Improving Access to Autism Services in Urban Communities
Steve Adubato goes on-location to The North Ward Center for the “Autism: A Different Way of Thinking” forum to speak with Michele Adubato about the lack of services and the challenges those with autism face, especially in urban areas, and why she decided to open the Center for Autism.
"Hi, Steve Adubato. I'm coming to you from the North Ward Center. Part of our series, Autism: A Different Way of Thinking. We're joined by Michele Adubato. I've known you for your entire life. My sister Michele Adubato, Chief Executive Officer of the North Ward Center, and also Founder and President, the Center for Autism. We just had a really important panel discussion. Ten folks looking at, talking about, autism right here at the North Ward Center. What do you mean when you say "a different way of thinking about autism"? I think that we have to look at a person as an individual. And I think that's what came out of that panel. That you can't just look at autism and say, "Just ABA. Full inclusion. No Inclusion." ABA is? Applied Behavioral Analysis. "That's the only thing that works! Everyone's gonna work!" These are these generalities that people make, that sometimes, if we only think that way, then you're only gonna get one result. What... By the way, how the heck do you make policy... government officials, legislators, others who make policy are helping those with autism, when those dealing with autism aren't the same? That's why they call it a spectrum. So it is truly a spectrum. It goes from one level to another. You can have someone with autism that can get a law degree. You can have someone with autism that is functioning below a 40 IQ, nonverbal, and having all types of behavioral... Both with autism? Absolutely. Both autism. My experience is mostly for children with really pervasive, what we call pervasive developmental delays, children that have serious behavioral issues, and their IQs are usually below 40. Talk about the Center for Autism. Yeah. It opened up when officially? Seven years ago. Seven years ago. Describe... I was thinking about this before. Yeah. Because I've been there. I've seen it. But I think what's a typical day? Is there such a thing as a typical day at the Center for Autism? There's a lot of movement, a lot of activity. Describe it. We come in, our students come in. I call them students. They're 30 years old. They're always going to be... Age... what's the ages? 21 and over. And... By design? Absolutely. It's an adult program specifically designed for people 21 and over. Real quick, before we keep talking about the day, what goes on at 21? What changes? Everything. Life changes. All of the mandatory services that a child would get up to 21 is now not mandatory. You have to go out, and you have to seek it. And for... Who's "you"? The parent. The parent..."