Transition22
Paving the transition path to help families find hope and practical advice

Kevin Hamelin

The Hamelin Family – Approaching Transition – This is their story . . .

Mike and Kathy have been married 24 years and have 3 children, Kevin 20, Todd 18, and Ryan 16. Kevin and Ryan have Autism.

Kevin wants to own his own landscaping business when he graduates from his private specialized day school next year. He has great skills in fixing machinery. He can fix a lawn mower or snow blower and other yard equipment in his spare time. He also does well mowing and snow blowing, with adult support. He loves to help people, and also loves music and dancing. Kevin has a great personality and can communicate verbally, but needs assistance with daily living skills, social skills as well as managing behaviors.

We are working hard to make that happen for him. We currently have Adult Family/Foster Care services in place which helps financially to keep Kevin at home when he turns 22. At this time we are not considering putting Kevin in a Group Home. Our plan is to work with DDS and AFC to provide Kevin with the best opportunities possible for his quality of life. Although Kevin will need 1:1 assistance most if not all of his adult life, this has not deterred us from helping Kevin fulfill his dreams.

There are several considerations that have to be worked out before Kevin can do the landscaping (i.e. Staffing, expenses and purchasing equipment).
We would like Kevin to remain in the family home for several years. Kevin’s intense health and safety issues, behaviors, and need for same routine can be a barrier to independent adult community living as he will need a continuous 1:1 support. We feel that Kevin will have the best possible quality of life by supporting him at home in his community. Should Kevin choose to try adult community living when he is ready, we are open to that concept, providing all of his necessary supports are in place to maintain his health and safety. Our initial goals for graduation are concentrated on Kevin’s employment and quality of life.

Todd 18 recently graduated from a technical school and is currently working full time in the vocational trade of his choice doing CNC machine work. He plans to pursue college courses related to his trade. Todd is the sibling of two boys with autism and is dubbed “Just a Minute Todd” by his mother. Having multiple children with autism has put a lot of strain on the family. Todd has been amazing in adjusting to life with autism and should be recognized for being the ideal sibling!

Ryan 16 is enrolled in a charter school and will be a junior in the fall. He plans to attend college when he graduates in two years. He wants to do something with math such as become a teacher. He excels in math and science and has the ability to achieve his goals. He has said he wants to live in the family home and go to college at the university up the street, so that he can maintain the lifestyle he enjoys. Ryan will be able to make his adult choices on his own, but may need the support of an adult for assistance with money management, housing, and employment. His impulsivity and anxiety can impede his abilities to make good choices.

In order to accomplish the above programming for Kevin, it does not come easy. We have to develop a business Plan, a budget which includes the purchase of equipment, marketing plan, who would need to be hired (Staff) which would need to be negotiated with DDS. We would like this for Kevin as opposed to Day Habilitation because the one thing you learn when bringing up any child especially with disabilities, you really need to focus on their strengths and this is Kevin’s strength.

At 22 in the eyes of the State Kevin is an adult without the ability to make his own adult decisions. Limited and a lack of main streaming services make this journey very challenging.

As a family we enjoy camping, fishing, movies, video gaming, and also entertaining friends and socializing, when the boys feel they can handle it. Sensory issues often become problematic for the family out in the community and are handled with a myriad of coping tools for the family to be successful. And some days, we just simply have to retreat to the safety and security of our own home for the boys to be comfortable. We are very proud of how far our children have come, yet recognize that we face uphill challenges their entire lives. We live one day at a time and thank God for each day together as a family.

The Autism Resource Center of Central Mass and ARC Community Services have been instrumental in providing the family opportunities for socialization with complete acceptance of all disabilities.

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