Keith and Candice Grant are the proud parents of three, including an amazing twenty-year-old son, Corey, who is diagnosed with autism and epilepsy.
Korey graduated from high school nearly two years ago with a certificate of completion after an educational career filled with self-contained classes, several mainstreamed elective courses, and years of supportive services, including occupational and speech therapy. Like his peers, Korey had the option of continuing school until the age of 22; however, we felt that it was critical to begin establishing a foundation for his adult life.
For most parents of young adults diagnosed with autism, the transition from high school to adulthood comes with an abrupt cut in needed support services, described by many as “ falling off the cliff.” As an unfortunate result, far too many adult children end up with nowhere to go, or, if finances allow, placed in day program or residential home.
Thankfully we’d learned just before Korey’s senior year that after a fifteen year wait, he would finally be receiving the NC Innovations Waiver, which would provide him with additional services for his developmental disability (such as Supported Employment, an assistant for daily activities, etc.). We stepped full time into his next phase, facing the same exciting but challenging questions as any parent of an adult child with exceptional needs: Would the secondary education programs that we’d researched be an option for Korey? Should he begin working full time? Which of the available day programs would be a fit? What would his day look like?
We knew that Korey would benefit from stimulating daily activities that would allow him to further the educational and adaptive living skills that he’d gained throughout school, while honoring his individual unique set of needs and abilities. A hard worker when given clear direction, Korey had a strong interest and talent in computers, music, and art. but needed direct support to stay on task, to communicate his wants and needs, and to help manage seizure activity and his strong sensory needs.
But where would he do so? While there many available day programs, there is a tremendous deficit in community-based programming that treats each individual according to their own specific needs instead of combining groups of adults of all ages and diagnoses in the same space and activities throughout the day.
This is why we are ecstatic about the start of “Let’s Talk About It…The Autism Center.” Knowing that this program is created by a fellow mother and advocate of an adult son diagnosed with autism inspires confidence and trust. Her extensive experience in Special Education will help to keep our children’s skills sharp, and her plans for community outings and employment seeking will allow our adult children on the spectrum to become more independent.
Thank you for seeing and meeting this all important need!