“Our duty in autism is not to cure but to relieve suffering and to maximize each person’s potential,”
- John Elder Robison
A 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reports that 2.5 million people in the United States are autistic or are on the autism spectrum, also known as ASD/autism spectrum disorder. Autism is the fastest-growing social and developmental disability in the United States. Data now indicates that 1 in 54 children are autistic, with boys diagnosed four times more than girls. To date, over 750 thousand young adults in America are on the spectrum. Autism is a neurological disorder where people on the spectrum handle information in their brain differently than other people (www.cdc.gov). For a great number of people on the spectrum, autism presents as a hidden disability. Ranging from a person who remains non-verbal to a brilliant scientist, a common thread in the autism community is the lack of social interactions that can go from little to no emotional contact with others to social awkwardness in maintaining relationships. However, many variables such as research, awareness, and technological advances, can assist those on the spectrum with living more independent lives. Although there has been substantial progress in the study of autism and the availability of funding for research, the need for adult supports continues to outweigh the availability of funds for resources.