Ohio State University program available to help adults with autism
Recent statistics show one in every 68 babies has autism. The U.S. spends $11.5 billion dollars a year on education and treatment for kids with the disorder. But what happens when those kids grow into adults?
Only about 10-15 percent of adults with autism are able to live independently, according to Dr. Christopher Hanks, a clinical assistant professor at Ohio State University. By 2030 the number of adults living with autism is expected to increase by nearly 700-percent.
“There’s really a small percentage that are thriving in the community, and the rest struggle,” Hanks said.
Many adults with the disorder have nowhere to turn when it comes to medical care, in part, Hanks says, because of a lack of health care providers specifically trained to treat autistic patients.
Hanks and his colleagues are running one of the few clinics in the country focusing on adults with autism, the Center for Autism Services and Transition at the OSU Wexner Medical Center.
The program at OSU offers patients referrals for diagnostic testing, counseling services, therapy, dental care, nutrition education and more. Adults with autism are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, seizures, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, but are less likely to receive routine checkups and screenings. Many patients with autism struggle with social interaction, so the staff and doctors often communicate with them via technology to make them feel more comfortable.