LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - As children with autism grow into adults, their parents strive to help them live as independently as possible. But housing to meet the needs of adults with autism is in short supply.
Brendan O'Reilly is home from school and tending to chores such as bringing back the empty trash can at his grandmother's house in Carlyss. Brendan has autism and often sees things and hears things differently from most others. He likes to make people laugh.
"Google says that a 2-year-old ate raw bacon," said Brendan, making conversation.
"Oh, my goodness," adds Brendan."I did that before. Yeah. And I got bronchitis from it."
KPLC asks, "So, what does raw bacon taste like?"
"I don't know. Pigs," Brendan said.
When Brendan was small, his mother admits, the idea of him reaching adulthood seemed so far away. But he looks forward to turning 21 years old this year. What does he think about reaching the age of 21?
"Play the lottery," he said.
KPLC asks, "What else are you going to do when you turn 21?"
"Drink as much Dr. Pepper as I want," Brendan said.
Brendan's mom is Darcy O'Reilly who is a school teacher. She is helping to teach her son skills she hopes will improve his ability to live more independently in the future. She would like to see him live in a group home specifically for adults with autism.
"Brendan is an adventure. Every day, every minute, every hour. He's very routine-bound. He has an amazing memory which comes in handy for me," Darcy said.
Right now, there are two homes available for adults with autism in Lake Charles. Darcy said more are needed to help Brendan and others.
"They would be able to take care of him; they would be able to assist him with daily living skills. They would be able to transport him to where he needs to go since he's not able to drive," said Darcy.
The hope is that living in such a home with specially trained people to assist him might help Brendan to reach his full potential.
The cost of another group home is estimated at between $80,000 and $100,000.
Those working to provide housing for adults with autism are holding the "Autism Rocks" fundraiser on Sunday night. It's at 6 p.m. at L'Auberge Casino Resort featuring Paul Groves and Mirage playing 70s and 80s rock and roll.
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