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Facing adulthood with autism

It’s a year of change for Evan Sheldrake.

This spring, he will graduate from his special needs high school program.

It’s a step into adulthood for the 21 year-old inspiration for Evan’s Ride for Autism, which will be held in Smithville June 10.

It’s also a worrying step into the unknown for Evan and his family as he leaves the structure and familiarity of his high school years.

Evan’s needs for everyday support are challenging. Evan will never be able to live independently, drive a car, or hold a job that involves more than doing simple repetitive tasks.

Next year, he’ll attend a new program at Community Living and spend more time with his grandmother while he continues to work on his life skills.

His family continue to support his adjustment to the changes in his life while they adjust to the world of the adult support services. He is on a waiting list for group housing and his parents hope that he will be safe and cared for when he eventually makes that move.

And, as he did when 12 year-old Evan inspired his father to begin Evan’s Ride for Autism, Evan still loves to ride his bike. Evan is becoming an adult.

The transition to adulthood is difficult for most young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The challenges associated with autism persist and can be heightened during this time.

Without support, even those with ASD who are more able than Evan to live independently face challenges in getting and keeping employment, succeeding in college or university, making friends and having lasting relationships, and living independently.

One program, designed for young people with high functioning ASD is My Life as an Epic Win, which is supported by Evan’s Ride for Autism.
Epic Win helps older teens and young adults with high functioning ASD learn how to plan their future, set long- and short-term goals, identify and solve problems, and stay in action on the goals they set.

Evan’s Ride for Autism is a family-friendly cycling event to raise funds to support Niagara individuals and families living with autism spectrum disorder. For more information visit, or email:

The next session of My Life as an EPIC WIN will begin September 21, 2017. Registrations are now being accepted. For more information visit or contact Dr. Rebecca Ward at 905-931-1136 or email

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