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U.S. adults with autism may face housing crisis

Updated: Nov 13, 2013 09:51 AM

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with autism face a shortage of housing and support services in the United States, according to a new survey.

Within the next decade, at least 500,000 U.S. teens with autism will enter adulthood. Many will require access to the adult services system, which is already overburdened, the Autism Speaks survey found.

"The results of the National Housing and Residential Supports Survey underscore the overwhelming need for more housing and residential support options and services," Lisa Goring, vice president of family services at Autism Speaks, said in a news release from the organization.

The survey findings were scheduled for presentation Wednesday at an autism policy summit in Washington, D.C.

The nationwide poll involved more than 10,000 respondents, including caregivers and nearly 400 people with autism. More than 84 percent of caregivers said they had an adult with autism living at home, and only 24 percent of those adults were currently on a waiting list to receive housing and residential support services.

Nearly 78 percent of caregivers said the person with autism required some daily support; nearly 70 percent of caregivers said they did not have outside help to care for their loved ones with autism; and more than half of caregivers said they need assistance.

"It was important that we hear from our community, both those with autism and the caregivers of those who cannot respond themselves," Goring said. "Adults with [autism] should be able to live as independently as possible, and this survey is the first step in understanding what that may look like for some individuals."

People with an autism spectrum disorder have problems with communication and social behavior. These problems can range from mild to severe and cause difficulties in many areas of life.

More information

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has more about adults with autism.

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