The "Autism Every Day" video came to my attention from a parent of a young adult with severe autism who also works as an advocate. The video was also shared by a director of an advocacy/support agency who previously worked with students with severe autism and cognitive delays as a special educator.
After I posted this video, I received a comment from Liz Ditz about the controversy that this video generated within the autism community. Part of the problem is that the video did not depict any positive scenes. For example, if the purpose of the video's creators was to generate awareness of the needs of families raising children with autism, it might have been useful to devote some time showing families who experienced positive outcomes and specific examples of the supports have been put into place.
My deep concern is that in my state (and others), funding was significantly cut for community support services for young people with severe autism, as well as for young people with severe psychiatric disorders, as well as their families. Special education funds were cut, and we have been prepared to expect a "funding cliff" at the end of the 2010-11 school year. Related services providers in the schools, such as speech/language therapists and occupational therapists have larger caseloads than in the past, and in some cases, are not replaced if they move.
Below are my original comments, written in an attempt to bring awareness that our schools, community support agencies, and health care systems need to provide more supports for the growing number of children, teens, and young adults with autism spectrum disorders and their families.
The children with autism in this video are young, and in no time will reach their teen and young adult years. I work with teens and young adults with severe autism in my job as a school psychologist. We need to prepare our middle and high schools for the increased numbers of young people coming through the doors.
If you know of a similar video that targets the needs of teens and young adults with autism, please let me know, and I will share it on this blog and my on-line social networks. I would be willing to help produce a similar video locally, with the cooperation of parents, if one has not yet been produced.
Note: This video will include positive vignettes!