Our son received a waiver in 1999 and was able to move into a group home and start a Day program.
He was ready at the age of 21 to leave home and start a new life away from his parents but in a few months both the 4 person home setting and the center-based approach to employment began to show signs of cracks that we as parents were not able to correct.
He is high functioning. He has had parts in a number of musicals, choreographed and performed a number of songs at public events, has given over 100 speeches about his life, has been a co-instructor at a YMCA, and worked in Day Care Centers. But the housing and work situation was run in an institutional way that did not fit his needs or abilities.
His work schedule involved mostly work done in a center and working in a large group. Doing constant repetitive work became boring to him and created frustration and behavioral problems that led to psych. medication that didn’t really relieve his anxiety. Then more medication would be recommended and on and on it went. Eventually after about eight years of more meds and constantly being treated like a child, his behaviors and self esteem sunk to a very low point. He was cleaning up other peoples messes in the bathroom, hating every minute of it and often speaking about feeling like he was working in a prison.
Finally in 2009 the department of Human Services started the Housing Access program and we were able to move him into a new setting when we bought a duplex. Now he lives on one side and my wife and I live on the other. He has staffing about 5 days a week from 3:30 to 8:30 so they can eat together and go to activities. Our move also gave him the opportunity to start with Community Involvement Programs as his new Day program.
While we have seen great improvement in his quality of life the research tells us that some of his issues may never go away.
In the five years since moving in 2010 he has been taken off of all psych. meds and his psychologist is looking at the possibility of an anxiety med to follow his original diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder. Since coming to Community Involvement Programs in May of 2010 he has flourished with speaking engagements, informational interviews, and has had a number of good jobs. Some jobs just ended and a couple just didn’t work. Through all of this the respect from the CIP staff and administration has been fantastic. He has always been shown total respect as an adult by Community Involvement Programs and this has created a person who gets up in the morning ready to go to work and wanting to interact with the people he works with.
We know that he doesn’t always act perfectly but it is so much better than it was five years ago because of the respect and caring from a staff that has been trained to support individuals for who they can be and not what they think they should be.
Les and Barb Bauer