Children who have been diagnosed with autism grow up to become adults. Much of the focus on education, care and treatment for individuals with autism comes to an end once a person diagnosed with ASD is over the age of 21. Traditional social services don’t often extend beyond the age of schooling; but a diagnosis of autism is forever, through adulthood and into old age. That’s where Easter Seals Florida (ESF) comes in.
Easter Seals provides programs and services for adults with ASD including vocational training and employment, clinical and adult residential services. And there is adult care in the daytime at Day Break at the Miller Center in Winter Park, Fla.
Albe, a 26-year-old man with autism and hyperlipidemia is cared for at Day Break, and has been since January of 2012. He attends Day Break five days a week. Albe is limited verbally; he only speaks when spoken to and primarily repeats words that he hears. Without ESF, Albe might not have a place to go when his family is working, and because his communication skills are reserved his options for vocational training and employment are limited.
When Albe first came to Day Break, he observed the daily activities, which includes games and arts and crafts, but rarely participated. Today, Albe is involved with Day Break’s daily exercise program, enjoys playing putt putt golf, taking strolls in the Sensory Garden and doing puzzles with other Day Break members. He was a full-time frowner, but now he occasionally smiles and is more expressive.
Day Break provides a nurturing environment helping Albe and other adults with autism. The center also cares for persons with other disabilities or special needs, those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related disorders, in addition to those who are experiencing stroke recovery, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and mental illness.
During the month of April, Autism Awareness month, it’s important to remember that autism is not a condition exclusive to children. Autism is a disorder that affects adults too. If you’d like to learn more about Easter Seals Florida and its programs and services for persons with autism, visit fl.easterseals.com
Susan Vernon-Devlin is director of Public Relations Services at Massey Communications, whose client is Easter Seals Florida. The nonprofit organization provides services to people of all ages with disabilities or special needs and their families. In business since 1948, Easter Seals programs are located in Fort Myers, Gainesville, the Keys, Melbourne, Naples, Orlando, Palm Bay, Sorrento, Tampa and West Palm Beach.