The Ability Project

This is Why…

Incidence of autism in the United States, 1997 to 2009

The math isn’t complicated. There are about 61,000 seniors in Maryland’s high schools (12th graders, not their grandparents). They were born in the early-to-mid 1990′s when rates of autism had rocketed to about 1 per 150. Some of those diagnosed with autism are able to live independent lives with no support. However, the great majority will require some form of support for their entire lives.

So every May, as ¬†about 400 Maryland families (61,000/150) join the ranks of families with a disabled, dependent adult child returning home – permanently. Montgomery County Maryland is about 20% of the State’s population, so each May up to about 80 families join the group in Montgomery County alone. While The State of Maryland provides (conditional) funding for vocational (work day)¬†programs for the disabled, funding for residential services is reserved for only the most difficult cases, such as orphaned adults with profound disabilities.

Ignoring the funding issues, there has been no apparent attempt to create a community in which adults with disabilities can live, learn, socialize, play, relax and otherwise enjoy the life to which most of us aspire (with varying degrees of success).

The Ability Project, or something like it, is necessary in order to provide our developmentally disabled citizens a path towards a challenging and fulfilling life that provides an opportunity for a level of independence desired by the the program’s residents and their families.