Sunday, September 23, 2012

California Unprepared for Wave of Autistic Adults

JP Samuel, alongside his ventriloquism
puppet Skully, bursts out in song
with a karaoke computer
program at his home in Camarillo.

Editor's note: A little over a decade ago, California officials raised an alarm about the growing number of children being diagnosed with autism. The Star examined the struggles of several Ventura County children who were part of that surge in 2000. In this series, we look at what has happened to them as they've come of age.

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Dressed in a black tuxedo and dancing with a pretty blonde partner, JP Samuel went to a prom for special-needs teenagers this year. It was more than his mother could hope for when he was a baby. Her autistic son didn't coo, couldn't stand to be hugged, screamed with night terrors.
Over the years, though, he's learned to talk, read and make friends.
"I'm just tickled pink at where we are," said his mother, Kris Samuel of Camarillo. "I'll take it."

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