State of Michigan badly in need of autism resources

Mental health intervention has come a long way throughout the years, but as with many fields, much is left to accomplish.

Local retired physician Virginia Killough recently related to The Mining Journal her struggles with finding continuing care for her 32-year-old autistic son, who is under hospital care for issues related to his condition.

Her son previously had lived on his own with direct care staff to help him.

However, in a way he is in medical limbo now, and Killough wants to get him back home.

She expressed concern over two main issues: a lack of continuum of care for autistic people like her son who need care beyond their youth, and the problem of getting direct care staff.

It’s her opinion — and the opinion of others, including The Mining Journal — that these workers need better pay and working conditions in a challenging job.

Killough noted that when there are services for autism, they’re for children. She also doesn’t believe that there are proper facilities to temporarily send people as well as professionals to come to the area to help him.

Not every medical professional is trained to deal with adult autistic people, nor is every facility. This is where the state of Michigan should direct more resources.

Of course, living in one’s own home is preferable in many if not most situations, so we also believe that having properly trained and compensated direct care workers is essential.

So, how do we tackle the two-pronged autism problem?

Should medical schools offer more in-depth curricula about adult autism? Should the state open more transient care institutions? And how do we better compensate direct care workers?

It’s not just a local hospital’s responsibility, nor should anyone cast blame on a particular institution Their hard-working employees are just that, hard-working.

The systemic problem, though, lies with giving autistic people the proper treatment throughout their entire lives so they can live a long and fulfilling life.

It’s a complicated problem with no easy solutions. The first step, as with many dilemmas, is acknowledging the problem.


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