Let's help adults with autism help us

As Autism Month draws to a close, our emotions are divided between a great sense of hope and the relentless reality that we still have a long way to go to become a truly inclusive society.

Over the past few years, our society has shown rapid growth and greater sensitivity to the cause of autistic adults and their families. Thanks to socially engaged organizations that are open to their reality, many autistic adults are able to thrive and make significant contributions to the job market.

Among others, let's think about the St-Hubert rotisseries, which opened inclusive dining rooms and used fair hiring programs in their restaurants and their food production plants. These initiatives ensure that people with autism work under the same conditions, especially pay, as their colleagues, without any discrimination. These examples are sources of inspiration that demonstrate what we can achieve when we put diversity at the heart of our priorities.

Despite these advances, many young people with autism are still under-resourced as they reach adulthood and, like their parents, often face a lack of services to support their children. The case of Dominic, a 21-year-old autistic adult, which made headlines earlier this year, highlights these variations and this rigidity, in which the system can sometimes shut down. In fact, Dominique invested body and soul during her training at a hospital in her region and earned a special place in the hearts of her colleagues who recognized the value of her contribution. Despite his exemplary work and his boundless motivation, he could not be employed in the hospital for purely administrative reasons.

This scenario illustrates the obstacles that autistic adults face in their quest for autonomy and social integration. This injustice should make us question ourselves as a society. What do we want for these citizens and our society? Are autistic adults forced to live at the government's expense or are they contributing to our world to grow to the height of their potential?

The answer is obvious, but service delivery isn't always. Parents of adults with autism are often confused about resources in their area because there is no centralization of information. As a result, these young autistic adults and their families find themselves helpless, not knowing which door to knock on.

Fortunately, foundations like the Autistic & Major Foundation, which was formed three years ago, and many community organizations are committed to making the cause known to the public and raising awareness among decision makers. things. Despite the many promising programs we fund every year, we need government support to build or support more day care centers and allow new enrollment programs to see the light of day.

Now is the time to take concerted action to better support adults with autism and their families. Every person in our society should have the opportunity to exploit their full potential, regardless of their neurological type.

Sophie Pregent, Chairman, Autistic & Major Foundation

Charles LaFortune, Vice President, Autistic & Major Foundation

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