April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A Parent’s Personal Note From Bassie Taubes, Bayit Association Co-Founder

We are blessed to live in a community that is supportive of people with special needs. We have various organizations which support the emotional, social, and intellectual growth of these individuals and many members of the community generously donate money to these worthy organizations. Having participated myself in numerous dinners and attended many fund-raisers for these causes, I have seen quite a number of inspiring videos. Like others, I too have been moved by watching a video of a Down Syndrome child playing in camp with his counselor; the caring relationship between the two is beautiful to see. I have seen the child in the wheelchair working with her teacher, surrounded by friends who are all engaged in the lesson of the day, and I am deeply impressed by the understanding and knowledge of the special needs teacher. However, I have also felt that something is missing from these videos. They do not show what happens when those children “age out” of their school programs and when they are too old to attend camp. Children with special needs eventually grow up and become adults with special needs and they often are no longer so cute or busy with a dedicated, smiling mentor. Like everyone else with adult children, the parents also get older and soon have to face the next set of ongoing challenges.

My son Yosef was a child with autism; he is now a 27-year-old adult with autism. At one time our biggest challenge as his parents was surviving his difficult behaviors, but with time, therapy, patience, and support, he has matured into a lovely adult. He still has challenges; and they are manageable for the most part. As he has been growing up, my husband and I have of course gotten older; some of our other children are married with children of their own. But because Yosef still lives with us, we can rarely accept invitations out for Shabbos meals; eating at the homes of our friends who no longer have children there is not enjoyable for him. He is often lonely and bored.

While the last two years have been difficult on everyone, they have been especially difficult on people like Yosef. His day program was closed for several months, and he had absolutely nothing to do. He can’t read a book, get together with friends on his own, or pursue a new hobby.. In the last three years, we have endured both a family health crisis which required traveling overseas and an illness requiring hospitalization, so we could not be at home for an extended period of time. Our children, family, and friends were great and made sure that Yosef was not left alone, and he was well taken care of. Although this worked for the time being, this is not a viable long-term solution. I realized that if Yosef lived with friends of his, in a supervised environment, he could enjoy a safe, full, and meaningful life. I also realized that if I wanted Yosef to be able to live an independent, yet supported, life, I would need to find like-minded parents who had the same dream I did, to have my adult child live near me in a group home setting. I found my partners in Moshe Kinderlehrer and Adam Chill.

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