Who says autism is destructive?
At least that’s what the mother of two adult sons with autism thinks. She started a program in North Carolina called ASAP (Autism Support and Programs) to support the autistic community after her oldest son had to check into a special facility because his condition was so severe.
The program grew large enough where Judy Clark can now bring her sons back together in a group home designed for people with autism. Despite all the symptoms both her sons have, Clark (left) says she wouldn’t trade her kids for any other kids in the world. If they weren’t autistic, Clark says her kids wouldn’t be who they are.
A friend of mine from college who now works at the group home sent me this story. The air date was November 5th of last year. Sure, it’s a little old, but after some head-scratching stories in my last two posts, this profile piece was refreshing to watch. Clark has so much love for her kids that WECT could probably do a profile of those two as a follow-up, or highlight how ASAP is helping “aging” autistics as the adult population grows. An article in The Washington Post last year suggested we could have 1.5 million adults by 2016 (that’s only six years from now), which means there’s going to be a significant segment of the population that we’ll have to adapt to. Dylan and Remly, Clark’s two sons, will be a part of that population. Don’t be surprised if you see similar stories in your area or nationally in the future, as all those kids newspapers and TV stations featured in their autism stories of yesteryear will grow.
Evaluating progress is difficult with the wide range in severity, but the group home in this story does provide evidence that even the most severely impaired can live a fulfilling life if their needs are met. Last year, I questioned the idea of progress with autistic people and if that means they act more like neurotypicals or if more people are accepting autistic people’s views of the world. Some parents who read this will likely develop understandable fears, others will learn not to fret about the future.
The reporter does a fine job profiling how the center is already changing lives in its infancy and sets up possibilities for future stories in multiple directions.