I need someone to tell me what to do. I have to make what I feel is a very important decision for Ashley, and I am having a difficult time doing that.
Ashley got a slot on our state's Medicaid DD (developmental disabilities) waiver at the end of last year. Having that slot means she can access more services than in the past. I'm trying to decide which of the new services to access, and it is not easy.
In addition to still having access to personal care aide services, one of the new services Ashley qualifies for is Day Support. Our area has several day support programs - some geared specifically towards adults with disabilities and some that include children. Their definition of 'children' is any child that is still in school (up to age 22). Because Ashley's personal care aide is leaving at the end of the school year, and because it is very, very difficult to find good PCAs, I decided to look at the day support programs.
I've narrowed the acceptable day support programs to two. One supports a population of people who are older, in some cases significatly older than Ashley. They don't have what they call an after-school program, and that is probably why there are not many people Ashley's age there. On the positive side, the staff seemed very caring and committed. Their facility is in an office complex not too far from our home and in the county in which Ashley attends school. The office complex means there is not a lot of wide open space, but rather lots of different rooms (formerly offices?). Their hours are 9am-4pm, times which really don't work for me to get an 8 hour work day in.
The other program is one that my daughter Jessica attended many years ago, and I didn't like it at all back then. But I toured there on Monday, and the facility is new (just two years old), and it's much better. That program does have an after school program, so at least for the next four years, Ashley would be with same-age or younger peers. The facility was designed and built specifically for the people that it serves, so the flow is better than the first program and there are lots of open spaces. Their hours are 8:30-4:30, closer to getting my work day in, and when school is in session, their school age program is open until 6pm. But the catch with this program is that it is not in my county school district and getting the school bus to take Ashley there after school might be a battle, and a battle I may not win. Medicaid offers transportation services but they are TERRIBLE, and the only time I did try it for Ashley, I strongly believe she was abused. So, we're not going there again.
The second program also offers vocational services for adults, so it might be something to support her throughout adulthood.
I think just by writing this all down, I am leaning more towards the second program, but that still means I have to work out the school bus issues.
What would you do in this situation? Which way would you lean?