SAN ANTONIO - A new study is shedding light on the need for care for adults with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual or developmental disabilities.

  • Study says adults living with autism and intellectual disabilities need more care than they're getting
  • Nearly 22,000 adults in Bexar County live with autism and intellectual disabilities
  • 90 percent of those people not receiving coordinated care 

Directors say it's the first known study of its kind in the United States, and they hope it serves as a launching point for community action.

When a lot of people think of autism, the the first group to come to mind is often children. However, experts say people tend to forget that eventually those children grow up, and that they still need care because it's not something that can be cured with medicine.

"Some of these people are invisible because insurance in some respects has not dealt with this. Some of it is their families know there's something wrong but they don't know what it is," said Tullos Wells with the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.

A new study commissioned by the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation on behalf of Autism Lifeline Links estimates there are nearly 22,000 adults with autism and intellectual disabilities living in Bexar County.

Ninety percent are not receiving coordinated care and of the 10 percent receiving care, 83 percent are living at home with a family caregiver.

The wait time for waiver-funded support can be as long as 15 years, and the lifetime cost for these people in Bexar County is $44.4 billion. The hope is that the study can help connect the dots with people and resources.

The Kronkosky foundation and partners have spent millions of dollars a year to track this.

"San Antonio and Austin are both centers of gravity for medical services and so the more people in those surrounding areas understand that there may be hope for at least a way to deal with this disorder, the better off for everybody," Wells said.

Community stakeholders are asked to join the conversation in a forum in late February. For more information on the study, click here