Shows raising awareness of issues adults with autism face

The statistics are alarming: 1 in 68 children have autism. But, what happens when those kids grow up? (Photo courtesy: MGN/WCIV)

Most of the conversations about autism center on children living with the condition.

The statistics are alarming - 1 in 68 children have autism. But what happens when those kids grow up?

Ashley Blackstone from our sister station in Charleston talks with a man on the spectrum. He says there's a desperate need to do much more.

The Good Doctor is ABC's newest hit show and its dominating Monday night ratings.

The drama centers around a young surgeon with autism. The main character struggles with communication and social settings.

23-year-old Clay Seim can relate. He's not a doctor, but he is an adult on the autism spectrum.

"I need people to know that we are still here after high school. A lot of the awareness isn't there anymore, but the people are still there," said Clay.

Clay was in elementary school when his mom realized something wasn't right.

"We noticed some social things were off and that he couldn't handle disappointments as well and more tantrums and that kind of thing," said Clay's mom, Dawn Brazell.

Years passed and tests were done.

"It was very hard. It was very difficult," Brazzel said.

Finally, a diagnosis came in middle school.

"I wanted to know what he had, so I could better know how to help him and what kind of accommodation to get for him. Not as a barrier for him to live his life but as a, 'Hey, I have this so, what can I do well and let me move on,'" Brazzel said.

One way Clay copes is through "Piece it Together" - a wellness lifestyle program at MUSC for teens and young adults with autism spectrum.

He also works part-time. Clay says having a full-time job, at least for now, causes his symptoms to intensify. The stress is too much.

Fear of the future is another constant concern.

"That is a question that I don't know the answer to and it terrifies me," Clay said. "I have no idea where I am going to be. I am hoping some of these programs will be a little further along. The housing one is one that I am definitely looking forward to- getting some kind of project here in Charleston that can help house young adults with autism."

"I don't need everything provided for me. I just need a little more support in that area to be able to live on my own," Clay said.

It is why Clay wants people watching shows like, "The Good Doctor," and the Netflix hit, "A-Typical," to be cautious.

"There is a saying that if you have met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism," Clay said. "You may have an idea of some of the issues that face them, but in reality it is so varied that you would have to have as many TV shows as there are people out there to truly understand everything."

Even with his hesitancy, he's grateful for the awareness. It's his hope the increased discussion will lead to more critical resources for adults on the spectrum.

"You have small groups of people working and trying to fill these gaps, but they are huge. They are gigantic," Clay said. "These people are doing an amazing job, but they still need more help."

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