About one in 120 children in the Washington state public school system has an autism spectrum disorder. That’s a 430 percent increase from a decade ago. In the next decade many of those teenagers with autism will become adults. But what they will do as adults is anyone’s guess. Autism is often associated with children, but it’s a lifelong condition.
In Coming Of Age With Autism
, we meet young people taking their first steps toward independence, and the family members and professionals who support them.
Experts are not sure why the number of autism cases has grown dramatically in the last decade. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, some of the increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed, and served. The American Psychological Association published broader criteria for diagnosing autism spectrum disorders
in 1994. The CDC says it's likely that reported increases are explained partly by greater awareness by doctors, teachers, and parents.
Coming Of Age With Autism
was reported and photographed by Bryan Buckalew and edited by Phyllis Fletcher with technical support from Serene Careaga.
Funding for Coming Of Age With Autism
was provided by the KUOW Program Venture Fund. Contributors include Paul and Laurie Ahern, the KUOW Board of Directors and Listener Subscribers.