The semi-annual reports from The Dept of Disability Service Office (DDSO) all start the same.
Cut and pasted.
“Warren is a handsome gentleman with dark hair and eyes and a smile that can light up a room. Warren’s smile is contagious. Warren can say a few words but this is only on a rare occasion. Although Warren is non-verbal, he is able to express his emotions, wants, needs and desires in a non-verbal way through actions, body language, gestures and some sign language.” In another paragraph it says that Warren is “electively mute”.
Warren is saying “Please”. “Please may I open my gifts?
I’m told he loves music. That must be a family trait. Music has meant so much to me my whole life, even though I don’t play an instrument. Our brother (Warren’s and mine) has been a drummer for the past 40 or so years. Warren loves “classic rock” – a man after my own heart. I’m told he can spend hours sitting on the back porch of his home in Plattsburgh listening to his CD’s, and rocks back and forth, from his left foot to his right foot.
His favorite group is the Beatles.
Interestingly enough, I did not know the following, which I inserted in part 1 until I was researching for this article. According to Wikepedia:
Some cosmic connection do you think?
In a recent note I received from his caregiver, it stated, “He is doing well. Has calmed down a lot over the years and seems to be happy. Smiles and laughs often”. “Has calmed down a lot over the years”
In 2002, the semi annual report I received from DDSO said:
”Warren has a history of stealing food” Warren is cautious of new people and will often display maladaptive behaviors to see what he can get away with. Since he is non-verbal, he doesn’t have the ability to tell anyone if an abusive situation has occurred. Warren can become physically aggressive towards others if they are between him and an object he is focused on.” Warren has the potential for self-abusive behaviors, such as eating and drinking non-edible items.
(Note: One of his diagnosis is PICA; another is OCD) Staff should be aware that he often grabs hot liquids or items cooking on the stove and may try to consume them. He should remain within eyesight at all times while in the kitchen.”
PICA – according to Wikepedia:
" is a medical disorder characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive (e.g. metal, coins, etc.) clay, coal, soil, feces, chalk, paper, soap, mucus, ash, gum, etc. or an abnormal appetite for some things that may be considered foods, such as food ingredients (e.g. flour, raw potato, raw rice, starch, ice cubes, salt) The conditions name comes from the Latin word for “magpie”, a bird that is reputed to eat almost anything."
OCD is another diagnosis of Warren’s. I find this one interesting in that family memebers all around me seem to have some sort of OCD tendencies. Two of my sisters and two of my daughters. When my daughters and their aunt got together one time, it sounded like an OCD fest, finding all of the same idiosynchrities they had in common.
“Warren has some OCD behaviors that keep him very active. He likes everything to be in its correct place, such as furniture being arranged in a particular way, the phone hung up in a certain way, the curtains hanging “just so”.
He keeps things in order.
He can be quite helpful in clearing things away, such as mats after PT and arrange and clear the living room after various activities. In the past there has been some concern that his arranging and organizing sometimes intrudes on activities that were in process!!”
From the 2006 Annual Report, they say of Warren:
“Social isolation and withdrawal continue to be a major concern in his overall adjustment. He continues to spend a considerable amount of time apart from the main group, typically engaged in some rocking type behavior, but his current status still shows significant progress over patterns of adjustment Warren displayed during the earlier years of placement.”His overall behavior adjustment had improved dramatically over the years and certainly since the beginning of his placement in Clinton County (1986) *
“Warren tends to choose people he will trust when going out into the community. He will show greater participations when with them. he has been known to put his head on their shoulder or will gently touch their ear lobes at times.” He greets others by shaking their hand, however, he does not initiate this action.
More often, Warren makes his acquaintance with others by gently touching both of their ears.
Warren is a very interesting and complex person who is very in tune to his environment. At times, his way of exploring the environment can run contrary to accepted procedures and safety factors”.
I love how they call Warren a very “interesting and complex” person. It shows the respect that he garners as a person, not simply someone or something to be taken care of.
“Warren is capable of making himself a cup of Instant coffee
and using the microwave.”
“Warren makes his acquaintance with others by gently touching both of their ears.” “Seems to be happy”.
I guess that’s all you can ask for. He grew up in Willowbrook.
For those of you reading my story, consider that your ears have been gently touched by my brother.
Part 3 will be about Willowbrook.
* According to my mother, Warren left Willowbrook in 1974 ( the year my parents moved away from the State of New York and never saw him again) but, according to the records, Warren was one of the last ones to leave Willowbrook before it closed forever in 1987. I will continue to dig for truth.