Daily life, with its ordinary tumult, was stressful for her, full of conversations she could not join, family members plugged into activities from which she felt excluded. All she had was that abundant, disordered language, and a relentless demand to be heard. I saw glimmers of my daughter's big, bright personality, but as she grew older, her behavior worsened. She was just difficult – at home, at school, in the community.Years before I began to stress about what she might do when she graduated from school, there was the immediate concern of what she might do at home, apart from following us around, making it impossible for anyone to finish a sentence.
For years, that question dominated my life: What could Rachel do?
I remember the natural light, the quiet, the good feel about the place. I remember the supports coordinator explaining that at TOC the job coaches were on site, so no external job-training funds would be needed. I did not know that TOC took people with behavioral problems who'd been rejected elsewhere, or that at this site the staffing ratio is 6 or 7 workers to one job coach, well above the staffing ratio of fifteen workers to one job coach, as set by law.
A day program would crush her spirit. She would alienate everyone around her, interrupting, talking, cursing, screaming, out of control.