As we celebrate our significant accomplishments over 35 years, we are mindful of many critical needs yet to be addressed
for the rapidly growing number of young adults with autism and related disabilities whose families turn to us for help.
A New Frontier: “Over 21 and on the Autism Spectrum”
In the past several years, the identification of children with autism has grown dramatically.
Now, roughly one in 100 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Although the system of services for these children is far from perfect, there are strong imperatives in place to help ensure the treatment
and education of infants and children with special needs, from birth until 21.
Local school districts have turned to Birch to help meet the increased demand for services for these children—
and we have provided thousands of preschool, elementary, and high school students with cutting edge education services over the years.
But, all of these children are growing up…
For nearly 21 years, their schools provided daily out-of-home learning and social experiences for children with special needs that
have been crucial to the progress they have made.
However, for many young adults with autism and related disorders over the age of 21,
there are far fewer programs and services available to help them. Now, all too often, they are:
- Isolated from friends
- Not undergoing training
- Living with their parents
Birch Family Services is committed to helping these families…
In the spirit of our long history of providing innovative solutions to difficult problems for people with disabilities,
Birch is ready to help families and government create a comprehensive, effective, and affordable system of care for those more capable
individuals with autism who will still need a lifetime of training, support, guidance,
and protection beyond what their families alone can provide.
This problem is multi-faceted— and so are the solutions…
We are in the initial stages of tackling this problem— and we are starting by speaking with parents, young adults with autism,
other professionals, and government agencies about where the gaps are, which programs and services may help, and how to fund them.
At this point, the greatest needs are:
- Develop and maintain successful social relationships
- Get and keep a job
- Live as independently as possible
- Improve the family’s access to information about existing resources
We have outlined and begun to develop a comprehensive network of programs and services to meet these needs.
To build this new network of programs and services, support from a variety of sources will be needed:
public funding, participant fees, foundation grants, and private donations.
Learn about Birch’s New Frontier Program »