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Home of Your Own: A story of success for Frank L. and Suzanne T.

Home of Your Own: A story of success for Frank L. and Suzanne T.

On February 2, 2006, Frank L. and Suzanne T. realized their most sought after valued outcome: moving into their own home.  Frank is a 46-year-old man with profound developmental disabilites and autism.  He is non-verbal and has PICA.  Suzy is a 38-year-old young woman who was in a car accident 20 years ago where she suffered a traumatic brain injury.  She depends on signing or her dynavox to communicate and gets around with a wheelchair or her walker.  Both Frank and Suzy have had CSS plans in place for years and have benefited from the flexibility of service delivery.  However, Suzy desperately wanted to move out on her own like she saw her siblings do.  Both Frank and Suzy completed the Home of Your Own program to learn about homeownership responsibility, and we began to plan.

After almost two years of planning and becoming mortgage eligible, Suzy and Frank moved into a duplex; Suzy alone on one side, with an intercom system connected to Frank and her Mom next door.   Environmental modifications were made throughout Suzy’s side of the home allowing her to be as independent as possible.   Suzy is so proud of herself and was so excited to choose her own paint colors, carpet, furniture and appliances.  She is living the life she wants, independent of her mother, and feels more like a member of her community.  She is proud to be paying taxes like her brothers and sisters.  Since the move, Suzy has grown by leaps and bounds.  She is doing more physically for herself than ever before.  She stands and does her own dishes, does her own laundry and has even begun her own business making and selling beaded jewelry.

Frank has also grown considerably since moving into his own home.  Previously, Frank was very unhappy and constantly nervous living in a mobile home.  He was even pulling the trailer apart and eating it when especially anxious.  In his home where he is comfortable and at ease, it seems he feels he has more control, choice and purpose.  He willingly loads the dishwasher and brings his clothes downstairs to be washed.  He has somewhat broken out of his autistic world.  He makes eye contact, signs some and has just begun to use a picture board with his CSS staff.  He has not had an incident of PICA in years.

The Home of Your Own Program combined with the supports and subsidies provided by CSS have truly made Frank and Suzy self-determined.  It has changed their world by making it their own.


Syracuse, New York