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Autism: The Waiting Game

Aran needs a place to live.  He is, of course, able to live here as long as he needs to.  He pays room and board out of his SSI benefits, and he's not difficult to live with at all.

However, he does want to live on his own.  I've come to the reluctant conclusion that he'll probably never have a fully self-supporting job.  It's difficult to say this, and I still hope things will be otherwise one day, but I can't see how he'd even get past the interview.  It looks like he's going to live on a combination of SSI and part-time minimum wage work.

These sources of income, however, won't pay for housing.  They simply won't.  SSI pays $733 per month.  That won't make rent on any kind of place in Oakland County or the surrounding areas.  So he has to be in some kind of subsidized program.

He has a social worker, a very nice lady named Anita, but her office works slowly.  I suspect it's more from overwork than carelessness--social workers are perennially overburdened with cases.  We've been emailing me, and she said she sent a copy of Aran's file to the Disability Network for Oakland and Macomb Counties.  A while later, a woman named Miriam called me to talk about his case.  Aran needs to live with room mates and have an aide check on him a couple-three times a week.  Miriam said she make some calls.

Now we're waiting.

Meanwhile, his job coordinator Pauline called about getting him his job at Kroger back.  He'd even be able to work Monday through Friday, with no weekends.  This was kind of a sticking point for Aran--he got it into his head that can't work weekends because he has to go see Kala on weekends and because people aren't supposed to work weekends.  At a grocery store, this is problematic, since wekeends are their busiest times.  I explained to Aran, using my best Autism Dad voice, that a lot of people work weekends.  His grandmother (a nurse) worked weekends for decades.  I work weekends as a writer.  Firefighters and police work weekends.  He agreed this is true, but he was still unhappy about the idea.  But now Kroger has said he can work weekdays, and he's happy.

I was hoping we could find gardening and lawn work for him to do, since that's what he trained for at MCTI.  There's a volunteer organization in the area that mows lawns for shut-ins, and I'm thinking Aran should get involved with them.  It would be a social thing for him, and it would get him out of the house more, and get him into the community.  It would also build a resume and keep his lawn skills sharp.  Since he'll only be working part-time at Kroger, he'll have time for this.  When I talked to him about it, he seemed tentative but willing.  We need to know what his Kroger schedule will be first, though.

So now we're in the waiting phase. Waiting to hear about the job.  Waiting to hear about housing.  Waiting to know about the volunteer work.

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