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.