As an Autism Mommy I frequently see ads, articles and postings on Facebook about early intervention and how it will “Save the World” or some crazy claim like that. Now before I get to high on my soapbox, let me start by saying that I think that early intervention is awesome. It is a great start. Early intervention was a huge piece of the puzzle for Autism Boy and helped us to start to map out how we could best help him. But……..there is one huge flaw we need to discuss. Early intervention covers children who are roughly 6 months of age to 5 years. Well, what happens at 5 years old? Will the autism simply go away because my child is no longer covered by the programs?
In our experience everything was golden during the early intervention ages. We had resources, support, care, and there was funding for all of those things. We felt like we had a team. People cared. But then Autism Boy turned 6. That was our hardest year. All of the programs he was in kicked him out. All the state, local and educational resources simply dried up. At the magical age of 6 he no longer needed resources or at least that’s how we were treated. We were on our own.
That first year felt like we were walking through Death Valley and the vultures were circling around us. It was the worst year for us. The isolation was overwhelming. Our cries for help went unanswered. The medical professionals were a joke. They didn’t have any answers for support since Autism Boy had surpassed the magic age. So what is the answer.
Well people, need to stop supporting early intervention. Yes, I said it. There are so many fully funded programs for the early intervention ages that we need to redirect our focus and develop programs for children 6-18 years of age. Programs that help children after the early intervention age are few and far between and we need to correct that. It’s time we look at support services for children of all ages. I challenge you, the next time someone asks you to support an autism program and they start their sales pitch with “we support early intervention”, ask what they do for older children and adults. Be the change. Help individuals at all ages.