This week I’m sharing my recent email to Behavioral Solutions, the government agency that was assigned to find life skills and vocational support for my high-functioning daughter on the autistic spectrum. Why am I posting this email? First and foremost, I would like to warn other autism families to beware of Behavioral Solutions and ALL agencies purporting to help their loved ones on the spectrum. Honestly, the system of government support is so badly broken and inadequate that I believe most autism families would do better with a self-directed program—at least I hope so, since I’m still waiting for my own paperwork to be approved for that option….
The email below was sent to QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community, ha!), and my complaints are in response to an alleged “meeting” with representatives of Behavioral Solutions, whom QSAC contacted on my behalf.
Dear Medicaid Service Coordinator,
cc: Deputy Executive Director and the Senior Director of Service Coordination and Support Services
I thought you should be aware that Behavioral Solutions (the name is a joke) is extremely unprofessional. After being promised a worker who would begin in September, I FINALLY had an appointment with Ricardo and a Community Hab worker from Behavioral Solutions on October 14th.
Although my expectations were extremely low (after being warned by another mother), Behavioral Solutions managed to be even worse than I imagined. Friday morning I got a call from Ricardo asking me if I was as “ecstatic” and “excited” as he was about our meeting. Politely, I admitted that I wasn’t, but was looking forward to some long overdue help.
About 10 minutes before our scheduled 2:30 pm meeting, Ricardo called to tell me he was unable to find parking, and asked if Samantha and I would be willing to have our meeting in the street! I told him no, and that it was unprofessional. My daughter–who is very keen about being punctual–was already waiting upstairs in our apartment while I was coming out of a restaurant in the building. Also, we currently have only one working elevator in my building, where I live on the 9th floor, turning his already ridiculous suggestion into a time consuming ordeal and absurdity.
When Ricardo failed to persuade me to go upstairs to bring Samantha to where he was illegally parked in front of Ricky’s, I agreed to meet him and Jasmine Vasquez, sign the papers, and then go back to my apartment so Samantha could meet Jasmine. By the way, we had been told we would be meeting Cynthia Royce, who was 22 and in college taking a psych course. Jasmine is 21, never went to college, and is taking an on-line course in human resources!
Ricardo stood in the street fumbling through folders while I texted my daughter to tell her we’d be a little late because he couldn’t find a parking space. After considerable rummaging, he unearthed the appropriate papers, which I signed immediately after he reviewed them with me. Samantha had already sent me two texts wondering where we were and edging toward a possible meltdown. How could I possibly explain the change of plans or person?
“I thought we were meeting Cynthia? What happened to her? Why are we meeting someone else?” Samantha asked.
Great questions on the part of my daughter on the spectrum, for which I have no answers, but I’m hoping maybe you will….
After spending over an hour with Jasmine, I agreed to have her work with Samantha once on a trial basis next week. Currently, I’m working with my daughter 4 hours a week, and Samantha and I would BOTH love for someone else to take over and spend more time. While Jasmine seems like a nice, well-meaning young woman, she is NOT what I had in mind, NOT what my college educated 25 year old daughter deserves after all this time.
I switched agencies in April–and while I realize and appreciate that much paperwork had to be done–I STILL have NOTHING to show for nearly 7 months of waiting. No vocational support and no life skills help. I’m hoping against hope that my self-directed program will be approved soon and that Samantha and I will not waste another two years waiting for help that never arrives.
Everyone at QSAC has been very kind and well-meaning (as were the employees at The Shield and Mercy Drive), but the bottom line is that Samantha still has NOTHING!
I’m hoping–perhaps naively–that you or somebody somewhere will be sufficiently horrified and/or motivated to provide the long overdue services that Samantha is entitled to.
Is there someone somewhere in a higher up place (maybe God?), that I can contact who may actually be able to help? Or are all of the people given the job and responsibility of providing assistance for autism families simply performing in a charade?
Please let me know what my options are–if any–as soon as possible.
My letter was signed: “Unhappily yours.” Stay tuned . . . .