AUTISM AFTER 21
When children are diagnosed with autism, our nation invests generously to provide suitable opportunities for learning, growth and development. But when children with autism become adults with autism, those supports vanish even as their parents age.
Madison House Autism Foundation, sponsor of the national Autism After 21 Day, worked with congressman Van Hollen in 2018 to officially declare this special designation for April 21st into the United States Congressional Record. MHAF established this annual observance to shine light on the talents, abilities and challenges of adults living with autism.
Due to the necessary precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted to a virtual event held on November 19, 2020. At the moment when needs were growing greater than ever, this made it possible to reach a nationwide audience. At this virtual Day of Action, we gather thought leaders, self-advocates, family members, policy makers, elected officials and business leaders in a united effort to shape a more positive future for adults with autism and their families and to advocate for stronger, more inclusive communities.
Desiree Kameka Galloway, national autism housing expert and Director of our Autism Housing Network, spoke at the virtual event. Check out the video below to see how we empower local communities to help solve the national housing crisis.
Desiree has over a decade of experience in disability housing including work on national, state, and local policies. Additionally, as a thought leader in the national housing arena, she is a sought-after speaker. Her presentations have been delivered to local, national, and international audiences. Furthermore, Desiree offers technical assistance to developers of emerging housing solutions as well as to parents, advocates, and communities.
Kennedy O. Onuoha is an autistic self-advocate and guest-writer for Madison House Autism Foundation. She is passionate about creating a more accepting and accessible world for autistic adults. In addition, Kennedy is a student at Johns Hopkins University, and is on track to become a physician. She is a crusader for greater neuro-diversity in medicine.
Kennedy is featured in our newest #imagine21 mini-documentary which premiered during the virtual event. The series spotlights the lives of adults on the spectrum and has been featured in film festivals across the country.
The Arts for Autism Initiative plays a vital and creative role in our effort to expand understanding of adult autism.
Arts for Autism brings together autistic artists with neuro-typical artists from across the country. Together, they participate in the same program, on the same stage, or in the same gallery.
This combination of art and artists of many abilities illustrates what the greater community stands to gain from the collaboration of autistic and neuro-typical individuals. Certainly, the recognition and appreciation of unique and wonderful talents enriches the life of the community. Importantly, engaging with art produced by autistic artists offers a window through which to hear and understand autistic voices and to glimpse the world through their eyes.
Additionally, each year MHAF curates an art show of 21 works by autistic artists, The Autism After 21 Art Show. We invite autistic artists to submit their work for consideration.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
We recognize our extraordinary sponsors of this Autism After 21 Day of Action Event. Please continue to support those who understand and value the importance of a neuro-inclusive world.