[dbmat] Just a little farther down the road

  • From: fanfam@xxxxxxx
  • To: dbmat@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 19:20:53 -0500







Hello DBMAT friends and family. This is Leslie, mother of the Famous Fansler
Family. Some of you have known our family, and my son Preston, for a long
time. Preston was born deaf and blind. He is 27 now; yes, Peter Pan grew up
without his mother’s permission. We have been associated with DBMAT for many
years. Each chapter of Preston’s life has brought unique challenges, deep heart
ache and immense joy. Preston has turned out to be quite a remarkable young
man. I always thought I would keep him home, with me taking care of him, until
I finally died! However, because Preston is who HE is, since graduation from
high school, he has shown me that HE wants a new chapter in his life. HIS life
plan does not include sitting at home stemming, juggling care givers while I
work, searching for ways to keep him active, hours, days, weeks of nothing much
to do, while trying to maintain the skills he worked so hard to master. HE
does not want to sit in a rocking chair while everyone around him is living a
life. Once again, I had to understand HIM and put HIS wants in front of my
unbelievable fear of the unknown and what could happen to him. There are
things about Preston’s life that scare me so badly I can’t function when I
think about them. Preston is severely disabled, but Preston is not scared. HE
wants to live, not be protected from all life has to offer. So in an amazingly
horrific, heart rending, heroic effort, unbelievable to me, these past two
years I have searched for an adult life for Preston. Scary as all get out! I
had to make sure that he would be OK plus live a fulfilling life. And guess
what….I found it!


It is called HandsOn, in San Antonio, Texas. Headed up by a lady I have know
for over 20 years, the very wise and wonderful, Gay Bellamy. It is a deaf
blind specific program. They totally operate on DeafBlind: environment, time
and activity, and those of you who have a family member understand what that
means. Preston has lived there about 6 months now. I recently visited him at
HIS home. I braced myself for how bad it would be, even though I receive
weekly reports, pics and videos, I was sure he was just not functioning at all.
How could he be, if I wasn’t there every day? I knew beyond a shadow of a
doubt that he would be frustrated, have lost many skills, unable to communicate
with anyone, have beard stubble on his face, losing weight, unable to walk
around in the house, have no recreation or daily purpose, stemming all the time
and ready to come back to his mom and family home. Well, that just wasn’t
reality. Preston is AMAZINGLY happy. He has gained skills and weight. He
showed me his room, and was proud of it. He knew all the routes in his house.
He was busy, busy, busy and not stemming. Dare I say it….. he ACTUALLY
communicates with people. But the best part, Preston has a friend, not a paid
care giver, but a deaf blind peer. Preston has a friend. Who would ever have
believed the impossible dream could come true?


As I headed home from San Antonio I felt like I could breath again. Preston is
living HIS life plan. Hopefully this posting will give those of you, with an
adult family member, the wisdom to see that life for our guys doesn’t end at
graduation, it begins. I hope this gives you the courage to get past your fear
of being the only one able to care for your adult family member and the
unknown. And I hope it motivates you to look at HandsOn’s website at
http://www.handsonsa.org Contact them and see their program. Mostly, I pray,
that we all understand life is worth living. Preston is LIVING. Go my sweet
son, we gave you roots to grow, and now, it is such a precious gift to watch
you bloom.


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