Understanding What Makes Your Child Feel at Home
Suzanne’s Letter to Support Staff
[INSERT IMAGE: “Suzanne” (woman with IDD in a wheelchair, happy)] My name is Suzanne, but I like to be called Suzie. I am a very happy person who likes to be around other people. I like to listen to music (country or old rock) and love to play with toys that light up or make sounds. Spending time with my parents and brother is very important to me, and I like to keep a picture of them close by. I don’t like the dark or animals.
I am not able to stand or walk and can only use my hands for very simple tasks (pushing a large button or touching things on my tray or in my lap). I need my wheelchair to get around but also like to get out of it whenever I can. I do not like to be down on the floor because I can’t see what is going on and am afraid people will trip over me. I get frightened if people move me too fast or without telling me what they are doing first.
I am not able to use words the way most people do. You can tell if I like something, or not, by the expression on my face. I can shake my head to tell you “yes” or “no,” and when I say “no,” I mean NO. Even though I don’t use words, I understand everything that you say. I have a great sense of humor and like to hear jokes and funny stories.
Because I am not able to move by myself, I can get really stiff and sore. There are some exercises that staff members need to help me do each day. The instructions are in my plan book. My skin can break down really easy because I sit so much. Support staff need to help me change positions at least every two hours.
Staff also need to help me eat. I love food and like to take my time. All of my food has to be in very small pieces, and I should not have things like chips or popcorn. I drink from a straw. My favorite food is ice cream, and I have a bowl every night. I don’t like hot drinks like coffee or cocoa, and I hate rice.
I like to get dressed up and go to parties. I especially like having my hair done and my nails painted pretty colors. Every weekend I go to church with my family. I have to look my best for church. I also like going to movies, plays, and concerts.
You’ve already done a lot of planning to develop family-directed housing for your child. But what exactly does it take to make the transition and ensure your child is happy in his or her new home?