By Beth Hecht, LCSW-C
One would not think of a 33-year-old moving out of his parents’ home and into a house with a roommate as a particularly extraordinary life event. In fact, it might seem ordinary or even a bit delayed. But for our family, our son Daniel taking this HUGE step would be truly extraordinary and a most spectacular and life-changing event.
And so, it happened. A week ago, we took Dan to his new home, a house that he would share with another young man perfectly compatible with him and with a family just as excited to experience this huge step.
Of course, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. As a family, we have been thinking about this moment for the last 30 years. Would Dan be able to live safely without us? What public funding would be and remain available? Would Dan be able to manage his own finances? What about daily meal preparation? And then, a caring member of Dan’s support team who knew we had this dream suggested this living situation with another family. Over the last three years, we spent lots of time having conversations, meetings, taking walks, and planning together with this wonderful family to reach this moment. COVID certainly delayed our planning, but we never lost hope and tried to remain positive that Dan’s move would become a reality. Which it did.
Last week, after moving Dan’s possessions, we walked out the door and returned to our very quiet home. Although, we did need to stop for ice cream for dinner to sooth our very raw and mixed emotions.
It was always our fervent wish and dream that Dan would grow up to become a good, kind, loveable, and independent man who could take care of himself, have a job, and eventually move out and live on his own. We were blessed to find a program which specializes in working with adults with Autism, who guided and assisted us through the planning and supported living funding application process with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). We are further grateful that the program which supports Dan provides and supervises a House Manager and Coaches for Dan and his roommate to make this plan possible.
It’s still not real that this dream has turned into reality. It’s a big adjustment for all of us. We know there will be bumps in the road and challenges to face, but to see Dan’s smiling face as he shows off his new house to his siblings and friends – this is a major turning point in all our lives and it’s HUGE and he is ready!
Beth Hecht, LCSW-C is Senior Manager of Successful Aging at Jewish Community Services.
JCS is a comprehensive human services organization providing a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.