Saturday, January 10, 2015

Person Centered Planning

I wrote a blog about my fears and projections on my husband. While I thought I was done learning from it I realized I still had more to take in on the subject. I am not ashamed I have been looking at the future of my son and my husband wrong for a while now. It's not a bad thing its a, typical thing that most of us parents make when it comes to handling a special needs child. However my situation is unique, I raise a special needs child and I support and take care of my special needs husband. It's role I took on because as a mother and a wife it's expected if the situation arises. I was blessed with that opportunity. Yes, blessed. Why? Because I am learning more about myself and those with disabilities more and more every day.
Just when I thought I was done with my eye opening, learning experience on Thursday, I went on to learn even more. The learning was going to continue and I was going to be even more emotional about it all than I already was. I was emotional over the fact that my husband was growing and taking back part of his life that he thought he had to surrender when he was going through his release from the military and his PTSD/TBI diagnosis.
I was in Austin for the Parent Organization Academy and was about to learn a whole new slew of things to help as our son transitions through life and all the new in's and out's of the special needs life in and out of school. I honestly thought it would have no bearing on my caretaking of Chris. It was geared to the parents not to a spouse taking care of a disabled husband but this speech I heard might as well been. I had to fight back so much emotion during her talk. It was at that moment though I realized I had to change my perspective and outlook.
Person Centered Planning. I had never heard of it until Thursday. I honestly had no real interest in it until I heard the doctor at our conference speak about it. At first I had little interest in what was said because my son is young and I really don't need to focus on transition.... or do I? Then she went in to speak about how we are so quick to make the choices of our child and their future with little to no input from them. True, very very true. I mean honestly what would he know about his future, what does he know about what he wants to do and what he wants to be? WRONG! He does and he has just as every right to speak up on it as you and I do. So how does this pertain to Chris? Simple. He has to start becoming a part of the decision making process. He has to start being able to speak up about his wants and needs. He has his rights and he deserves to utilize them.
I had been so quick to take over his role at making decisions, being in control and not letting him be able to do what it is he says he wants to do. It's not me being controlling, its me being protective. He isn't the same person he was due to his injuries. He struggles to remember the basic of things and can't handle busy and large crowds. Most of his school is done online and he can't hold the typical 9-5 job so I am the protector and his caretaker. I do not want to see him fail or hurt. I do not ask him what he wants or what he would like. He is different now and those things are just not obtainable to him.
Hearing Dr. Wilkes speak opened my eyes and changed my point of view. While all of us are talking around him and about him we are not really talking to him about what he would like. Chris has grown comfortable with that and looks to me for what should be done, especially when it comes to him. I have taken that control away from him. It wasn't supposed to be that way. Chris is still who he is with just some modifications to his personality now. I have to learn to let go of the fact that he will fall and he will fail but its ok. Hunter will fall and fail and again it will be ok. We will pick up the pieces use it as a learning experience and move forward.
 We have marriage counseling on Monday and plan on addressing this Person Centered Planning approach with her to see how we can do this for him. I also plan on bringing this up to his medical team. Chris wants to go to a regular university, who am I to say he can't? I am not but I have to learn to let him go back to standing on his own two feet. Who am I to say he shouldn't go to Starmark to learn to train dogs so he can help others in the community like him? I am not he has the drive and the passion to do it he should get that experience if he so desires.
I emailed Dr. Wilkes and expressed to her just how much what she said has changed my way of thinking.  I have posted her link:, if you are in the DFW even outlying areas in Texas and have the opportunity to hear her speak you need to try and go. She has been doing this for years and has some amazing success stories. I am so glad I was given the opportunity to hear her talk about this. It really has changed my course of action for my family. I guess it's true what they say, you never stop learning and you never stop growing.