Autism Group Home Readiness
We made the decision. My Autistic foster child would live in a group home. It was the best thing for him and the rest of the family. Behavior problems made life with him difficult and he grew bigger than any of us.
The biggest problem was getting him ready with the least amount of stress.
Talking it up
I started months in advance. I told him his sister is getting married. His brother is going in the Navy. Another brother got a job and his own apartment. They are all growing up and starting their own lives as grownups.
Soon, he too will need to have his own life. He will be an adult and will have a job just like other big people. That did not go over very well. He liked things the way they were.
Visiting the home.
We found a beautiful group home in a country town nearby. The people there were wonderful. The house is staffed around the clock. They do their best to respect the wishes of the parents along with the wants of the child or adult.
We arranged to visit with him. They showed him the house, let him meet some of the other residents, and showed him the room where he would stay. He protested a lot. We took him home.
The next time, we left him there. We went down the road and got some fast food and brought it back to the house and shared it with him. Then we all went home.
A week later, we left him there for dinner and picked him up afterward.
This was followed by a night at the house and then a weekend.
By the time we started the two week trial, he was used to being there. He still protested and acted out with weird behavior.
For instance, even though he knew how to use silverware, he grabbed the food with his hands and shoved it into his mouth. He heard me tell the staff member that indeed, he could eat like a civilized person. He knew the jig was up and started using silverware again.
It took a while, but he finally adjusted. He liked a routine that was almost the same every day and he found plenty of structure in the home.
We picked him up every weekend for a visit. This eventually became every other weekend. He saw his mother and siblings on a regular basis.
He was busy with his sheltered workshop job and activities at the house. He helped do things at the house and was proud that he could push a wheelchair or take out the trash.
He would be a successful adult even with his limitations. Isn’t that what we want for all of our kids, Autistic, handicapped, and normally able?