Thursday, June 21, 2012
It's been ten long years. Years spent missing supports that could have really made a difference. Not enough assistive technology - not enough environmental modifications - not enough family training - not enough recreation - not enough personal support. But all that has now changed.
Ashley has finally been granted a 'slot' on our state's Medicaid Developmental Disabilities waiver.
I shouldn't complain too much though because had she been on the waiting list for the Intellectual Disabilities waiver, we might be looking at even another ten years.
I met today with Ashley's service facilitator for the waiver, and we laid out a menu of services that will serve to benefit Ashley immensely. From increased attendant hours to assistive technology to high intensity day support to prevocational services and family caregiver training and even environmental (home) modifications that would benefit Ashley as well as the opportunity to obtain even more services in the future. All these things will go a long way towards preparing Ashley for the future, and will also go a long way to removing a small part of the worry I face each and every day.
I know there may be people who say we take advantage of taxpayer money - that we consume more than we should in the way of services. Well, I'm a taxpayer also, and in addition to caring for my children, I am more than willing to have my tax dollars support your family member with a disability. Ashley, and the many other people with disabilities in our communities (and note, I said 'in our communities', because that is exactly where they belong), are a vital part of this thing we call the human race. They have needs, they have wants, and they have rights - JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. They have skills, they have talents, and they have relationships filled with love and respect - JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
Neither Ashley nor I sit home, do nothing, and just reap the financial rewards of public assistance. I work, and I fully expect her to work when she leaves school. We volunteer, we give back, and we strive to make the world a better place for everyone.
At this moment in time, Ashley needs more supports than a person without disabilities. She has a right to those supports, and she deserves them. She and I both realize that we are blessed that the supports are available, and neither of us will ever take them for granted.
At this moment in time, a small portion of the weight on my shoulders has lifted. For that, I am eternally grateful.