Growing Old with Autism

It is estimated that 1 out of every 150 American children is living with autism. And yet little attention is paid to what happens when they grow up. A personal account of the silent struggle of adult autistics

Max S. Gerber for TIME

Noah Greenfeld, 42, who spent 15 years in a state mental facility, is now in an assisted living home near his parents in Los Angeles.

Noah, my younger brother, does not talk. Nor can he dress himself, prepare a meal for himself or wipe himself. He is a 42-year-old man, balding, gaunt, angry and, literally, crazy. And having spent 15 years at the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., a state facility, Noah has picked up the con's trick of lashing out before anyone could take a shot at him.

Noah's autism has been marked by "three identified high priority maladaptive behaviors that interfere with his adaptive programming. These include banging his head against solid surfaces, pinching himself and grabbing others," according to his 2004...

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