One evening, while I was attending a meeting of the Autism Society, a family sat next to me and we began a conversation centered around the difficulty of dealing with our autistic children’s behaviors. I was interested in talking to other parents because my son’s aggressive behavior was becoming more than I could handle alone. The family sitting next to me had just placed their son in a Roundup Fellowship group home. I burst into tears because I knew that the possibility of parting with my own son was becoming a probability, and that was a heartbreaking thought.
A few years later, that probability did indeed become a reality when I, as a single mom, could no longer control the aggressive behaviors. The very painful decision to place Tommy in a group home was made bearable by the outstanding staff at Roundup. During the three years that Tommy has been a member of the St Paul House, he has learned to do so many things that I never thought he would be capable of doing! Tommy is not just being ‘babysat’, he has round the clock therapy and support. Goals are set and worked on, and the staff is always looking for educational opportunities and outside therapy that might benefit Tommy. All this is accomplished, not just for my son, but for all the residents of St Paul House, with the same care and attention that I would give.
I maintain an active role in my son’s life, and the St Paul staff is very interested in my suggestions and wishes for Tommy’s care. One of the greatest benefits is having an entire staff of dedicated people as advocates for my son’s rights and needs. When it comes to choosing the correct school, teacher, or therapist, I know that they are advocating for Tommy because they really care about him. They are helping to prepare Tommy to be the most independent person he can be – a bigger job than a mom could have ever handled alone.
So, while the separation is painful, the knowledge that Tommy is making incredible strides at self-esteem and independence has made the placement the best thing that could have happened for Tommy’s future. – Parent