Friday, December 30, 2011

Fictional Friday: Rebecca

Rebecca is twenty-three years old. She has autism and a mild intellectual disability.  Rebecca is a slender, small-framed young lady, with shoulder-length brown hair and chestnut colored eyes.  Her delicate feminine features highlight the tender feelings that she sometimes displays (which is unusual for many people with autism).  Rebecca is quick with a smile (or can just as easily break into tears).  She is inquisitive, friendly, and loves art.  Rebecca is very routine oriented, and being on a tight schedule is extremely important to her. If things deviate from that schedule Rebecca has a difficult adjusting. Rebecca loves music, and enjoys listening to her favorite music on an Ipad. In fact, she is quite techno-savvy and easily navigates the device and her favorite websites. She wants a boyfriend, and maybe someday to get married. She wants to eventually have a community-based job. Rebecca essentially desires the same things that most young ladies her age want. Rebecca shares more similarities with young women in her age group than the differences that seemingly sets her apart.  She wants to belong, and deserves to be included in a world that often segregates people that are 'different.'

Rebecca's parents were very proactive once Rebecca received the autism diagnosis as a small child, reading and researching everything they could get their hands on relating to autism. They joined support groups, attended seminars, and became vocal advocates for their daughter at school IEP meetings. They are very protective, but realize that the day will come when she will need additional assistance beyond natural supports.

Rebecca was on the wait list since she was eleven years old, and is one of the fortunate individuals who is now on the Medicaid waiver program. She has what is called the SS Waiver (Support Services). It is limited in scope, and has a capped budget of only $13,500 per year. Although is does't allow for any community-based residential supports, it does provides provisions for day services programming and gives Rebecca an opportunity to attend a sheltered workshop and participate in meaningful life skills classes. Rebecca is learning how to better interact with her co-workers and adapting to real-life, changing scenarios that are beyond her control. She is learning important skills that will help her become more self-sufficient down the road. Rebecca also belongs to a group at the local community arts program. She attends a program which is geared towards those with autism. The program teaches socialization skills through the use of acting and singing. She regularly sings and participates in their major shows twice each year. And she's actually quite good.

Rebecca is one of the success stories, and is very lucky to have some supports that will help her be more independent. She has talents, skills, and deserves to have a place in our world in which she is accepted and included.

Note: Rebecca is a fictional character, based on a composite of real individuals I regularly encounter. Characters who appear in my "Fictional Friday" posts are based on people with real stories with particular details, names, and certain specific circumstances changed so as to protect privacy.  

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About Me

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I work for a Community-Based, Not-for-Profit agency. I have worked in the disability field for over twenty-five years. I am the father of two boys, and have been married to my teenage sweet-heart for 23 years. I live and work in the same town where I was born & raised.
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