I am a school social worker and the parent of two severely autistic adult sons. I see mothers who have no one to turn to for help with their severely disabled children. I feel so sad for them, but then I realize that it continues like that.

When things fall apart for my sons – when the aggression against themselves, each other and me increases – there is no agency that rushes in. No man in a blue cape and tights arrives to give me an answer. Throughout our children’s lifespan, we are alone during times of crisis. Some of us are married. Some of us have extended family, and some of us have no one. In the end, the primary caregiver must deal with behaviors that would shock outsiders.

My friend Anne’s autistic 4-year-old has just learned to climb over the half door into her kitchen, which is full of dangers for this boy. Anne must move quickly to modify her home and keep her son safe. There is no agency that will help her with this. Schools can only do so much before our children “graduate.” Mine are at Oak Leyden – a wonderful workshop – during the work day, but afterward I am left to cope with the behaviors that come and go.

This is happening before any budget cuts. How can you cut a state budget that already leaves our most vulnerable citizens with so little support? The primary caregivers of these citizens are already close to drowning. Cutting what little support we have is not Christian, but it goes beyond asking what Jesus would do. Cutting support to the disabled and people with mental illness is criminal.

Peggy Vicaro
Oak Park

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