Whirlwind of Activities and Changes

After waiting two years for any type of assistance or program, nonPareil and Launchability both contacted Daniel for program placement at the same time (June).  Daniel started with nonPareil in July and in August, Launchability helped him land a position with Neiman Marcus Direct.  His new position at NMD is 2nd shift allowing him to continue pursuing NP during the day (currently 3x a week for an hour plus individual study time).  

Daniel is very exciting with his training at NP, finding game production to be very, very interesting.   He is also very happy with his work environment at NMD (except that he would rather sort cookies or video games than women’s accessories! LOL!).   He says that his co-workers and supervisors at NMD are very friendly and helpful.

With his position at NMD, Daniel will work his way fairly quickly into being self-supporting.  After 60 days, he will start receiving benefits (health & more).

With his new commitments, Daniel has had to turn back the daily running of the Voortman Cookie route to his Dad and I.  So we are working out our new routines as well.  However, with Daniel becoming more settled, our life seems to be a bit gentler.

Supplemental Security Income for ASD Adults

Definitions of Childhood Disability for Supplemental Security Income
The Social Security Administration defines different disability categories that can be found in their publication called Disability Evaluation under Social Security, sometimes referred to as the Blue Book. Warning: the Social Security Administration does not use Person First language. Autism and autism spectrum disorders are listed as 112.10 Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders under Mental Disorders. Children must meet the A and B criteria.
A. Medically documented findings of the following:
1. For autistic disorder, all of the following:
a. Qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction; and
b. Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity; and
c. Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests;
or
2. For other pervasive developmental disabilities, both of the following:
a. Qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction; and
b. Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity;
and
B. Impairment-related functional limitations are dependent on the child’s age and must be documented medically. The functional restrictions in paragraph B must be the result of the autistic disorder or pervasive developmental disability. A child aged 1 to 3 years would meet criteria if their communication or cognition or gross or fine motor development or social functioning is no more than one-half of the child’s chronological age. For older children ages three to 18 years, they must have a two areas of marked impairment in:
a. age appropriate cognitive/communicative function
b. age appropriate social functioning
c. age appropriate personal functioning
d. difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence or pace
The above functional limitations for older children should be documented by medical sources as well as reports from parents and others who know the child well. Parents can write a letter describing the impact of their child’s disability on these areas. Information from teachers, friends, and others who interact with the child regularly can be valuable in providing a picture of the child’s functioning in his or her daily life. When disability for a child is determined impairments in acquiring and using information, attending and completing tasks, interacting and relating with others, moving about and manipulating objects, caring for self, and heath and physical well-being are all considered. Other developmental disabilities may be found online in the Blue Book under Childhood Listings (Part B), 112.00 Mental Disorders.
Adult Income and Resource Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income
When children with disabilities who have been receiving SSI and/or RSDI turn 18 years old they must apply again for these programs as an adult. If the child had not been eligible he or she might be eligible for SSI as an adult. This is because different medical criteria apply and income and resources are counted differently for adults. One difference is that the adult must meet the disability criteria as well as not be able to work at a substantial level which is defined in 2011 as the ability to make more than $1,000 a month.
In most instances the young adult is considered a household of one. This means that only his or her income and resources are counted. However if this young adult is living with family or others and is not able to pay this or her fair share of living expenses the young person could have a reduction of one-third in their SSI amount as the living expenses are considered subsidized. Income from a spouse is also counted toward total income. With earned income, every month the first $85 is disregarded and what remains decreases the SSI amount by $1 for every $2 earned. Unearned income such as a pension or social security benefits received on a deceased, retired or disabled parent have a disregard of $20 a month and then decrease the SSI amount $1 for $1. The resource limit for an individual is $2,000 and $3,000 for a couple.
Definitions of Adult Disability for Supplemental Security Income
Adult definitions of disability are also found in Disability Evaluation under Social Security (aka the Blue Book) under the Mental Disorders section. The adult section is labeled 12.10 Autistic Disorder and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Again both the A and B criteria must be met.
A. Medically documented findings of the following:
1. For autistic disorder, all of the following:
a. Qualitative deficits in reciprocal social interaction; and
b. Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity; and
c. Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and interests;
or
2. For other pervasive developmental disabilities, both of the following:
a. Qualitative deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction; and
b. Qualitative deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and in imaginative activity;
and
B. Resulting in two of the following:
Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or
Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or
Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or
Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration
Remember while a medical diagnosis is neceSSAry, parents, teachers, friends and others can provide important information about the limitations on the person’s ability to handle daily living activities and social interactions. Giving concrete examples of where the person struggles help give the disability determiner a picture that cannot be found in a medical document or psychological evaluation.
– See more at: http://autismnow.org/funding-and-public-policy/social-security-benefits/#sthash.W2F9FOyw.dpuf

What to do if you have an adult child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)?

#1 – Most important! Your ASD is at best 2/3 of his/her physical age in emotional/social maturity. A 20 yr old is actually just going through their early teens. A 30 yr old is just starting his/her early adulthood years. It requires a lot of patience and a very thick skin (as you and your child will be judged by others, even those close to you will expect your child to ‘act their age’). And if your child is large in stature, it will be even worse… small adults can get by with their childish behaviors longer than the big guys.

#2 – Get financial assistance. It is very expensive to provide for an adult child – so
Apply for Social Security Supplemental Income (paid to your child)
A) have official diagnosis (psych eval from doctor specializing in ASD)
B) document struggles with social and educational life
C) document failed attempts at employment
D) Report your child’s portion of expenses as if he/she were an adult paying their own way. If you are a family of 4, then your adult child should be responsible for 1/4 of all household expenses, plus their transportation costs…even if you are covering those costs for them at this time. Not reporting these expenses will greatly reduce your child’s benefits.
I know you can support your child or think you should be able to, but this is an ADULT child with expenses – you are doing this to protect them, not because you are looking for a handout. This money will help you to provide for your adult child without breaking your bank. Receiving SSI will also provide medical care for your adult child (Medicaid)…a major expense after age 26.

#3 – Stop worrying about your adult child’s social life. Once they become involved in a training or educational program they will meet others and most likely find a friend. Your first priority should be financial stability. Having a purpose in life (job, volunteerism, training) will allow your child to feel a sense of worth that will help them make a friend or two.

#4 – Find a support group because no one in your family or outside of it will understand that your adult child ‘is doing the best that they can’ and so are you.

#5 – Go to DARS (Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services)… ask specifically for someone that is trained in ASD or you will be very disappointed. Ask others in your support group for referrals. They can help you with training, education and job placement.

#6 – Seek out special employment programs such as Launchability in Dallas that provide on the job training and support. Goodwill also has programs.

#7 – Never give up hope. With support, encouragement, and a great deal of patience, your adult child will continue to mature. Remember the 2/3 rule.

#8 – Have expectations…keep them reasonable, but avoid treating your adult ASD as a child. Be as blunt with them as they are with you, be honest, reasonable and strong.

complicated

That one word has always best described my daily life. Currently, we are in the middle of a major remodel, Daniel has started classes at nonPareil in Plano, and my husband’s Mom is in rehab (her health has been failing for a long time… age and lung disease); then, lets add the parents support group that I’ve been trying to keep going, visiting a different dfw site each week. I know some of this I bring upon myself, but then some of my complications just naturally come with being a wife, mother, friend, sister, and so on.

Life never lets you tackle one obstacle and then move on… it just seems to increase as we get older. I thought retirement was supposed to mean a simpler life! HA!

My 60th birthday is approaching and I’m just hoping to have a new shower to enjoy.. the rest of the bathroom to be completed soon after, I hope. This is what happens when you buy a HUD foreclosure and the inspectors won’t go under the house (crawlspace too low). A few months after moving in, the floors start collapsing from rotten floor joists. We are rebuilding the substructure and the flooring one room at a time….hence the new bathrooms. I estimate about another 12 months of diy work (if the money holds out).

Daniel (my Aspergian son) is 30 days into his 90 trial period at nonPareil. He loves the work, struggles with the meetings…but is working on doing his best all round. He has a plan and a goal and I know he can do it. At the same time, Launchability is working with him to find a 2nd shift position so that he can pay his own way.

When Daniel finds that new position, I will be in the position of deciding what to do with a cookie route that Gene and I would struggle to run by ourselves (bad knees, bad memory, etc..). But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Oh and I forgot – the family is taking our once a year vacation/cruise in September and I’m trying to get that organized. Plus, my youngest son stationed with the Coast Guard in San Pedro California has invited us out to see their new place in October – so air tickets, park reservations, etc… Hopefully we will have the energy to enjoy and the money to pay for it all! I think I may hide away for Christmas!

I’ve got to lose some weight, starting eating better, and take care of myself so that I can live long enough to enjoy retirement!