Augusta, GA — When we think of autism, we often think of children and their struggle with school and interacting with other people. What we do not often consider is the fact that those children grow up and become adults. That void is something that researchers at Augusta University are investigating — how to care for adults with autism.
It is obvious when you talk to Teal Benevides, an associate professor and occupational therapist at Augusta University, that she is excited about her work. Her latest project is “Priority Setting to Improve Health Outcomes: Autistic Adults and Other Stakeholders Engage Together”. It is a project that has recently received $250,000 in funding from the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement award. The goal of the project is to highlight the health effects of adult autism.
While there is increased support for children with autism, adults with the disorder are at risk for a range of chronic health conditions, including obesity and heart disease. With little being done to address those needs. Dr. Benevides’ group is working to change that.
Partnering with Dr. Benevides are two people that are highly respected in their own right. Dr. Stephen Shore is a board member of Autism Speaks and a Adelphi University professor of special education. Also part of the team is Anita Lesko, a graduate of Columbia University, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, and the founder of Global Autism Consulting Organization. What makes these partners special, beyond being academics, is that they bring an important dynamic since they are both adults with autism.
A Facebook page and website will be launching soon, but in the meantime Dr. Benevides welcomes people to contact her with questions via email at TBenevides@augusta.edu or by calling her office at 706-446-0003.