Partnership For Hope:
How the Services Provide Hope For St. Charles County Family
By Karen Craven
DDRB Community Resource Specialist
While high school graduation is a time for celebration and new beginnings, it can also be a time of stress for parents when their high school graduate has a developmental disability. This was the case for Karen and Rick whose son, Derrick, is diagnosed with Autism and has a history of seizures.
Everything seemed to be going well prior to graduation. Derrick was working for a local pet groomer through his school’s adult life preparation program. He performed various duties including, washing, drying and walking dogs with the assistance of a job coach. His passion for animals and gentle way of working with the dogs was a great fit and he performed his duties well. Rounding out Derrick’s life were school sponsored recreational activities.
All of that ended in May 2010 when Derrick graduated and over the summer his parents saw a significant decline in Derrick’s overall well being. With nothing to do all day, Derrick became depressed and behavioral issues caused increased stress to all members of the family.
Even though Karen and Rick worked with their case manager and identified that Derrick needed meaningful structure to his day, funding for those services weren’t available.
All of that changed on October 1, 2010 when the new Partnership For Hope Waiver became available. Now Derrick receives transportation, personal assistance and behavior therapy services that enable him to pursue employment opportunities, access his community, and assist with the anxiety issues so prevalent with his diagnosis. In addition, these services provide the needed break to family care givers to help keep this family intact.
Today Karen and Rick are grateful to all those involved in making the Partnership For Hope Waiver happen. Seeing the downward spiral their son was experiencing in the short amount of time since leaving school, Derrick’s parents know first hand that the Partnership For Hope Waiver provided a means to avert a crisis that was clearly developing with their son.