Tag: adults with autism

Doctors Go Retro for Adult Autism

There’s a new hashtag, and it’s one a long time coming: #autisticadultsmatter.

Autistic adults are frequently part of the “lost generation,” so-called because adults on the autism spectrum do not receive the same levels of support or interest as their child counterparts.

Using the comparison “counterpart” in itself is also not accurate. Autistic adults, given the state of autism even as a diagnosis 15 or more years ago, received none of the support autistic children are given today. Autistic adults are more likely, as a group, to be depressed, to have suicidal thoughts, and to be vastly under-employed — mostly as a result of striving (often at enormous mental cost) to survive, unassisted, in an ostensibly alien NT world.

One way this alien NT world manifests is in the family medical practice clinic. This is why the Makarov Foundation generously donated funds to the Mount Sinai Adult Autism Clinic in Miami Beach, Florida.

Clinics such as Mount Sinai and our own Still Point Medical recognize that adults on the autism spectrum matter. And, a traditional model of family medical care — with its fast-paced, sensory-loud, and definitively un-accommodating environment — does little to assist the autistic adult.

Still Point Medical has taken the challenge and opened what we believe to be the first adult autistic-friendly family medical clinic in New Mexico — and we’ve done it, so far, without any generous donations.

We believe in the need to serve adults on the autistic spectrum, and know that neurotypical patients also can benefit from the calm environment, unhurried pace, and sensory-friendly nature of Still Point, not to mention a genuine understanding and appreciation of adults on the autism spectrum.

We’re often asked “do you see autistic children”? While we value the work being done with ASD children and continue to consider opening Still Point as a “bridge to adulthood” for late-teens, our primary focus and concern is caring for the “lost generation” of autistic adults.

The Albuquerque Journal wrote a recent piece on Still Point and we invite you to take a look at it.

We also invite you to notify friends and family in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area about Still Point — and also lobby in your own area to perhaps convince a medical practice to set up (or adapt) with similar goals.

And, if you happen to know an organization like the Makarov Foundation that may have as its goals, also, concern for autism in adulthood, please pass along this post!

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Tranquil Japanese garden … not the typical waiting room!

When Children with Autism Grow Up …

… they become adults with autism.

This may not seem like a particularly surprising fact. What is surprising, though, is the distinct lack of services and accommodations available for adults on the autism spectrum. It is as though autism “magically disappears” when a child becomes an adult.

It does not disappear.

And, for most adults with autism — especially those over 30 — the situation is, ironically, somewhat inverted. It is as though their autism did not exist before they were adults … because these adults with autism have not had the benefit of any assistance, intervention, or even understanding while growing up.

As a whole, autistic adults are delighted that autistic children are receiving help, and it’s likely that such help will make a magnificent difference in their lives as they grow up. The “lost generation” of autistic adults who did not receive such assistance, however, remains.

Still Point Medical is one of the first family practices in the U.S. (and perhaps the first in its state) designed to accommodate the needs of adults on the autism spectrum. Some of the practice’s features include:

  • a sensory-friendly environment with no televisions, radios, fluorescent light, or crowded waiting rooms;
  • low-tech, unhurried, individualized consultations;
  • therapy dogs and horses;
  • quiet spaces with water fountains and landscaping for reflection; and
  • understanding and knowledgeable family practitioner and staff.

And, it’s not just adults with autism who can experience the calm, caring approach of Still Point. For many people, medicine today has too often become a hurried, high-tech, and even depersonalized experience. Perhaps we all could take a step back, a deep breath, and reflectively consider the ways in which we could change medicine for the better — for us all.

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