autism. Thanks!

  3. Dear Donna, Thank you for this nice article. I very interested in the subject about autism in adults. Can you please share the source of your data on the 1292% increase by 2020. I would appreciate if you can point me to the specific report. I can be reached at
    Thank you

  4. Hi Ladies. Just wanted you to know that I didn't forget you the link to this report isn't working. I usually include them when I post! That'll teach me. I will find it and get back to you.

  5. I'm working on comparing maps of Fracking (oil dependence) to maps of autism. I think there's a correlation. I noticed that the CDC isn't doing their "studies" where the worst fracking is taking place.