Overcoming the challenges, one roadblock at a time.
When her niece was born, Caroline took special care with the baby items she made. She loves to create gifts for others with her needlework. She’s a wizard at cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint and latch hooking. When she’s not busy with needlework, she enjoys puzzles, bike riding, singing in the choir, going bowling, working on art projects and going to church. She also likes to go for walks in her neighborhood. Once you’ve met Caroline, she will be able to remember and remind you about the many details she learns about you. Like many Minnesotans, Caroline doesn’t like the cold winters, and works to save enough money to take a winter vacation.
When Caroline was younger, as children do, she needed her mom’s support and direction. Because Caroline has autism, this need extended beyond the typical childhood years. As Caroline’s mom aged and Caroline gained skills, her mom needed Caroline’s support and direction. Caroline assisted her mom with household chores, including mowing the lawn, grocery shopping and cleaning.
As Caroline’s mom continued to age, she experienced greater health issues. She was less able to assist Caroline, and needed more help herself. Through much of this, Caroline was receiving services through Laura Baker Services. She was beginning to talk about moving into her own apartment, being on her own. In 2009, an opportunity arose: we had an apartment in one of our houses that Caroline could live in, and she would get the support she needed day to day. At the same time, Caroline’s mom would get the support she needed.
The staff members who worked with Caroline throughout the process were critical to accomplishing a good outcome for everyone involved: they could see and report that the situation at home was becoming more difficult for everyone. They were able to advocate for Caroline and her mom.
Caroline has blossomed. One of her goals the past year was to lose weight. Through exercise (she swims, walks and uses her exercise bike) and healthy eating, she lost over 30 pounds! She learned new habits and has maintained this weight loss. Additional goals are to live in a warm climate, and to learn to walk away from situations when she is upset. Because of her autism, Caroline struggles in social situations. In spite of that, Caroline joined the Laura Baker Choir, and is a faithful participating member. Over the past year, one-to-one staff was scheduled to focus on social communication skills. Since that time Caroline has been much more comfortable in social situations and is now initiating conversations with others. People who knew Caroline in the past are amazed at the changes they see in her communication skills.
With a few tweaks here or there, Caroline’s life could be yours or mine. Her passions and her abilities can shine when she gets the support she needs. We’re thrilled that she’s invited us to come along on her journey.