Isolation leads to desperation. Kelly was all alone raising her son Sam. She had no family or other “mom friends” to turn to for help. When Sam wasn’t able to attend the afternoon pre-school because of behavior issues, her job at the local convenience store was in jeopardy, so little Sam ended up riding around in her boyfriend’s tow truck so she could work. Sam’s behavior at home was unpredictable, which resulted in lots of crying and yelling. After being encouraged by the school nurse, Kelly reluctantly had Sam assessed and learned he was on the Autism Spectrum.
Exhausted, frustrated, and hopeless, Kelly remembered the school nurse had referred her to Family Support – Pioneer Valley, a program of Berkshire Children and Families. Kelly needed help. She was desparate. She finally called.
Kelly and Sam met Kate, a Home Visitor, who provided encouragement, guidance and trusted support. Kate helped her to understand Sam’s diagnosis and how an IEP, Individualized Education Plan, could help Sam have a better chance at success. Most importantly, Kate helped her find other community resources and together they began to build a network of support. They found an afternoon slot for child-care and transportation to and from school, but after two weeks it was gone because of Sam’s unsafe and unpredictable behavior. It was at this point that Kelly agreed to apply for assistance through SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) for her son and food stamps for the family.
Because of these supports, Kelly could concentrate on helping Sam and herself. She was able to learn from Sam’s occupational and speech therapists how to communicate with and teach Sam. Kate brought games for Kelly to play with Sam. He especially liked the Memory game. Kelly’s yelling and Sam’s crying subsided. Kelly was able to focus on making life better for her family.
Kate provided Kelly the links to a whole new community of support. As their year together progressed, Kelly became comfortable enough with Kate to share her own story. She had been raised in foster care and was abused by her alcoholic mother. Sharing her story, having a confidant, gave Kelly confidence. She decided to finish her G.E.D. and was looking forward to going to community college for a certificate to work with special needs children.
Your gift to Family Support- Pioneer Valley will help more families find the resources they need to develop and implement their plans toward self-sufficiency. The number of success stories, such as Kelly and Sam’s will continue to grow, but only with your support. Help your neighbors in need to achieve their hopes for their children and families.