December 3, 2019
Nick Redfern, diagnosed with autism, filled his school days with lessons and field trips that taught him skills he needs for a life on his own.
But that all changed when he turned 22.
Aging out of the state's public special education system, Nick now stays at home, where his mother worries he is becoming more and more isolated and losing what he has learned. She wants to get him into adult programs funded by the state that would continue his training and maybe even set him up in a group home.
Susie Redfern has been waiting for a spot to open for three years. Her son is now 25.
“I’m hoping he’ll have activities and work every day and get the support he needs to basically have a life that’s more than just me and my husband,” Redfern said. “Because we’re not going to be here forever.”
Nick is among nearly 20,000 disabled adults in Illinois who are on a waiting list to get into adult programs. Many of them come from families who don’t have a way to pay for home care, job coaches or other services.