All Kinds of News for July 12, 2017
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing diagnosis in the grouping of developmental disabilities. Given the growing prevalence of ASD, there is increasing focus, understandably, on the screening, diagnosis and interventions for young children. However, there is less attention placed on the challenges faced by young adults with ASD who are making the transition from the education entitlement system to an adult system based on available funding.
In May 2014, the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (PRI) authorized a study to identify the needs of, and services available for, individuals with ASD, focusing on the transition from secondary school completion to young adulthood (up to age 25).
ATC looked at the answers that this study come up with in regards to state agency supported employment, independent living and other programs. They found that the answers for these questions were coming from a traditional services system designed for "typical" (non-ASD students) with little understanding of what ASD-diagnosed students truly need.
The common expression about a person being “stuck in his ways” is correctly used to describe someone who can’t or won’t change habits developed over time. However, this label is unfair when looking at the actions, thinking and patterns we see in individuals with ASD.
At The Crossroads (ATC) believes that Education, Experiences and Empowerment make the team who they are. Through change and growth, personal beliefs can be developed or strengthened in understanding what is most important to individuals: serving people, pursuing excellence, embracing change, acting with integrity and being an asset to our communities.
ATC discovered the video “Knowledge Doesn’t Equal Understanding” from the YouTube channel “Smarter Everyday”; the experiment of the "backwards bike" sparked a series of discussions and thoughts of how to provide a different approach for ASD individuals to attain independence and navigate the barriers and traditional approaches that may hinder their pursuits.
ATC followed the video's suggestions that a well-structured traditional learning environment cannot provide success like a non-traditional approach. For example, the student, colleagues, clinician and families would carefully design personalized outlines and preparation material to further assist the students in developing their approach to independence. However, there is a lot of room for the student's life to get messy. The mess is where a lot of the learning and opportunities to change come from. The Mess or the unknown is the hardest part of this idea. Messy and unknown are scary, nevertheless students and advocates all plunge into these depths time and time again in order for ATC to achieve the designed goals and successes.
By promoting looking at life in a backward bike way, ATC has shared understanding into the way young adults perceive messy situations, to apply the recently acquired knowledge to provide a full meaningful journey through the rest of their students' lives.