Starting a new group
TMI (Towards Maximum Independence) is a well known provider of day programs in San Diego. Everyone I’ve spoken to who knows them has positive things to say. The thing I like best about them is their flexibility. They are accommodating to the needs of our adults. As parents, that is a priority.
Patrick and I spoke with the people at TMI before he left the TRACE program, about Individual Employment. We liked the people we met. Patrick’s buddy from Trace who lives in our neighborhood joined one of their Integrated Work programs. We met with TMI again in an attempt to get Patrick into that specific group. They were amenable because one of the group members lived in Clairemont. He could move to a group in his neighborhood. The rest of them live in our neighborhood, Point Loma. We were this close to signing on the bottom line.
Patrick really wanted to go college and I was convinced there was a way to get him there. Y’all know about his interviews with College to Career, Tailored Day programs and Mesa College. Instead of joining his buddy’s job group, we got him to college. He had minimal supervision. I took him myself for a semester. (That made us both crazy.) I hired someone else to take him to one of his classes. That worked partially. The problem was that he has a hard time paying attention for long periods of time. Particularly when the professor is discussing something that doesn’t interest him. Additionally the schedules were varied. Not his favorite!!! Being a “college student” takes a lot of patience. He had some when he started but lost it the second semester.
The bottom line for Patrick is he needs to have his dance card completely filled each day with items that he can count on coming to fruition . Half of his day was covered. Initially I thought his job at Tender Greens would develop into a more than half time job. Between part time school and half time work, he’d be busy. His job has not turned into more hours. We had to regroup and move forward.
He’s not a fan of regrouping. Changing schedules is like purgatory for him. Despite everyday breakdowns of mental exhaustion, he believed his program at college was the best. That a different life could be easier is incomprehensible. We had to force him to change programs.
We re-checked in with Rick Baca (firstname.lastname@example.org) at TMI again. They were amenable to moving the one group member and letting Patrick into their program. He would be with his buddy. He would be doing things in our neighborhood that he had done before (going to the YMCA, going to the library, easy peasy). It’s almost like going back into TRACE.
We went to TMI offices at 4740 Murphy Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA 92123. (858) 495-0863 . We met with Mr. Baca who went over all of the procedures and rules for their Integrated Work Program. Patrick signed the paperwork himself. At the end of the meeting Mr. Baca gave Patrick a copy of the weekly schedule with the exact times they arrived and left each location. I could’ve kissed them.
We went on vacation while the other adult in the group transitioned to a group in Clairemont. When we got back Patrick started right away. That day and every day since he has right away exclaimed that he had a great day. He had fun. Yea!!
His “Job Coach” comes to the house every morning at 8:30am to pick him up. She drops him off promptly at 2:10. They all work out at the YMCAs. They use the gym after they clean toys. They go to a special needs Zumba class at the Peninsula Y on Fridays. We’ve been long time members of the Y and the TRACE group went to the Zumba class. The PB TRACE group used to walk to the PB Library every week, and also clean up at the Rec Center. So all of these things Patrick had done before many times. He is back into his old routine. He very much needed some stability.
Patrick has another adult friend who works through TMI, at Vons in La Jolla, full time, member of the union, with an aid. He’s worked there for many years. The people at Vons love him and look at for him. We have another friend whose son works at that Vons in La Jolla 20 hours a week. They have 2 adults in their group and a full time aid. They are also happy with the program.
TMI told us they would be happy for us to find employment for the group around our neighborhood. There’s one catch, in order for Patrick’s group to work at a for profit organization, each of the individuals have to be paid minimum wage. You can only “volunteer” at non-profit organizations. Hey, maybe Patrick’s group could get a job at Vons in Liberty Station! One change at a time!!