Career, Chronic Conditions, Disability/Handicap, Family, Health, Holidays, Mental Health, stories

December, Autism Supports, & Bowling

Is December my brother’s month? It certainly is! He was born on Christmas so despite whatever happens in life, December is still his month. A lot of good things are in the works though!

He said, “It’s great to be back doing my favorite sport!” Special Olympics Bowling has been a favorite activity of his throughout the years.

Bowling makes him really happy. It’s been over 5 years since he did it last, and he’s excited to be back at it! He had been getting a little lonely hanging out at his place. He didn’t know many people, but I assured him he would make friends throughout the season. He did have a lot of fun, and it got him out of his apartment.

We’ve lost a lot of family the past few years. This means the holidays can be pretty depressing and the Christmas Day event on our side is basically hanging out with Billy, the kiddos, and me. Billy’s side of the family is so wonderful and invites him to so many holiday events in December. He loves going to celebrations, but the memories of what was still make him sad. We miss a lot of good people.

I’ve started taking him to church too. He had decided he wanted to go more often. We had just gone through a season where it was difficult to get there regularly, but now the schedule has calmed down and I can get him to church almost weekly. He misses having a community like he had when we were younger. He doesn’t get to see his old friends much anymore, but he does still chat on the phone with them often. Church helps fill his heart with new love instead of only mourning the past.

We often struggle with the transportation part of his living arrangements. He uses a public transportation system but it only runs during the week, and stops at 4pm. After 4, and on the weekends I am his transportation everywhere. I struggle to schedule, and afford it all at times. That part was easier when he lived 2 doors down, but you win some and lose some, and he really likes his apartment.

Mom and I tried for years to find him good living arrangements nearby, and a job that was a good fit in our county. When that proved near impossible (we had been on a waiting list for housing for over 8 years) we all got discouraged. A family member told us about a housing community in the next town over. Thank goodness we are so close to a county line. Mom had put him on the waiting list, but his name didn’t come up until after mom passed.

He has been at his new place about 2 years now. He had a job when he lived close to us, but that ended when covid hit. It was a good time to start all over as he didn’t have much to lose in moving counties. He wasn’t seeing his friends often in the covid season either.

Unfortunately you have to start the establishment process all over again, and we haven’t been able to find him a fitting job since 2020. We have established ourselves with at least 5 agencies in his new county to try and get him the health, life, and job supports he needs to thrive.

In all honesty there is a lot of paperwork, red tape, reconfiguring of agencies, and many other things you come up against in the support space. He has great people on his team, but it always feels like your are climbing a mountain with both hands behind your back. What I mean is progress is slow, and patience is your best friend!!!!!

His job case worker has just taken on the biggest case load she has ever had, and just been promoted to management. She has managed all that, and found someone who is interest in meeting to try him. They are going to interview him about making a simple, but time consuming, mechanical part.

He actually has to pass my house and go near where he worked previously, but they said they would work with his transportation limitations. We did look in the town he is at now, but hadn’t been able to find anything. I guess counties either have housing, or jobs, but both is a tall order. He doesn’t mind riding the transit though, so he isn’t sad about it.

Actually we are all super excited, and are praying that this is a good fit! He really thrives on routine, and can keep a job for several years or more when he finds something in his wheelhouse. We will learn more about the job later this month. We have worked, networked, researched, searched, and prayed for him to start work. He enjoys getting out of the house, and feels a lot more successful when he is earning his own money.

The making friends piece of moving to a new location is seems to happen a little slower, but he attends community events and volunteers regularly at a local food organization. I told him if he keeps going out to events he would find his people. With bowling starting and job possibilities coming through it really seems like things are starting to move. Establishing all this stuff seems like a never ending process, but once it works it works.

I can’t wait until the routine becomes a well-oiled machine that only needs maintenance from time to time. That way we have more time for the fun stuff. We are very happy with the progress so far, we just had to be incredibly patient to get to this point.

He has a home, fun activities on a regular schedule, job prospects, and health is good. Did I mention he lives within walking distance to the library? I think this, above all, has been his favorite thing.

I’m considering starting a group at the library or at church. A lot of groups and programs crumpled, or haven’t been the same since covid. It would be nice to have a club that meets regularly for the adults in the area. If you know of any meetings or clubs, please let me know!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful season, and thanks for reading with me today.

Happy Holidays!

Kat @CraftingGlow

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