Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Transition For Us Both

I mentioned a while back that Ashley had after a 10 year wait finally gotten a 'slot' on our state's Medicaid developmental disability waiver. That slot means she has access to more services, one of which is day support. While day support is not a necessity right now while Ashley is in school, it will be a great addition to her life when school ends. At least I hope that is true.

Day support is a place where adults with developmental disabilities spend their days. While it really irks me that such programs are a return to segregation, until we begin to see some real systems change in the US, day support programs do mean that the adults will not just sit home all day and all night. What I really hope is that I can find a good day support program and Ashley will not just trade sitting at home for sitting in a facility during the day.

So that I can begin to figure out how day support might be a service Ashley can use, I visited several of the programs in our area. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of such programs, and most of them are not good. But I was able to find one that I was happy with.

Unlike most of the facilities used by day support programs, A Grace Place was bright and cheery. The staff was friendly and seemed genuinely interested in their clients (I hate that term....). It seemed as if a lot of thought had gone into structuring the program to meet the needs of people with varying degrees of need. And, there appeared to be a real committment to integrating the 'clients' into the community in one way or another.

So, I could live with a place like A Grace Place, and I believe Ashley would enjoy spending some portion of her day there. But, there was one thing that bothered me, and it had nothing to do with the actual program, facilities or staff.

Every 'client' at A Grace Place is an adult. No one under the age of 18 is accepted into the program. I understand that and realize that the need for such programs exists for adults as well as children. My problem was personal - accepting that my sweet Ashley was soon to be an adult...

Her peers will no longer be the students at her school. Her peers will be people in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and above. I'm not living in denial about Ashley growing up, but that doesn't mean I am happy to see the childhood years end. I want her to grow into the beautiful woman I know she will be, but a part of my heart longs for the sweet child that has graced my life for the past almost 16 years.

Perhaps the most difficult transition in all this will not be Ashley moving from school to adulthood, but rather mine for saying goodbye to the child and hello to the young adult.

No comments: