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Adults with Autism in Florida

In June 2001 CARD completed a project to gather information about adulthood and autism and to examine the support needs of adults with autism in Florida. The process of reviewing the literature, surveying hundreds of adults and family members in Florida, and conducting detailed interviews with individuals, especially family members, affected by autism and related disabilities culminated in the development and dissemination of a booklet entitled “ Adults with Autism in Florida”. Although CARD-USF took a leadership role in this effort, all of the CARDs participated in the data collection, product development, and dissemination of the booklet. To date 5000 copies of the booklet have been ordered for dissemination to constituents, parents, support providers, and policy-makers throughout Florida.

Results of the surveys and interviews indicated that there were five central issues that characterized the lives of adults with autism in Florida. These included:

  1. Families and people with autism and related disabilities experience a broad range in their level of satisfaction with their lives.
  2. Many adults with autism are not receiving the supports necessary to experience a quality of life similar to individuals without disabilities.
  3. A large portion of the social and recreational activities of adults with autism occurs in an atypical context.
  4. Parents of adults with autism are concerned with balancing the issues of safety and opportunities.

Ian Bashaw with one of his paintings



Each of these themes was further discussed based on data from the surveys and interviews with individuals and their family members. The booklet also presented case studies and a vision for the future for all adults with autism and related disabilities that included supporting them to have the same opportunities in life that are available to all citizens. The booklet also identified positive changes that are occurring at the state level in the Office of Developmental Disabilities, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Organizational Change Mentoring Project. Finally, resources and support available to constituents and families were presented for further information.

  CARD-USF hopes that this important product will be useful for increasing awareness of the unmet needs of adults with autism and related disabilities in Florida. We also hope that such information will impact policy-makers and legislators to increase resources and supports for families and constituents. If you would like a copy of this booklet please contact your local CARD office and ask for your copy