Friday, July 31, 2015

The Hair Cut

Wait, wait..before you think I am going to talk about a "regular" have to read this story!

Lauren has long, thick beautiful hair. Tom loves every inch of it and gets upset with me when Lauren even gets a trim.

When we have had her hair cut, we donated the hair to "Locks of Love".

Well, one day I got a frantic call from Lauren's day program. "Donna, Did you get Lauren's hair cut?"
I responded, "WHAT!"

The day program sent me a picture. I immediately forwarded to Tom.

Lauren's hair looked terrible...chin length all uneven. Think of your worst hair cut and multiple times 10.

Lauren's overnight staffer was tired of helping Lauren shampoo her hair and comb it out, so she took a pair of kitchen scissors and cut it.

No, she did not ask anyone for permission. And, no she was not a hair dresser.

Lauren's hair is part of her. She is used to it being long.

Imagine someone cutting your hair against your will.

I later found Lauren's hair in a plastic grocery bag in her closet.

Tears poured.... 

Keeping it real,


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Doesn't everyone eat dinner?

I must admit that I crock pot and crock pot often (chili, stews and what ever the Crockin girls are recommending!). 

I have two identical crock pots so I can bring just the liner over to Lauren's apartment. That way we are assured she has a good, healthy dinner.   

So one day, I made my drop of some "chicken surprise"!

The next day, I arrived at the apartment to make a new "drop" and sadly found the "chicken surprise" exactly as I left it.

Ummmmm...what did Lauren have for dinner? 

Staff arrived at 3:00 p.m that day. I checked the freezer...nothing appeared to be missing.

Maybe a can of soup? 

They went out to eat? I don't think so...if so, who paid?

My investigation began quickly!!!

I asked overnight staff..."any dishes in the strainer"? "Any idea what Lauren ate for dinner?"

I contacted the staffer and the agency immediately!!!!

The staffer reported that she called the agency to see if she should give Lauren dinner. 

No one called her back.........

She didn't call us or another staffer.

All of our numbers are on the bulletin board. 

............So she didn't give Lauren any dinner.

No liquids or a snack from 3:00 through the night.

Doesn't everyone (with a refrigerator full of food and a crock pot dinner on the counter) eat dinner?

I wept.........

Keeping it real,


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pot of Gold

From early in Lauren's life, Tom and I focused on working hard, investing and saving money for her future.

We read books and attended meetings and seminars about special needs trusts and making plans for the future.

Our attorney drew up a special needs trust and we did everything possible not to jeopardize her government entitlements. 

Recently, I had a "deer in the headlight" moment.

All the money in the world won't help Lauren unless someone steps up to help her spend it!

I thought, who is going to care enough about her to tell someone she needs new underpants? Not buy them...just tell someone.

Not a very warm and fuzzy thought.

I remain hopeful that someone will be there and care enough to speak up.

But for now, I'm off to the mall to buy her 10 new pair of underpants! Just in case.........
Keeping it real!

911.... Police...crayon on my hand!

Saturday started out as "typical" as most days for us. Things were calm at Lauren's apartment. A new staffer (college student majoring in psychology with experience working with the special needs ministry at her church) was working with her today. So, I decided to go to yoga.

I got into my car after yoga and immediately checked my phone.

Chaos at Lauren's apartment. The police were there! I headed over to the apartment and called Tom along the way.

Tom and I arrived at Lauren's apartment to find two police cars and two police officers (each with two guns) wearing vests.

What happened?

Lauren was coloring at the dining room table. She had a small piece of crayon on one of her hands. Her obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) kicked into high gear! The new staff member was unsuccessful helping Lauren wash the crayon off her hand.

So, Lauren began to pull the staffer's hair and ripped her shirt. The staffer called police and reported that "she was afraid for her life"!

We walked into the apartment to find calm restored. The police officer had washed Lauren's hand off and they were best buddies.

Fortunately, the police in our area have had extensive training on handling people with disabilities. They couldn't have done more to help.

The good news is that Lauren has clean hands!

You have to laugh....crying doesn't help.

Keeping it real,


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Dance

Anyone who knows my daughter, Lauren, knows she loves to dance! It is her all-time favorite activity.

In our area, Therapeutic Recreation, a county program, hosts dances for people with disabilities 3-4 times a year. The dances are held on Saturdays from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Planning for this two hour dance begins months ahead of time. The number of people allowed at a dance is limited. So, the hopeful dancers have to sign up to participate in a "lottery". If a person is selected via the lottery, payment has to be made within a week in order to secure a spot on the dance floor. 

For Lauren to attend the dance, she needs a companion/support person who will be there to accompany her to the bathroom and intervene if she has behavior issues over food or drinks that may be served.

The afternoon of the dance, I arrive at her apartment to help her get dressed, fix her hair, put on new earrings and even lipstick! All smiles, she is pulling me "Go", "Go", "Go".

Lottery application submitted (check).
Lauren was selected (check).
Payment sent (check).
Support staff scheduled (check).
Support staff confirmed (check).
Lauren dressed and ready (check). 

An hour before the dance, my cell phone notifies me of a text message from the support staff person.  

She won't be able to take Lauren to the dance because "she is running a fever".

My jaw drops and I quickly text my husband to say we are taking Lauren out for pizza (her second favorite thing).  The change in plans doesn't sit well with Lauren. She wants to dance! 

Thankfully, by the time we got seated at the restaurant, she  accepted the change.

Should going to a 2 hour dance maybe 3-4 times a year be this hard?

Oh well, there's always next time, if she gets picked by the lottery and if her staff person doesn't come down with Bubonic plague.

Keeping it real!

Should autism parenting be an Olympic event? A trip to the dentist!