Autism advocates are meeting Friday at 16 sites across the country to develop a united agenda to address the needs of a growing number of adults with the disorder.

The national town hall meeting will use web technology to bring together participants in cities across the country to develop and vote on a series of policy initiatives covering issues like employment, housing, safety, recreation, transportation and social opportunities.

Organizers said they expect more than 1,000 participants including adults with autism, family members, community members, neighbors, employers, service providers, representatives of funding and support agencies, elected officials and others.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

“There is a tidal wave of children with autism who will become adults during the next decade and our society has yet to address how the need for services, jobs, housing and other opportunities to lead fulfilling and productive lives will be met,” said Peter Bell, executive vice president of Autism Speaks and co-chair of Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA), a consortium that’s organizing the event.

Results from the town hall meeting will be used to shape the agenda of AFAA and its partner organizations, which include Autism Speaks, Easter Seals and the Organization for Autism Research.

“By taking action now, we can ensure that adults with autism break free of the all-too-common status of dependency and become engaged, involved and ideally, tax-paying, members of their communities,” said Ilene Lainer, AFAA co-chair and executive director of the New York Center for Autism.

Read more stories like this one. Sign up for Disability Scoop's free email newsletter to get the latest developmental disability news sent straight to your inbox.