Mother of an Autistic 20-Year-Old -- What About His Future?

by Teresa
(Woodbridge, VA)

I am so frustrated! My son was diagnosed with autism at approximately 18-months-old. We have had our ups and downs with eating, potty training, speaking, and sleeping. Fighting every year of his education, living year after year with no friends, teasing, and bullying.

Assuring him day after day that he is just as perfect as God made him. For years having a "never say die attitude." Well, we've finally made it through high school. Now what?

I have always been able to provide for my son with no problem. However, after 21 years my marriage ended, leaving me emotionally, physically, and financially spent.

I live in Illinois where only three jobs a week come out in the help wanted ads, having to support a young adult autistic son. I tried our beautiful SSI, and told he needed an evaluation by one of their professionals.

Guess what? The local state supported doctor said my son is CURED...praise the LORD! He went on to say he was ineligible for SSI, as he can do menial labor. Now I have to try and find a job for my son too!

The want ads look bleak, especially since two of the three jobs require a college education. Cured.Really? Last I heard, autism is a developmental disability and is incurable.

I must tell my son to get dressed everyday. I must pick out his clothes daily, as he would wear the same thing everyday. He has no sense of what matches and what doesn't nor does he care.

I must remind him for years now to put on deodorant and to brush his teeth. Every day! He's 20-years-old and just now hitting puberty. He thinks girls are pretty, but are still yucky.

But according to SSI doctors he is cured. He can get a job and support himself, he can have a bright future. Really? I'm not seeing it.

So, I packed us up with the clothes on our backs and only a few bucks in our pockets we moved clear to the other side of the United States hoping for a much brighter future. So far I have not had any luck with a job for myself or any programs or jobs for my son.

For every door I have tried to open where we are now I think five have shut. I am getting no where fast. My resources are dwindling. I need help! For the first time in my life I am backed into a corner. I see no way out.

All I want to do is help my son have a meaningful life. If my life also improves along the way, that's a bonus, but he deserves so much more. It makes me so sad that he has regressed to the point of sitting in a room talking and arguing with himself. What can I do to help his future be a bright one? What do parents with autistic adult children do?

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