SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning, the State of Utah has the second-highest prevalence rate for autism in the United States. The most recent prevalence estimate by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that 1 in 58 children in Utah is on the autism spectrum.
But once these children move into adulthood, they bump up against the cliff of disappearing services. The state stops providing the support of educational services after they turn 22-years-old.
Some individuals don’t even receive their diagnosis until after they became an adult. Experts and advocates say there is an unfilled need for autism services that meet the needs and are accessible for every adult in Utah.
Adults with autism are found to have extremely high unemployment rates of 80 to 85 percent. This is due to a number of factors, including significant needs for programs that can help them build skills.
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we are continuing our In Focus discussion series with “Adults Living with Autism.” Jason Brentner and Havoq Luscivia (they/them) joined ABC4’s Emily Florez on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. to share their lived experiences as an adult on the autism spectrum; the difficulties, challenges, and barriers they face in society, their personal relationships, and when trying to seek resources; and what we can all do as a community to improve the quality of life for our adult autism community.
Heather Davis, Director of the Adult Autism Center of Lifetime Learning discussed the new facility opening in Murray next month, aimed to bridge the gap in resources and services for adults with autism. It is the first of its kind in Utah and experts estimate there are around 1,000 people in Salt Lake County, who could qualify and benefit from their program.
For more information about the Adult Autism Center of Lifetime Learning, click here.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Brentner, Luscivia, and Davis, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.