Imagine living in a world in which there is no sound.
Imagine living your days with the inability to communicate your feelings or desires.
Imagine that you walk life’s path alone because you have no friends.
Imagine that you have lived almost half your life without experiencing the richness a community has to offer.
Imagine a life in which you are not valued for your gifts nor given the opportunity to contribute to society.
Imagine Michael’s life.
“My name is Mary and my son, Michael, is 30 years old. He is deaf, cannot speak and has signs for only a few words. Since he graduated from high school he has stayed at home. Michael helps me around the house. But, mostly he plays with his blocks and stays in his room.”
“I take Michael to the grocery store but no other place because I don’t go anywhere myself. We’ve never done anything else.”
Mary does not drive so she relies on a neighbor to take her and Michael to the grocery store once a month when she is able to purchase food with her SNAP benefits.
“People are always asking me, “Don’t you want to get a job?” They don’t understand. Taking care of Michael is a full-time job. I don’t have nobody to help me. I can’t leave Michael alone because he could run off. I have to take him everywhere I go.”
“It would mean a lot to me for Michael to get the waiver because I want my baby to start learning some things. I want him to do things with his hands. He doesn’t have anything to do at home.”
Michael has been on the waiting list for a Medicaid waiver for five years. Funding with a Medicaid waiver would provide Michael with resources to enrich his life. He could participate in a day program which would provide him with an individualized program that would support his development in the areas of communication, social interactions and independent living skills. In addition, he would have the opportunity to participate in recreational activities, volunteer work or job skills training in his community.
Mary and Michael are members of a church in their neighborhood. Attending church on Sundays is an important and essential part of their lives. Michael has an affinity for printed material so he enjoys handing out the programs.
“I want people to know that we are a good family. I can’t say we got everything. I thank the Lord for what we have. We need help but we’re doing the best we can. I’m praying on that waiver.”