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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Autism on Staten Island

The Staten Island Advance profiles an ASD youth named Nick D'Amora and his mother Barbara. The article notes the limits of New York's insurance mandate:
It doesn’t apply to the services Mrs. D’Amora is most worried about — respite and community rehabilitation for families, day or quality residential programs for autistic adults, who often do not have private insurance.

“It does nothing for the lifespan of services that people need and deserve,” she said.

And as the population of children diagnosed with autism continues to balloon, wait lists for those programs grow longer and longer for families on Staten Island. Nationally, at least 1 million people with intellectual or developmental disabilities nationwide are on waiting lists for services they may never get, according to The Arc’s 2011 Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) survey.

Nick won’t be entitled to the services he gets now once he turns 21. Mrs. D’Amora has already started putting him on wait lists for adult day programs so he will have something to do each day when he is grown.

“Without these services, there’s no quality of life,” she said. “How would you like to be home with your parents your whole adult life?”