Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Politics of Autism

Some of the mothers of autistics with whom David grew up work the politics of public care for our children. They have been doing so since David was diagnosed. Indeed, David was part of one of the bills they worked so hard to get passed. When David was young, they were fighting for health care coverage to handle the treatment issues associated with autism. They were fighting for respite care that would allow parents a break in the strenuous care that goes with many autistic children. They fought for inclusion and school services that would allow their children to be educated to the extent that they could be educated. Now they are fighting for the places for their adult children who are not capable of taking care of themselves.

You holocost deniers should take note of the sequence of events. First it was health care, inclusion and respite care. Now it is the halfway houses and other locations that can care for their children when they are gone. If the autistics were always there then the need that drove the politics would also have always been there. I say this tongue in cheek. Holocost deniers believe with blind faith. They ignore anything that incoveniently indicates that their faith might be wrong. You holocost deniers can ignore the sequence of events since you will do so anyway.

The individual states are cringing over the budget impacts that this is going to have, especially in the face of bad economic times and looming deficits. The impact of 380,000 autistic adults is expected to the 27 billion per year. See the Washington Post article.
In that case, they are thinking that it will be $71,000 per year per adult autistic person on average. I hope that is all.

The logistics are going to be difficult. Finding a place for our children will be just as difficult as finding prison space. I did not choose that comparison lightly. There will be legal issues associated with housing adults who cannot take care of themselves and who cannot be legally held on any campus designed for their care. In our NIMBY culture, there will be people who do not want any such campus in their neighborhood. I don't know where we will get the people who can care for the adult autistic population. So many of the ones who could are caring for the next crop of autistic children.

The only way out of this is to find a cure, or more likely, a way to prevent autism. That requires medical research. And that is a field that is replete with politics.

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