Will Your Special Needs Child Ever Achieve Independence?
Thirty-three-year-old Lindsey has family (and family friends) who actively participate in her life, helping out when needed. My girl requires assistance (less and less all the time), and yet, there are still moments when Lindsey spontaneously combusts from trying to handle life’s pressures. In a matter of seconds, she can swing from successfully negotiating her world to being incredibly demanding and needy. Her reactions escalate if her schedule is disrupted or when we are out-of-town. The RCO program provides Lindsey one additional contact to keep things going right in her world.
Lindsey’s current provider is allowed forty-five hours each month with my daughter. Over the last fifteen years, Lindsey has had four different providers for a variety of reasons (one moved, one no longer wanted to be in the program, and Lindsey decided that one provider no longer fit her needs).
This is what Lindsey has to say about RCO:
I like a provider who is nice, kind, caring, and thoughtful*.
*Lindsey repeats the “nice, kind, caring, and thoughtful” mantra for every person in her life and in every thank you note she writes.
Having a provider gets me out of the house.
My provider takes me grocery shopping in her vehicle. And that’s better than carrying heavy bags up the hill.
One of Lindsey’s challenges is learning to communicate better, to carry on a conversation rather than monopolize it. And she is working on visiting local sites such as the Portland Zoo or Mount Angel’s Octoberfest with little or no anxiety. Even though we try to assist Lindsey with these issues (as well as take her grocery shopping), she doesn’t want us to.
“I feel like a little kid when you help me,” she said recently. “But when my provider helps me, I feel grown-up.”
I wasn’t always certain my daughter would or should live on her own, in her own apartment. But she did. For over ten years. She’s surpassed many of the goals I’ve wanted for her. And the story gets better. Lindsey now lives with her husband, Nick. They will celebrate their first anniversary next week. Between family, friends, and RCO, this couple is doing fantastic.
Community support is a wondrous piece of the special needs puzzle. It’s another example of how it takes a village to raise a child. And all these reinforcements give me some peace of mind.
For more information, please check out Out One Ear.
Do you crave respite from your adult child with special needs? How do you work “me time” into your day or week? Does your state or county offer similar services for your adult with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities as RCO?
If you would like to be a hero for someone like Lindsey, please check out RCO’s website and learn more about the possibilities of becoming a service provider. Or you can review the following video: