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Living a Full Life with CES Waiver Services

Written by Mary Rinke, ACCESS Parent

Life can bring many surprises and lots of joy. Thirty-three years ago, my daughter Claire was born. As a nurse, I thought I knew what to expect, but boy were my eyes about to be opened. After Claire survived a fetal maternal hemorrhage, yes, lots of uncertainty was to come. Long term, Claire has Cerebral Palsy, but with the help of ACCESS, she has thrived.

At nine months, Claire was introduced to Tammy Simmons, Monika Garner-Smith, and Cheri Stevenson. In retrospect, this was a true blessing from above. With the help of these outstanding ladies, my daughter blossomed. She went to school from kindergarten through fourth grade at a typical school, and then was given the opportunity to attend the ACCESS Academy. There, she was able to have a serious education with the basics she would need to live a prosperous, independent, and fulfilling life.

During her time at the ACCESS Academy, Claire learned the joy of being able to help the young children in this world. After graduation, Claire worked with children in the private sector for many years before joining the ACCESS Early Childhood team. But there were still struggles along the way. To achieve more independence, Claire needed assistance. This assistance came in the form of CES Waiver Services.

CES Waiver Services through ACCESS brought opportunities for Claire to learn the skills required to live independently. Through supportive living services, the Waiver staff worked with Claire on the principles of self-care within the home and in the community, teaching Claire how to develop and improve on activities for daily living. Family can hit a roadblock with teaching skills such as cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, and daily errands. An outside source was the answer for us. Claire was much more willing to learn from her Waiver staff than from family. Now, she views her Waiver person as an educator in dealing with life’s decisions and an extension of her own independence.

For Claire, communication with multiple people can be confusing. However, in the work environment, communication is crucial. With the supported employment Waiver staff stepping in to assist with communication, success has been possible. They help Claire learn to navigate new changes in the work environment and find accommodations that can allow Claire to grow and thrive as an employee. People with disabilities need an advocate to come to their aide in the workplace and the community, and Waiver brought this for Claire.

ACCESS CES Waiver services have brought the reality of a full life to Claire, a sense of independence, self-worth, and productivity. Without Waiver, Claire would be adrift. Because of Waiver, Claire’s life is livable, and she is member of society.