By Brigitte Shipman
In this week's episode, I interview Patricia Lemer, an author of three books including Outsmarting Autism, to talk about transitioning kids on the spectrum into adulthood.
Patricia Lemer is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and practiced as an educational diagnostician in the Washington, DC area for over 40 years. She was a co-founder and served as Executive Director of Developmental Delay Resources (DDR), an international, non-profit organization for 20 years.
Ms. Lemer and I talk about the estimated 800,000 adults that are entering adulthood needing support services and how we as a society need to prepare for a very wide range of kids with different abilities entering post-secondary education and employment.
Ms. Lemer says that transition is a huge team sport that involves schools, government, social service agencies, parents, and the child and we need to look at the developmental level of each child instead of their chronological age by giving them a functional assessment to see where the child is in many different areas including nutrition, finances, personal hygiene, sensory skills, and social skills.
She tells us about the alternate options to traditional college and employment that include internships, college-like programs, day programs, colleges with monitored apartments with “house parents,” farm programs, and multigenerational communities with jobs.
She talks about the innovative businesses that parents of kids with autism are creating to employ adults on the spectrum like Rising Tide Car Wash and The Chocolate Spectrum.
Ms. Lemer says to help kids find ways to use their obsessions and passions in a productive way and to harness their technical skills to make a vocation out of it.
Finally, she addresses the slightly controversial topic of the neurodiversity movement and its positive and possibly negative aspects.
You can find Ms. Lemer's books Outsmarting Autism: Build Healthy Foundations for Communication, Socialization, and Behavior at All Ages, Outsmarting Autism: The Ultimate Guide to Management, Healing and Prevention (now available in Italian), and EnVisioniong a Bright Future: Interventions that Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders wherever books are sold.
You can also listen to her biweekly webcast radio podcast, "The Autism Detectives" on www.HealthyLife.net.
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