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Group Home and Development

Group Home and Development 


In mid-June of 2011, I made the move to Richmond with the plan of moving into a group home. Before all of that, my dad and I checked out some other locations that just didn’t seem to fit me at all. They both didn’t fit the ideals for what my family and I were looking for in a safe learning environment for me. It would be some time before my brother would reach out to my parents with a solution that would put me in a house that would help me move forward with my life. It changed my life for the better as the staff taught me necessary life skills to live my best life. 


When I first moved into the group home, I was afraid and didn’t know the first thing about much. My parents did try to teach me home and life skills before I left for Richmond, which helped me a bit when it dealt with simpler tasks. One of the first dishes they had me make was spaghetti with tomato sauce and garlic bread for the residents of the group home. It was how they could tell what skills you needed to work on when it dealt with cooking and other tasks around the kitchen. In the beginning, it felt too much like hand holding which wouldn’t have gotten me far at all in life. I would constantly call my mom for advice on how to take care of things or just to tell her about what was going on at the house. 


As time progressed, I got a bit steadier in my process and thought that I could eventually move out on my own. Several of my friends had done so, so why couldn’t I? By that point, I was able to wake up on time with an alarm without support, or signing out to go places was liberating without having to tell anyone where I was going or when I’d be back at the house. There would be times I would leave the house without having to tell anyone where I was going and there were no anxious thoughts that someone would be mad at me. It was liberating for me to experience these feelings. Simple tasks evolved into much more complex ones built on previous experiences or tasks beforehand. 


Towards the end of my tenure at the group home, I became a residential advisor and a volunteer at Commonwealth Autism.  I had also decided to investigate apartment living and opportunities around my current location. With it came many more opportunities for me to flourish and grow as a person individually. With the help of my family and friends, the transition moved smoother than expected. 

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