Parents Of Autistic Children Worry About Adulthood - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Parents Of Autistic Children Worry What Life Will Bring When They're Adults

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Jennifer Thompson cooks as part of her daily routine. Jennifer Thompson cooks as part of her daily routine.
Jonathan Griffin's only income is his social security. Jonathan Griffin's only income is his social security.
PHILADELPHIA -

Every 12 minutes, a child is born who will be diagnosed with autism. It's a developmental disorder that can affect a child's social and communication skills at an early age.

Understanding autism can be difficult and confusing. But imagine having to navigate those issues as your child grows up, but doesn't outgrow their challenges.

Those challenges are something Jennifer Thompson knows all too well. For Jennifer, cooking is a big part of her morning routine. But if you sit down and spend time with her, you'll realize the toughest part of that routine is not what goes on in the kitchen, but her ability to communicate.

Leslie Thompson, Jennifer's mom, says at an early age she knew her daughter had some differences.

"Her development was fine up until 2-years-old, she wasn't responding to her name or sounds," Leslie said.

When Jennifer started getting older, Leslie says she began to worry about her quality of life.

In this coming decade, 500,0000 young, autistic children will turn 21, the age at which federally mandated services stop being provided. Add to that a staggering 85 percent unemployment rate for young adults with autism and you can understand why many families are worried.

For many, the reality is that it will be tough road ahead.

Deborah Griffin and her son, Jonathan, know that reality all too well. Finding employment for an autistic adult unless you have connections is difficult, Deborah said.

Jonathan's only income is social security and the family has to wait two years just to get it.

There are currently 260,000 people on a waiting list for housing support. Those who are on social security get about $670 worth.

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