I have a fervent wish for Santa this year, aside from the usual prayer for world peace, stability of the polar ice caps, and enduring good health so I can care for my autistic kids til I'm 120. My wish is that some semblance of sanity and rationality descend upon this wacky world of Autismland.
No, I'm not pointing fingers at our special kids, I'm talking about regular adults acting out-to-lunch about autism. Here are some recent examples.
• Criminalizing Cognitive Disability. Just when you thought it was bad enough that neighbors sued to have a boy with autism declared a "public nuisance," in Monterey, another legal nightmare is playing out. A young autistic man is being prosecuted for assault based on a predictable and disability-caused outburst at a public library, when he was supposedly in the care of trained special ed staff (see the father's media release, below).
• Medicaid Mischief. A group of self-advocates are providing "trainings" on Medi-Cal policy, pushing a narrow interpretation that would undermine group-oriented living and support options for our adults with autism. Medicaid (which is Medi-Cal here) dollars pay for roughly half of adult autism services in our state. Customized group solutions, as opposed to generic community settings, remain vital options for many adults severely affected by autism, and we must support access to those options.
• Budget Blues. In Sacramento, the legislature has seen no progress toward restoring funding for our beleaguered adult developmental disability services. If you can, join the rally December 10 in Sacramento (see calendar, below). Without community services funded at sustainable levels, our ASD adults are left to languish, with our threadbare system growing more frayed as the ASD adult population skyrockets.
• Bonkers Book. A pop science author would have us believe there's no true increase in the autism numbers (the 28-fold increase in California Dept of Developmental Services autism cases? just an illusion, people!). Our epidemic of neurodevelopmental disability warrants the most urgent response and not a complacency-generating manifesto, but here we are. Sigh.
So, Santa, grant me the wish to open the floodgates to a rich and varied landscape of options for the ever-growing numbers of ASD adults. Let's stop treating adults with autism like criminals. And let's fund basic services for those who cannot care for themselves. Please restore sanity to our upside-down autism world. Amen.
PS: SFASA is delighted to welcome a new 16-person Board of Directors! Please get to know our fabulous group here.