Not All Links In The Chain Are The Same: 7-16-11

Incomplete Cat: Yesterday I hit a wall. Our daughter’s day, an “Individualized Day” with a coach who takes her to her volunteer job, was a bomb. First the poor lady got lost coming to the house. Not a biggie. But then the placement, The Complete Cat Clinic in Brookfield, CT, didn’t know they were coming. How’s that? Our daughter called while I was in a meeting with the head residential coordinator to say that veterinarian who is doing us a great favor, wasn’t prepared for her. Why? Miscommunication again.

Weak Link: This is the second snafu from the individualized day crowd. Then, to fill the time, our daughter and her coach went to miniature golf in the heat and, where our daughter overheated, had lunch. The half-day programming ended with a schlep through a local park, again too hot. Uh oh: Mom’s werewolf side rears her furry head. I do feel like those transformer things, claws thrust out from fingernail beds and bicuspid become fanged. Cool? Nope, hot. Count to ten and chant, “It is still the first week.” No way, feels like we have been doing this forever.

Strong Links: My “Individualized Day” yesterday included 1 1/2 hours providing data to our residential coordinator who is one of two “architects” of this new programming model for our daughter and her apartment-mate. It was intense, focused on budget restraints, grappling to understand what is our responsibility and what is Ability Beyond Disability’s via DDS (Department of Developmental Services,) SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance through her dad’s social security) and rent subsidy (on top of what is allocated for the girls’ rent is an amount to supplement costs, though the figure as yet, remains unknown). Cable costs, (not installation, that and the router for Wi-Fi, was covered by ABD), recreation outside of ABD programming, and so on, come under the parental umbrella.

The residential service coordinator and her superior are very strong links in this chain of service providers. She reviewed with me that starting August 1, when the young ladies inhabit their apartment, a thirty-day evaluation phase will ensue where assessments will be made of strengths and needs. This process closely mirrors her academic programming of the last eighteen years, where strategies and goals are identified and presented at a grand meeting between parents and staff. This is reassuring, as it was meant to be, the strong link in the chain and the answer to an earlier question “Who will teach her now?”

An Uplift: Today was spent at Pegasus on Melos (now I have his correct spelling), the grass-eating horse upon whose back our daughter rides with increasing grace and skill, followed by a visit to her new hometown, Ridgefield, to get her photo membership at the Park and Rec. We were headed to the stores to purchase sheets and towels, pots and pans and plates for the new apartment, but frankly neither of us was in the mood to do that. Instead, we wisely chose to head to the Sidewalk Sales (that once a year American ritual when retailers come out of their caves to push their wares on main street USA) on the Main Street in Ridgefield. There we ran into a series of folk starting with her second and third grade special education teacher. Wow! Nine years since I had seen her kind countenance. She was one of the angels who helped us get here, the one who told me, yes, she will read someday, just not the Grapes of Wrath. She was right on both counts. Then we tracked down our daughter’s new landlady who owned a restaurant in town. It was a great meeting and cemented what should be a very positive relationship.

ROAR: Ironically, after the unfortunate incomplete cat episode, and a conversation with the individualized day coordinator whose tentativeness about whether our daughter could volunteer in the town’s animal shelter ROAR had not generated much confidence in me, our daughter and I actually found ourselves in the shelter’s booth on Main Street. We had an energetic conversation with a lovely woman (whom it turns out is a board member) where we exchanged names and my card, and received reassurances that “We will find a place for your daughter” once their renovation and expansion is completed in the Fall.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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