It is estimated that 90 percent of all autism resources today are designated for children under 10 years old. Lifetime supports are lacking or insufficient nation-wide to meet the emerging needs for teens and adults with autism. Grandparents can be instrumental in developing critically needed resources. Here are some of the ways you can help:
New Training & Employment Opportunities
Are you an employee or owner of a company that can open positions for people with developmental disabilities? Can you approach former or current business associates or friends to request they make new jobs available?
Do any of your local elected officials or government offices have people with special needs on their staff? If not, request that they do.
Patronize and thank owners and managers of companies and stores that hire people with disabilities. Letters to corporations acknowledging your appreciation for their support will encourage their efforts. Ask at competitive businesses if they can provide new training or work opportunities.
Can you identify prospective jobs in schools, hospitals, hotels, banks, sports venues, fitness centers, service agencies or volunteer organizations you support? Inquire if there are positions available.
Partner with a local agency that finds work for people with disabilities. Help them to locate and contact prospective employers for training and hiring opportunities. If you know about a job or training opportunity for a teen, share the information with a Transitions Specialist in your local high school district.
Developing and Sustaining New Housing Options
Are any housing developments for adults with autism available or underway in your community? If so, inquire about how you can support and encourage more to be available. If not, ask how you can advocate for new housing.
Do you want to donate a home or to set up a special needs trust for your grandchild from the proceeds of the sale of your home? Consult an attorney who has expertise in special needs trusts to ensure that you will not disqualify your grandchild from receiving governmental benefits.
Request that your church, synagogue or service organization participate in sustaining local housing for people with special needs. Volunteers can improve the quality of life significantly for the residents by increasing social and recreational opportunities and by helping to improve or update the property.