So, here's the warning to my middle class and wealthy friends-- To help your child with autism prepare for the future, you need to study SSI and Section 8 before he, she or she/he reaches adulthood. Then, no matter how wealthy you are, on your child's 18th birthday, get him onto the Section 8 wait-list in your own county, and in nearby counties. I wish I'd learned about the Section 8/SLS "vicious cycle" way back when David first started college so that I could have gotten him onto the waiting lists back then. Oooooooooooooooops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
First, some vocabulary--
- SLS (Supported Living Services)-- provides Regional Center-funded staff to allow adults with intellectual disabilities and with developmental disabilities (such as autism) to live in apartments or houses rather than institutional settings such as CCF's and HCF's.
- Section 8--
Second, a big warning for parents who think they can avoid these concerns by forcing their son or daughter into a CCF, HCF or any other housing against their will--
God bless America and California, because each adult privileged to hold U.S. citizenship and California residence has the right to strive to afford the living situation that best serves the objectives of one's community integrated life. If the autistic adult is not mute, and can speak for himself, (AND is a client of the Regional Center), then IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT THE PARENT WANTS AS THE HOUSING OPTION.
Gone are the days of "placing" adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities into housing that parents and case workers decide is best. The IPP is now designed according to the "Person Centered Plan", and the IPP reflects THE DECISION OF THE ADULT WITH AUTISM whether to live in a CCF, HCF, shared house or apartment, or in one's own apartment with staff to help. (Reminder: There are no more Developmental Centers (DC's).
Finally, a statement of David's problem (and possibly your own adult child's future problem?)--
David's IPP and ISP state that he chooses to live in Davis, California because it is close to his Vocational Rehabilitation program called "Community and Employment Services" (a division of "Progressive Employment Concepts"). He would also like to live in his own apartment with the help of Supported Living Services staff. However, it will be a long, long time (if ever) before David can earn enough to pay market prices for rent in Davis. (See "Autism Job Club" by Michael Bernick and Richard Holden to understand why college educated adults with autism end up on SSI).
Because he can't handle a long workday, SSI pays David's rent and food, but because I failed to get David onto Section 8 wait-lists early enough, he cannot afford his own home.
No problem? Just share an apartment?
That's what I thought!
Not "no problem", though. Here is where the "Vicious Cycle" really, really kicks in. And, unfortunately, my hour per day dedicated to online typing is up, and I must get back to my overly full to-do list.... so, stay tuned for my explanation of the "Section 8- SLS Vicious Cycle"...