Saturday, July 27, 2019

From the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee on Autism Housing Needs, 7/23/19

This is from an account of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee meeting on 7/23/19 by Jill Escher: 

Susan Jennings, founder of Keeping Individuals with Intellectual Disability Safe (KIIDS) shared an oral public comment that her son is one of those who kicks down doors and elopes into traffic. He has been discharged from six different group homes, as none could manage his challenging behaviors. She cited systemic shortcomings to community group home, including severe abuse and toxic over-medication. His salvation was an ICF, and she laughed at the idea of “forced institutionalization” since “You can’t force your way” into an ICF since “they are closed or closing.”

She said her son is far from an anomaly. About 40% of the autism population exhibits severe challenging behavior. Because of the lack of options, these adults often languish in psychiatric facilities, hospitals, or jails. The Olmstead Supreme Court decision recognizes that the ADA does not impel states to close institutions, and indeed that some individuals may need these setting for crisis periods or permanently. They must remain available, as they offer a superior form of care for a segment of the population, she said. There are very high costs to keep some adults “in the community” with too little assistance and supervision. “The state center is a bargain compared to the community,” and also provides her son a much greater degree of personal freedom. Also, unlike community settings, ICFs must meet rigorous standards to be certified. She drew attention to the direct service provider (DSP) shortage: “You are asking people to handle life-and-death emergencies at fast-food wages.” Finally she denounced the “cruel movement afoot” to defund out-of-home options. If parents do not have the ability to care for severely affected adults — who does? We must offer a full range of services.

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