When GAN became a non-profit organization in 2006, there was very little information known about autism, and nothing online to advise grandparents about how they could help their family members. GAN was established to provide evidence based information about autism to grandparents and to help them understand therapies and treatments. As more information is now available about how autism is diagnosed and treated, GAN has become more focused on providing lifetime resources for adults with autism.
At present, 90% of the financial support for people with autism is designated for children from birth to age 10 years old. There are few adult resources, especially in newer communities, where they may not exist at all. Grandparents can be very effective advocates in the development of new lifetime supports. Here are some suggestions for ways in which you can advocate:
- Contact local Senators and Congressman to request more adult programs and services in your and your grandchild’s community
- Encourage community colleges to provide post-secondary or vocational education courses for people with developmental disabilities
- Help to increase employment opportunities by patronizing and complimenting businesses that already employ people with disabilities and encourage them to hire even more.
- Speak to business owners about employment opportunities for people with autism who may even have special abilities that match a job description. If possible, help to establish a business that employs people with autism.
- Advocate for or help to develop affordable residential or independent housing options for people with disabilities
- Identify and increase community medical, legal, recreational and social lifetime resources
We can become strong advocates for our grandchildren, even if they live at a distance. Send an email, make a call or engage with a business owner when you’re dining out or shopping. It’s easy to do!