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Autism Supports

Autism Supports 

When I was growing up, I always had a support method to accommodate for the fact that I processed things differently than others. This went on for eight years of my life; however, they seemed to disappear when I was 18 years old. The disability, however, never goes away. There’s just less support to be found as the focus is when they’re growing up. Where I grew up, there weren’t many resources to aid individuals with autism, their families, and caregivers. DARS (Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services) helped me out a lot but some of those jobs felt like they wouldn’t amount to much in the end. They are a reliable resource; however, when you’re in an area that doesn’t seem to have much help, you rely on what is available to you and around you. 


After I had just graduated high school, I was working in a bookstore and that was basically my outside life. I got to spend time with friends when we weren’t working and learn how to hold down a job. I’d like to be able to say it was good to have a retail job that was worth the growth of character; however, retail is not really something I would go back to. I work in customer service dealing with phone calls more so than in person which is a bit more hands off than dealing with all the clients face to face. I enjoyed the aspect of being able to meet the individuals and connect with them while working in retail; however, I always felt like I was close to burning out after work very often. 


The issues often are that the fact that future thinking is not something many autistic people and their families or caregivers tend to investigate resources for their kids after graduation. Reasons for this include but are not limited to anxiety, ability or skill relating to goal planning or long-term future goals, resources within the community, individualized motivation, lacking direction, ideas on who to ask for help from, school supports or IEP team that would be adequately supportive during the transitional period (some schools are exceptional at this while others miss the margin), the family or supports may not have any idea on supports that may be found around them, and seeking out or may not understand process of supports for financial waivers like SSDI. 


While everyone’s launching ages are different and milestones might be reached at different ages, just remember that everyone gets to their markers at various ages in their lives. I didn’t move out until I was 21, and moved into an apartment until I was 33. For some people, that may be later than they were thinking while others may be thinking that it is too early to be where I am. For me, it was just the right time to be living independently. I hope to share with you the process of what I did to reach these steps and the support I was given from Commonwealth Autism. 

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CA works with autistic people and their families to help them thrive. Every day, we’re building a future where the most vulnerable Virginians can actively participate in our community and realize their full potential.

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