Sheila lived in institutional settings from the time she was 9 years old. She was not always treated with kindness and respect while living there and experienced trauma as people often didn’t understand her needs. Her institutional placement continued until 2008, when she moved into a foster home. Once moved, she was finally in a safe environment with her new caretaker Doris and her husband Phil. Sheila grew close to them and remained in that setting until 2019 when the Adult Foster Home had to change their licensing and chose to become PSWs instead of a foster home, which is when Sheila entered Brokerage services.
During Sheila’s time at the foster home, she worked with a sheltered workshop, then a day support center and eventually an employment path center. She went camping, razor riding, and fishing when the weather was nice.
When COVID hit, Sheila’s day program shut down and her primary provider became unable to continue to support her. Another provider, named Faye, had begun working with Sheila and when EOSSB began looking for her next move, Faye suggested that Sheila live with her and her husband Kelly. Though Sheila doesn’t speak, she clearly communicated her wish to live with Faye and Kelly, so the team agreed, and the trial move began.
Eight months later, Sheila’s life has changed dramatically. She has a provider and a friend in Faye, who is her sole paid provider. Sheila has developed a strong relationship with Kelly as well, and he has become one of her strongest advocates as well as her proxy employer. He assists her in researching alternative medications so that she has less negative side effects.
Sheila has a great relationship with Kelly’s family, and they have considered moving there to be closer to them. On their last trip, Sheila made friends and played together with the grandchildren. She has truly become an integrated member of their family.
Through good times and bad, Sheila has maintained a positive attitude and a sense of humor. She’s always found joy in the little things of life. Her indominable spirit serves to remind us of that. While we don’t always get to choose our circumstances, we can choose whether or not we let them define us. Sheila has persevered through the hard times, not knowing that it was ever going to get better and now she’s reaping the rewards. It has been an honor getting to know her and work with her.