The Challenges

 

Funding

A recent study led by health economists at the University of California, Davis, estimates that autism care costs about $268 billion in the United States only. This number will ramp up to $500 billion by 2025. Those figures include medical and non-medical expenditures such as custodial care and special educational services.

Despite the concerning situation that is now affecting 1 in 68 children, the allocated funds for autism research remain insignificant. Poor funding partly explains the common belief that children affected by autism spectrum disorders are not diagnosed and treated as early as they could be. There is a high probability that effective intervention for autistic children will not be widely available by 2025. Financial resources constitute the backbone of organizations like ours. The progress of our work inherently depends on your support.

 

To Boost Employability

Often individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have limited opportunities for work experience and career development. Soon to be launched, Project ICare4Autsm WORKS will engage a dynamic partnership among medical, behavioral, educational personnel with community business partners, fostering research-based best practices to effectively WORKFORCE READY youth ages 18-25, diagnosed within the Autism Spectrum Disorders, with an I.Q of 80 and above.

Program  sequenced delivery of services  will encompass:  workforce readiness skills development; structured education and training for individual employment  and/or volunteer service;  supportive coaching and mentoring; appropriate job placement aligned  to individual skills and competencies levels and aspirations; vocational, career and employment services;  and delivering small group and individual training and on-going support for employers and families.  Program integrated services will also develop Social Interaction Repertoires to enhance participants’ abilities to communicate and to strengthen relationships with peers, family, friends, employers and co-workers. This transformative model will initiate an immediate and extensive period of training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches, clinicians and employers to ensure participants’ needs are addressed and appropriate challenges scaled to enable productive employment.

A Project ICare4Autsm WORKS Evaluation Matrix will facilitate tracking program and participants attainment of goals, timely progress and budgetary efficiency.

In the first years of Program Implementation, Project ICare4Autsm WORKS focuses on Educating and Employing youth diagnosed within the autism spectrum, for entry level workplace skills. The goal is to expand the program level to encompass formal post-secondary college and career training. Each cohort will register 20 participants and 4-8 business partners. The innovative and replicable model program will integrate a clinical approach to employment, and showcase a Project ICare4Autsm WORKS Operation Guide to facilitate state, national and international replication of proven strategies and resources to benefit participants, their families, local business/economy and society.