Thank you for sharing your victory! What a wonderful milestone! I know you
are so proud of him!
Many blessings to you and Preston!
---- fanfam@xxxxxxx wrote:
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.