by Janet Kern PhD, David Geier, Mark Geier MD PhD
Gardasil victim photo above courtesy of Natural News article “Outrage.”
In a Newsweek article from 2012 entitled, “An epidemic of special needs kids heads for a crisis of care” author Michelle Cottle describes how there is a current crisis of care, particularly in autism, as children with neurodevelopmental disorders are aging out of the school system. She stated that there was a “800-pound gorilla in the room: autism” and that the “epidemic,” or “swelling population” was placing strains on our health-care, education, and social-services systems. She quoted Geraldine Dawson, with Autism Speaks, as saying, “We as a nation are not prepared.”
That was 2012 and the crisis of care continues as children with autism age out of the school system. However, the second crisis in care in autism is just starting to reveal itself.
The second crisis of care in autism will happen when the parents of these autistic children start to die.
This second crisis of care will probably be considerably worse that the first crisis of care. It remains to be seen what will happen to this vulnerable population.
The recent tragedy involving a 22 year old girl with autism in Louisiana shown in the linked video below may be providing a glimpse of things to come. In that case, this 22 year old autistic girl, reported to have the mind of a child, ended up living with distant relatives when her mother died. Sadly, these distant relatives kept her locked in a cage outside for as long as nine months. She was abused and lost about 60 pounds during her ordeal, which ended June 30, 2016 when sheriff’s deputies freed her from her captors. After being evaluated at a local hospital, she was placed in the care of the Louisiana Health Department.
The Video That Clearly illustrates What Is Really Going to Happen…
Click on the title below to see the WDSU News video, and the accompanying article about:
Many parents of children with autism have voiced concerns about what will happen to their children after they die, worrying about who will take care of them. Parents of children with autism often voice hope that the siblings of the child with autism (if any) will take over the care after the parents are unable to care for them.
However, even the more mild cases of autism require considerable supervision or caretaking and the severe cases are difficult and trying for even the most devoted and resilient parents. Siblings of the individuals with autism may be able to take over the care when the parents die, or the individual with autism may have to go to a distant relative, as in the recent case in Louisiana. The State may become the caregiver, as it is already has custody of many of these children.
We have to keep in mind that parents of children with autism not only provide the daily care, but they also financially support the children. So, the issue is large and daunting. Already, the few institutions that are able to care for individuals with autism have very long waiting lists, up to many years.
Will the State Take Over?
It is oftentimes assumed that when the State takes over care for someone diagnosed with autism that there is residential placement readily available and capable of meeting the necessary demands of the individual. Unfortunately, all too often, there is no space available at state mental facilities. The size of state mental facilities in many cases has always been inadequate to meet the full demands of previous generations of mentally handicapped individuals, but the autism epidemic observed in the last several decades was never anticipated by these facilities.
Worse still, the space and care that is available at many of these facilities was designed to take care of individuals diagnosed with other disorders or diseases such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, Fragile X, etc. As a consequence, many facilities are ill-prepared to the massive challenges of 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week care and attention required for many diagnosed with autism. Incredibly, many diagnosed with autism do not face a single deficit, disorder, or disease, but many a face a whole multitude of deficits, disorders, and diseases at the same time. These includes such serious problems as diarrhea/constipation, wetting/soiling themselves, sleep problems, eating disorders, hyperactivity, lethargy, sensory processing problems, anxiety/fear, behavioral problems, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and the severity of these serious problems can be life-threatening to the individual diagnosed with autism and/or those around them.
It may be necessary that an entire team of healthcare providers be continuously employed to adequately monitor care for the individual diagnosed with autism, and the costs of such a residential placement for an individual diagnosed with autism can easily exceed more than several hundred thousands of dollars per year.
It is clear that similar to the first crisis of care in autism, that we, as a nation, are not prepared for when the parents of children with autism can no longer care for them.
One way that we can begin to prepare for the second crisis of care in autism that is coming is to make this serious issue a part of the national discussion.
by Janet Kern PhD, David Geier, Mark Geier MD PhD