by Designer Lori Esterly

Posts tagged ‘Autism’

The Saga of Keith

Hi Everyone,

Well, I have to swallow my pride a little bit here and admit a mistake that I told you.  Last week I said that all funding to special needs individuals was cut.  That is not completely accurate.  All Wavier funding was cut, which of course is where Keith is.  So to Gov. Corbett, I am sorry for exaggerating the funding situation but I still feel that cutting the funding to those who can’t care or provide for themselves is wrong.

So, the good news is that we had a meeting with our Social Worker, J, who is the absolute best support services coordinator in the whole world, in my opinion.  She came to our house during her personal vacation time to fill out paperwork for new funding for Keith through Base Funding which is a different funding stream than Wavier.  We should know by this time next week if Keith has funding or not.

Please pray with me that this goes through so that Keith can go back to work.  I like being with Keith but being together 24/7/365 is too much for both of us.  Thank you.

On another great note, Keith made these two bracelets this week.  Pictures below.  I am waiting on puzzle charms for the bracelets to post them on my Etsy site.  They should be in next week. I am so proud of him for all his good work.  I am going to have to stock up on supplies so Keith has enough to work with. : )    We plan on donating  10% of the proceeds to Support Autism for every item that Keith makes.  If you are interested in knowing more about Autism check out these websites.

The Autism Society –

Autism Speaks –

The Autism Foundation –

There is no conclusive evidence for a cause for Autism.  But in this mother’s opinion I believe that there is a genetic factor involved with some sort of predisposition that if all the right factors line up right, bingo, you have autism.  I do believe that there is an ecological or diet related factor as well.  What we do know is that Autism is neurological and often accompanied with Mental Retardation and even seizure disorders, like Keith.  Autism affects multiple areas of the brain’s function two specifically called the amygdala and cerebellum.  They effect emotions/understanding emotions and muscle control including muscles of speech respectively.  There are lots more interesting facts about Autism on Wikipedia at

I could go on and on but I won’t take anymore of your valuable time with it today.

Don’t forget the pictures!

Yes, I set up the pattern for this one and put the clasps on, but it was his first one and he completed the pattern and strung it independently. Beautiful!?!

This is Keith’s second bracelet. Yes, I put the clasps on but all I did showed him was one shiny bead then one frosted bead. He did the rest. I’m so Proud!

Frustrated!!! Good Idea???


As you all know my son, Keith, is autistic.  Well I just got some bad news about Keith’s services Monday.  You may be familiar with OVR, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, they help disabled people get to work with job skill training and possibly even some extra education funding.  Keith started the first phase of OVR training in June 2012.  He was being observed in work settings to determine his skills, strengths and needs.  Well, they were dragging their feet and now I know why.

OVR is short-term funding for work training and help to get a job.  If you need further, long-term job coaching then there are other services to pick up where OVR leaves off.  Well, ALL the funding for Special Needs services have been cut, yet again, by the state of PA and Tom Corbett.  So not only were SOME of the young people coming out of High School last year out of luck but, ALL the graduates who need help this year are out of luck too.  Plus they are cutting the funding of those who already have valid services.  It seems to me that if you are cutting the budget you should NOT cut the funds of those who CAN’T help themselves.

This is not meant to be a government bashing post but when the shoe fits…

Anyway, Keith has worked on some job skills and now they are coming to me telling me that they want to close Keith’s case because He will not be able to be independent in a job.  He needs long-term job coaching and because he has no long-term funding he will not be eligible for competitive employment, thus no longer eligible for OVR funding.  Catch-22!  Also he will not be allowed into the sheltered workshop either because they require funding too.  Keith now has no funding at all, no short-term funding, no longterm funding, nothing.

That leaves Keith at home with no training, no job, no support and no prospects!  I am infuriated by this!  We have worked hard in school all these years to prepare him for graduation, adulthood and work.  Keith has abilities.  He is capable of adding to the community and the economy but he is not able to do it alone, he needs help.  Keith wants to be a grown-up, he has enjoyed going to the workshop and working.  Keith needs to get out of the house and be productive, without mom.  This is not a case of laziness and refusing to work.  It is just the opposite.  He wants to work but there is no place for him.  Not unlike many very able-bodied adults out of work out there who are getting unemployment benefits.  Article On Special Needs Individuals and Work.

So, where does this leave us?  As my Grandfather use to say, up a creek without a paddle.

This is where my idea comes in.  : )  I am trying to get my business off the ground and the Autism Society can always use donations, so here is my thought.  Keith is perfectly capable of stringing beads on wire so what if Keith helps me  and we donate a percentage of the proceeds to the Autism Society.  This would help me, it would be very good for Keith and it will help other Autistic individuals too!

There, it’s all laid out.  What do you think?  Good idea?  Now, what are the logistics?  Anybody out there have any experience with fund-raising for a good cause that might be able to point me in the right direction?  I am already in contact with some Autism Programs.

Hey, I’ll let you know what happens.

~ Lori

Oh, just in case you are thinking that I should just pay for it myself, it costs over $26,000 a year for these services.  These companies charge between $15 and $40 (or more) every 15 minutes, not per hour.  So, you tell me, how am I suppose to pay for that?  Could you pay for it?  Do you make over $160 per hour?  I don’t.  It’s like literally paying a never-ending college tuition bill because Keith will never graduate out of Autism.

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