Happy Independence Day Everyone!
Today I share a story about a special needs brother by Sabrina, a German blogger of the wonderfully creative site, CoffeeRocketFairyTale. Below I share Sabrina's "Monday Morning Message" posted this morning.
Yesterday I got a call from my brother.
It was about 10.30 am - a time he usually doesn't call because that's when he is at work.
When I answered the phone he told me he had just discovered two holes in his socks and now didn't know what to do about it.
He is 28 years old.
My brother was born with disabilities, something the doctors called "trisomy 8" - meaning he was born with three copies of the eighth chromosome (instead of two).
If you see him you wouldn't be able to tell.
If you speak to him you wouldn't be able to tell.
But maybe you would notice if you spent more time with him.
Until October 2010 he lived with my parents.
We all knew that it was time for him to move out because we realized that he wouldn't make any more progress as long as he stayed at home.
He relied on mum and dad doing things for him he could have been doing without any help, but you know how things are in "Hotel Mama" as we call it: you get your mum/dad/brother/sister to do it for you.
But one day he mentioned that he would like to live in his own place one day.
It took my mother more than a year and countless visits to the authorities before they had found a convenient flat and developed a way that allows my brother to live in his own place but still receive the special care he needs.
Compared to other people with disabilities I know, there's not much he needs.
His time management is pretty much non-existent, so he needs someone who tells him to hurry up.
He can't judge if it's warm outside and he could wear just a shirt to work or if he needs to put on a jacket.
Also, he needs help with the "official" stuff. Letters from authorities, paying bills...
And apparently he doesn't know what to do when he finds that there are holes in his socks, either.
Good job though that he thought about asking someone - I told him to get himself some new socks and not to worry.
Despite the little problems he sometimes encounters, he thoroughly enjoys living in his own flat which he shares with another man of his age who has similar special needs.
Both of them knew they wanted to live in such an environment.
When we all sat together and thought about the possibilities they have, both of them made it very clear that they did not want to live in the sheltered workshop there is for people with disabilities.
It would have been too much care for them.
The other options was to live in a flat (just as they are now) but with very little care - only once a week a caretaker would pay a visit to check on them.
Again - it wouldn't have worked out because that would have been too little care.
That's the problem we have here in Germany at the moment: you either have too much or too little care!
So my mother and the other guy's mother got together and thought about the situation - and came up with a system that suits their purpose: my brother and his friend moved into their own flat, but a caretaker would come in twice a day to get them ready for work in the mornings and make sure they get something to eat in the evenings, get their grocery shopping done and get some help with their paperwork.
Most of the time, this works pretty well.
But it's still very important for my brother to know that he can call my parents or me if he has a problem.
Like when he discovers holes in his socks.