By Debra Muzikar
Tonight I was impressed that PBS News Hour is focusing on adults on the autism spectrum. John Donvan, co-author with Caren Zucker of In A Different Key: The Story of Autism, visits a program in Phoenix, First Place Transition Academy, that is creating independence, meaningful work and a sense of community. “There are nine of them in all (adult autistic males), paired off together in a cluster of apartments in a complex where their neighbors are mostly retirees who have no autism connection.”
One of the most poignant parts of the series is when the autistic adults hold photographs of themselves as children. Yes we parents know children are cute and our autistic adult children may be cute to us, but may not be so cute to others. If your child is 6’4″ and 220 pounds people no longer say he is “cute.”
John Donvan knows the importance of stories and images to get a point across.
“And the point is, adults don’t get nearly the attention and support the kids do, maybe because they’re not as cute or because people forget that autism is lifelong,” he says. You can see the transcript of the show here.
Josh Kluger, now 36, as a child was a talented singer. The news program shows Josh as a child singing. Josh is profiled navigating the complexities of a bus and getting to his job. He didn’t start riding a bus until he was over 30 (don’t give up on your children – they have a different timeline than most others.)
Many people in the autism community complain about the lack of funding for programs for adults. Bravo to John Donvan and PBS for bringing attention to this important issue.
Tomorrow, August 10, will be Part 2 of this important series. I will be in Mexico with my son Kevin Hosseini and his sister Katie. Everyone who follows my Kevin stories knows Kevin is all about Mexico and mariachi music! I look forward to watching the 2nd part of this series probably online when we return.
Just my opinion, Kevin is still cute. 🙂