The Struggle is Real: Community Support for Parents of Adolescents and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Mother creates a workshop for parents to discuss hard topics surrounding supporting teens and adults with developmental disabilities.

Atlanta, GA, January 21, 2020 --( Rita Young is an advocate in the Atlanta disability community, and she knows that raising a child with disabilities can be hard. “I wanted to give parents an opportunity to discuss the topics that we only discuss in private, such as how to support a teen or young adult who exhibits challenging behaviors. A preschooler with a tantrum is manageable and the public understands. A 17 year old having the same meltdown can be scary and far less well received by others. No one is asking to help or hold your groceries for you. Instead they stare, ignore you, or cross the parking lot. Sensory and other underlying issues contribute to behavior challenges and can be difficult to explain or understand.We need to address the fact that our children with disabilities grow up and may continue to need support,” said Young.

The CDC’s latest report is 1 in 59 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and 1 in 6 are affected by a developmental disability. Raising a child with a disability in itself is a difficult journey, but as the child grows the village grows smaller especially when difficult behaviors don’t go away. Young wants to address this and bring the conversation into the open. With community support and understanding, these families will feel less isolated and silenced. As the mom of two adults with autism, Young knows the unique challenges that come with supporting adult children with special needs. “I realized no one was discussing how hard it can be. With my professional experience, I came to the conclusion I was in the position to gather parents and their support system in this conversation,” said Young.

Rita created Survive and Thrive, Dancing with Challenging Behaviors, an interactive family workshop geared towards parents or primary caregivers of teens or adults with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability. The goal is to provide resources and a safe space for families to process their experiences and needs. Topics to be discussed include public services that are available to contact during a behavioral crisis, the importance of identifying triggers, and building a support team to help the entire family.

The trainings will be held from 10:00am – Noon February 4 in Alpharetta, February 5 in Marietta, and February 6 in Lawrenceville.

For event details or to register,

Rita Young is a private consultant and provides project management, curriculum development, and training services focused on improving services and supporting families of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Rita consults with government entities, non-profits and individuals.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Rita Young at 770.688.5487 or at
Rita Young and Associates
Rita Young