After turning 22, Andrew started the Bridges to Work Program at Friendship Home (FH) in Norwell. Through this program he got his job at Not Your Average Joe’s doing food prep. He works Tuesday and Thursday and has been there since April 2012. Andrew loves his job! He also enjoys other programs through FH like Guys Night Out which are one Monday a month. Every month alternates between eating dinner at Friendship Home and hanging out with the guys to watch a movie or sporting event or going out to different restaurants for dinner. He also enjoys Theme Parties one Saturday night a month and weekend outings. This month is Blue Man Group and the Globe Trotters at TD Banknorth Garden.
I am a single parent to 3 children, (ages 9, 10 and 11), my youngest child is a girl and my older 2 are my sons. My oldest son, Riley, is severely autistic, my middle son, Aidan, has some anxiety and my youngest, Charlotte has a global developmental delay that is going into more probing in the coming months. I can only work part time out of the house; which is really one day a week. At a retail job because I have been with the company for years and they are compassionate to my situation they accommodate my schedule. My father passed away last month and was a source of support for me; he was someone to talk to and did what he could to help me and the children. He helped me tremendously when I was in the midst of my divorce. My mother lives in a rest home and while she is cared for, I am the first child on the list if anything should happen. The children are in school during the week, but we have many doctor appointments.
Last year, my family needed to pull together and persevere through some very difficult days. Having an aggressive, non-verbal, 13 year old son with complex medical conditions and another son, 10 years old, also with autism – meant figuring out how to balance the intensive needs of both boys and still find time for my 16 year old daughter, while working to support my family. The challenges increased with a spike in my older son’s behaviors that put him and my family at risk. His school’s systems recommendation was to place him in a residential setting. My son’s behaviors were so interruptive and dangerous that his team at his specialized school for children and adults with autism felt he was not able to learn.