(PRUnderground) July 31st, 2020
Ten percent of American families have an autistic or is Intellectually/Developmentally Disabled (IDD) member of their immediate family. When these children become adults at 21 years of age, they face the “Cliff”. Adolescent services are discontinued and families must be replaced by adult service providers. On the other side of the Cliff, there are fewer adult service providers, end even less funding. Making their way across that cliff is a traumatic experience. Yet, few providers are willing to disrupt this broken system and create the next generation of services. But there are a few exceptions, like Adriana Piltz, the CEO of Nicky’s Gardens of Hope.
Adriana came to America in her 20s. When she got to America she found that “job” her “friend” lined up for her was with a clothing sweatshop. But Adriana was never one to accept fate, and soon learned enough English to get a better job, got her college degree, became a US citizen, and eventually became the President of a Wall Street Brokerage firm. Along the way other things happened. She became a wife and a mother. And she learned that her baby boy Nicky was highly Autistic and would need extensive brain surgery if he was to live to be 10 years old.
Adriana managed these accomplishments in her private and her business life. But as Nicky grew up, and Adriana grew older, she realized that son would outlive her. Soon her son would be 21 and would face the Cliff. How could she plan for his security when she was gone? Like many other parents, she agonized over how Nicky would be cared for, she had nightmares about abuse and neglect. Touring existing “permanent homes” did little to calm her fears. The quality, constrained by insufficient funding, was almost always shockingly poor. And even for these services, waiting lists were as long as 15 years. Seeing no reliable or desirable permanent homes for Nicky, in late 2018 she put together a team that could build a new generation of services for adults like Nicky. Today, Adriana is working on a feasibility study and is in the final stages of selecting a site in the historic Hudson Valley, in New York State.
The need for new services is immense. It costs $1.5 million to $3.5 million, depending on the level of disability and the location, to provide services for an Autistic Adult. A Harvard White Paper on housing for Autistic Adults, “Disability Housing: What’s happening? What’s challenging? What’s needed?”. The report tells us that the overwhelming question for parents with a child approaching the Cliff is” Where will my child live and who will support them after I die?”, echoing Adriana’s own words. Similarly, the Harvard report found a waiting list for a permanent home that is also up to 15 years. The few lucky adults who find a place to live may live there for 40 years or more, without much of a quality of life, or dignity for their families.
In a recent interview with TSC Talks in Boston, Adriana made her position clear. “I don’t want to create a group home. I really believe that creating a community, a village, all together, in the same place. Business lines that will employ people with different abilities and profiles. You know, the life that they deserve and wanted to have. Everyone deserves to be the best they can be.” Adriana continued, “I want to make sure that every single person living in our homes is happy. And the parents and caregivers are happy, that they find it is a great place. It will take time maybe. But I do believe that with, you know, everybody who’s trying to help now. They have the same mission, the same Compassion as we do. They just want to make sure that we’ll be able to provide the best care, best services, for people and caregivers.”
If you are one of the 50,000 families that have an Autistic or IDD child who will face the Cliff this year, and you need to know more about your options or Nicky’s Gardens of Hope, log in to TSC Talk’s interview with Adriana Piltz at tsctalks.com and contact Adriana and the Nicky’s Gardens of Hope team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (914) 440-4751.
About Nicky’s Gardens of Hope
Nicky’s Gardens of Hope is a welcoming, home community who’s environment is attuned to the living care of autistic and intellectually developmentally disabled adults and their families. It is dedicated to providing a revolutionary level of care for America’s rapidly growing and aging Autistic and IDD population. It integrates and interacts with the local community to bring dignity to everyday life for residents, family, friends, and visitors. It allows residents opportunities to participate in work therapy that can lead to employment opportunities. It provides a unique B corporation model as a channel for both donations and impact investment for social good and financial returns. It actively engages to incubate new business that creates additional revenue streams and make the garden bloom.Press Contact
Original Press Release.