Major Report Released on Utah Autism Inclusion
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ann Carrick
Email: [email protected]
Madison House Autism Foundation (MHAF) and partners across Utah released a major report of significant first-round data with autistic adults and their communities on June 7th, creating a guide for increasing community inclusion. The project is in partnership with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services; Columbus Community Center; the Utah Parent Center; the Utah State University Institute for Disability, Research, Policy, and Practice; and more. 5.4 million autistic adults throughout the U.S. face an extreme drop-off in supports and community inclusion after age 21, and the first findings from this research shows how that gap can be addressed at the local and state levels. From housing to employment to social inclusion, MHAF and partners surveyed a large number of self-advocates, family members, and community leaders across Utah. They asked about needs and preferences in these different areas, community attitudes and knowledge about autism, how inclusive their communities are, barriers to inclusion, and more. One major finding was that less than 20% of Utah autistic adults have access to autism-friendly affordable housing, a social community, or recreation opportunities.
The report features not only data but tools that policymakers, community leaders, and advocates can use for implementing change. Good data is key to prompting solutions. With data and tools from this report in hand, MHAF and partners will soon be facilitating meetings across Utah, attempting to reach each community of autistic individuals, family members, and community leaders to create customized local strategies. Once those strategies are crafted, partnering organizations in each community will implement the changes, and the project team will work with them to track outcomes.
As part of the larger, nationwide movement toward greater inclusion, leaders and community members across Utah can look to this report to be part of the change. One crucial component of quality inclusion work is uplifting the voices of those who often are silenced, and the voiced needs of autistic adults are at the forefront in the report. Sumiko Martinez, Director of the Utah Project, shares that “adults with autism have often been left out of the conversation. In order to build a truly inclusive state, we absolutely need the perspectives and priorities of autistic adults and their families.” Utahns who want to add their voice to be part of the change can keep track of events and upcoming survey opportunities by signing up here. From autistic adults to families to business leaders, all Utahns have the chance to build more inclusive communities.
Beyond Utah, the report is an exciting first step in creating a larger blueprint process for other states in building inclusive communities.
Learn more about the Utah Project at madisonhouseautism.org/projects/utah.
The mission of Madison House Autism Foundation is to promote, model and advocate for the full inclusion of adults with autism and their families in the life of our communities; and to expand choice and opportunity in housing, employment, and social participation.