by Chantal and Jeremy Sicile-Kira
If you have an adult who is high functioning ID (Intellectually Delayed), this book will be indispensable to you. If your adult is high functioning autism, this may be your new bible. As the title states, it is a book about issues for those with Autism. Most apply to all people with special needs. It is first and foremost a reference book. Each chapter ends with many references for books and websites. Patrick is not high functioning. I still found a lot of resources useful for him. Additionally, I was reminded of a few ideas I had previously for Patrick and had forgotten in the business of day to day. I’ll share them with you.
I’m going to refer to the Sicile-Kiras as Jeremy and Chantal because after reading what they share in their stories I feel like they are friends.
Each chapter is filled with information and very personal stories from Chantal and Jeremy. Intertwined is heartfelt commentary from her son, Jeremy, on most of the issues. The book addresses many issues, education, employment, relationships, community, living arrangements. She gives suggestions for each topic. Jeremy gives 10 helpful tips on each issue at the end of the chapter. Some are unrealistic from my perspective others are astute. For Fostering Life Skills he says “Teach your child to self regulate. My brain having autism gets me in situations where I can’t think. The very best thing that helps me self regulate is the freedom to pick my goals and work on them.” Chantal closes each chapter with references, books, organizations and websites.
Jeremy understands that he needs a team of people (he calls “Team Jeremy”) to support him through life. He speaks using the (RPM) Rapid Prompting Method facilitated by an iPad and aid. With the support of his team, headed by his mother, renown Autism specialist Chantal Sicile-Kiras, he graduated from high school and passed the California exit exam. His goals in life is to go to college, get a job, get married and own a house. Chantal is trying to help him get there.
Bottom line for our adults is COMMUNICATION. It’s there in every chapter, in every issue, regardless of our adults diagnosis. That’s the scary part, right? They could do a lot of things if they had a full time interpreter. Jeremy frequently thanks his mother in the book for being such a good advocate for him.
Chantal is a huge advocate of self employment. Given the labor market and the abilities of our adults, finding a job is difficult. With the internet there are many ways you can have your adult in a business. Jeremy started writing. He co wrote this book, didn’t he. Keen way to be self employed! Remember if you hire an aid to asist your adult in his entrepreneurship, the upstart organization can pay the salary of the staff. Of course you have to make enough money for that. It’s a great ideal. One I had put aside and might readdress for Patrick.
If your adult has difficulting communication verbally and you are interested in a communication board, a light writer or IPAD, it is possible the MEDICARE will sometimes provide one for them. The link to that is medicare funding.
In order to make our adults dreams come true requires support, which is often not forthcoming from the Regional Center or other state agencies. She describes some experiences with the Regional Center and also with Disabled Student’s Programs and Services at the community colleges in San Diego. They live in San Diego so many of the references she gives are local.
The book is written from the perspective of one who has the expertise and resources to provide an ideal lifestyle for her child who requires around the clock assistance, often with multiple caregivers. Her son has multiple physical issues in addition to being autistic, like most of our adults. She has wonderful ideas that you might be able to incorporate into your adults life. For the references she provides alone the book is worth its price. If you are interested in purchasing the book go here.
Photo taken from google images courtesy of www.autismcollege.com