Dublin Villager

Dublin man to share experiences with autism

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Rick Schostek shared his experience of raising a child with autism through a book.

The Dublin resident will work again for awareness when he speaks at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Coffman High School, 6780 Coffman Road.

The free event is the first speaking engagement for Schostek, who wrote and published a book late last year. What Happens Next? looks at the transition into adulthood of his son, Greg.

"Greg is just one young man with autism, but I think getting to know him helped people understand the condition better," Schostek said. "Some things I put in the book, but other things I haven't and there are things that happened since the book was published.

"I'll focus on things we all need to think about as a society for people with disabilities living in the community as an adult."

Greg turned 25 recently. He works three days a week and spends two days in adult day services in Delaware County, Schostek said.

"Our son was transitioning to adulthood. That's what prompted me to write (the book)," he said. "I was also looking to the future and what could be in store for him."

Along with helping other parents who have children with autism, Schostek said he was trying to call attention to the rising number of people being diagnosed with the disease.

"The incident rate is increasing. A lot of the attention seems to be on children with autism," he said. "Since there is no cure for autism, I was trying to raise awareness that there will be more and more adults with autism and what my wife and I were trying to think about as Greg is facing adulthood."

Although Greg has a job and joins adult day services a few days a week, Schostek said more steps are coming.

"He's doing well. He just turned 25 last week and we're thinking about the next phase," he said. "He still lives at home with us. We owe him the opportunity to get used to a different kind of living environment because someday, we'll be gone.

"This is continual. Our job as parents will continue until the day we die. We need to make sure he is properly cared for."

Raising a child with autism has been challenging, but Schostek said it's also been a gift.

"Having Greg has enriched our lives. We've met so many people we would have never met before," he said. "We got a much deeper sense of community and what that means. Greg has made our lives fuller. There have been challenges, but it's given us much more depth of life."

The Nov. 12 speaking engagement came about through a friendship with a local attorney.

"Thanks and credit goes to Resch and Root. I know Bill Root, an attorney in the Dublin area. He and his wife do a lot to raise awareness of disabilities," Schostek said.

Resch and Root are sponsoring the event with Dublin City Schools. Schostek said it's free and open to the public.

"What I'm hoping for the event next month is to get a wide variety of folks interested in this to come together," he told the Dublin Villager last week. "It takes a community of educators, parents, service-providers and even neighbors to together understand autism or any person with a disability and how we can make them feel more welcome in the community. The more that come, the merrier."

Copies of Schostek's book will be on sale at the Nov. 12 event; 50 percent of proceeds will benefit Dublin City Schools' Power Plus Program that helps students with disabilities from ages 18-22 to find vocational and social opportunities in the community.

 

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