Autism Awareness | Transitioning from childhood to adulthood can be a struggle


Today's Sinclair Cares Report looks at the struggles of transitioning from childhood to adulthood for people on the spectrum.

About 50,000 children with autism turn 18 every year in the United States.

In the basement of his Maryland home, Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer B.J. Surhoff reflects on his major league career.

But it's his role as a dad that has brought the most rewards and the most struggles.

Every day is a challenge.

BJ and his wife Polly have four grown children. Including Mason, who just turned 25 and still needs help shaving.

Mason has autism and taking care of him is a full time job.

If we didn't have a day program similar to what Mason's a part of, we wouldn't have a life.

Mason spends his days at Itineris, a day program that provides young adults with autism with job training, to help them transition into the real world.

Because there is a stark reality that every family faces.

There's a word in the autism world called "falling off a cliff," which is what happens at age 21. When the services and support that were available to school age children are suddenly gone.

And there's another reality.

Mason's transition to adult life brings it's own set of challenges.

His part time job at a local library gives him a sense of independence and productivity. But it isn't easy.

And for the Surhoff's, and every family with a child with autism, there is that looming question about the future.

What happens to them when you're not around. That is many parents' biggest fear.
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