My name is Elsbeth Dodman.
I'm 30 years old and way past the cutoff age of 18. I am not eligible for any services under the new OAP. There are no social opportunities in my area, no supports, no wait-lists to get on because after 18 there is nothing to wait for.
I face an 80% unemployment rate (We Have Something to Say, 2016) and despite my skills and post graduate degrees, I am still living below the poverty line.
I can't afford a place of my own in town. I am not be able to live fully independently; needing someone to come in once or twice a week and make sure I've paid bills, reordered medication, booked/kept appointments and am doing well. Because of this I am still relying on my parents who are not getting younger. What will happen to me when they die? What will happen to me when I reach retirement age? How will I live?
Mom says her biggest wish is that she will see me living well and as independently as possible before she dies.
I require counseling and right now I pay for that out of pocket. I have an OT that I pay for out of pocket.
The new OAP does nothing for me or my friends who are over the age of 18. It doesn't reflect our needs or our lives and puts us in danger of living in poverty or without adequate housing. When this happens we wind up on the streets, in the hospitals or in jail.
How can we have an Ontario Autism Plan that does not plan for anyone over 18? Won't the Autistic children of today be grown tomorrow? I am the ghost of your Christmas future come to warn you of the no-man's land we've created for Autistic life after 18.
Please do not abandon Autistic Adults and our families.