Publication Date: August 22, 2023
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Now in paperback. A game-changing exploration of what the future holds for the first generation of mainstreamed neurodiverse kids that is coming of age.
After sleepless nights, intensive research, and twenty-one years of raising a child, Ethan, with autism and intellectual disability, Cammie McGovern is approaching a distinct catch-22. Once Ethan turns twenty-two, he will fall off the “Disability Cliff.” By aging out of the school system, he’ll lose access to most social, educational, and vocational resources. The catch is this: These resources, limited as they may be, have trained Ethan in skills for jobs that don’t exist and a life he can’t have.
Here, McGovern expands on her #1 New York Times piece, “Looking into the Future for a Child with Autism,” a future that often appears grim, with statistics like an 85 percent unemployment rate for people with ID. McGovern spent a year traveling the country and looking at the options for work and housing—and to her surprise discovered reasons to be optimistic. She asks the tough questions: What should parents prioritize as they ready their children for adulthood? How do we redefine success for our children? How can we sustain a hopeful attitude while navigating one obstacle after another?
As Ethan makes his way into the world, McGovern also looks into the hardest question of all: How can we ensure an independent future when we’re gone? Hard Landings will serve as a renewed beacon of hope for parents who want to ensure the fullest life possible for their child’s future.
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