Professor: Tyler Pruett
Part 1: Revised Letter to the Editor
To The Editor of the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Sentinel, respectively:
In 1984, there were 40 people in the State of Maine diagnosed with Autism. Now a one child for every 150 in Maine is diagnosed within the Autism spectrum. Every year more children with Autism reach adulthood. At that point there is an incredible shortage of programs available for these young adults.
Many adults with Autism still live at home. As they are closeted away in their homes, with them are their Caregivers. The Caregivers now have a 24 hour position, with no relief in sight. As time passes, these Caregivers become overwhelmed, depressed and their health declines.
I want this to be a call for assistance from our State and Federal Legislators. By keeping these young adults at home, as opposed to placing them in group homes, Caregivers are saving the government a substantial amount of money (group homes in Maine are in small supply and have waiting lists). The least we can do is help these Caregivers out by giving them a well-earned break. In Maine we have a Respite program for parents of children with Autism. What we need is an Adult Respite program to help the families and guardians of Autistic adults still living at home.
Call your Legislators, Senators and Congressmen, and tell them that these people need help. In case you need the contact information, I am including the names and numbers of some of our local legislators below.
Henry E.M. Beck, Waterville (D): (207) 837-4343
Lori Fowle, Vassalboro (D): (207) 872-7268
Gay Grant, Gardiner (D): (207) 582-5882
Craig Hickman, Winthrop (D): (207) 377-3276
Dennis L. Keschel, Belgrade (R): (207) 495-2973
Karen Kusiak, Fairfield (D): (207) 453-6834
Thomas R.W. Longstaff, Waterville (D): (207)872-6617
Tim I. Marks , Pittston (D): (207) 582-6798
References: Ciferri, W., McGrew, K., Mehdizadeh, S. Ohio Dept. of Aging, (2005) Autism Act of 1984, 34-B M.R.S.A. §6001 (2009). Autism spectrum disorders report. Retrieved from website: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/reports/autism_act_report.pdf Montoro-Rodriguez, J., Shon, H., &Ullman, J. (2010). Respite services: Enhancing The quality of daily Life for caregivers and care recipients California State University, San Bernadino (formerly The University of Utah)) Retrieved From http://sociology.csusb.edu/docs/Respite Brochure (2010).pdf Solomon, A. H., & Chung, B. (2012). Understanding autism: how Family therapists can support parents of children with autism Speaks, A. (2013). What is autism? Retrieved from http://www.autismspeaks.org/what- autism Part III: Autistic Adult Respite Presentation (Revised)