Each year over 100,000 children with autism become adults with autism. That is 400,000 people in the next four years turning 21–the age at which federally mandated services stop. They will join the millions of adults with disabilities who face decades-long wait lists for residential services and little or no opportunity for employment or social interaction. As things stand today, they will spend the majority of their lives as adults in a world of few opportunities.

Autism After 21 Day has been officially declared nationally in Congress through the collaborative work of Madison House Autism Foundation and originally supported by U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, now shepherded by Congressman Jaime Raskin (MD).

“Each year, our nation invests billions of dollars through education for individuals with autism and related disabilities,” said JaLynn Prince, President and Founder of Madison House Autism Foundation. “Yet we do little to ensure that our investment results in a productive and meaningful future. When school and services for individuals with autism end at age 21, most face a lifetime with little hope of employment or any opportunity to build a meaningful life. We are committed to making sure they will, indeed, have such opportunities.”

We would love to see Autism After 21 Day across the nation in local communities. The Madison House Autism Foundation started this national movement in Montgomery County, MD and has provided a template of the Proclamation they used below and a short video to show how this Proclamation can inspire our community to be more autism-friendly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz1TyKaLAhg

We have created a tool kit that will streamline the process and allow you to easily ask your community leaders to do so on a local level in your home city or county.

STEP 1: Identify what elected official of the community you live in, who represents you and whom you would like to make the request through the Government Contact Website. This could be your City Council or Trustees of a Town.

STEP 2: Customize our template letter and proclamation template to reach out to the elected official you have chosen. Feel free to edit it to tell your story or simply fill in the blanks.

STEP 3: Send the letter via email and attachment preferably, or contact form.

STEP 4: Let us know who you sent it to so we can add you to our growing list of Autism After 21 Day advocates.

STEP 5: Follow up with the contacted officials in 3 days to see if they have received your request and ask for a response.

STEP 6: If you wish to take this to the next level one year from now and host an Autism After 21 Day event on April 21, 2021, please submit your full name and address to us to receive a free Autism After 21 Day tool kit available in September 2020!

Thank you for your passion and hard work in getting Autism After 21 Day declared in your community! Working together, a better future is possible.

About the Author

Christina Wandry

Christina oversees marketing and communications for the Autism Housing Network (AHN) with the intention to create connections between neurodiverse individuals, their families and a variety of organizations. Christina manages the AHN’s digital marketing, content curation, graphic design, social media platforms and website. She has a passion for helping people on the autism spectrum and their families and takes pride in helping provide the best housing solutions for them. Christina earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Utah.