Snug Vest

For those of you that are probably asking and wondering why Joseph does not live at home, I just wanted to share my story.

A beautiful piece written by Annie Ayoub
First off, it is very important for all of you to know that it is not because he has Autism, or is nonverbal, because he is pretty verbal, it is the fact that he has very impulsive and challenging behavioural issues that we cannot, as a family, meet his needs in a home environment.

Trust me, people that know me personally, know the type of parents that Joe and I are. They know about all the challenges we face throughout the years trying to help Joseph get the support and services that he needed to reach his full potential. Unfortunately, however, the behaviours existed since the age of three, and increased as he got older.

Joseph was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, and I can literally write a book for all the different help and support we gave him. ABA was really the main therapy we used for him since he was a toddler, and even until now. We are very lucky, because the state that we live in provides so much family support and services (that all states should equally have)!

Some of Joseph's impulsive behaviours consist of: eloping, biting, scratching, slapping,  throwing, pulling hair, kicking and occasionally smearing faeces, droppings, etc. On a good note, his eloping is very rare and not often at this point in time.

He has eloped on a few occasions, and police were involved, but thankfully all times he was found safe! I always felt like he had a guardian angel on his shoulder, because he has really been lucky in all the times that he did elope!

It makes it more difficult when you have a child, who cannot be left alone, because of impulsive, and sometimes dangerous, behaviours that he might do. There were occasions where glass was thrown in my house, and thankfully nobody got hurt. I have a younger daughter, who is 11, and unfortunately has been neglected for so many years, because when one parent needs to work and the other is home trying to do her best to meet the needs of both her children, unfortunately the typical one gets neglected, and left behind!

I was the one that said in the past, I would NEVER put my son in a home, but trust me you can never say never!!

When you get to the point when you are so burnt out, and it becomes a health risk, and you are all prisoners in your own home because you cannot take your child out in public, you know that you are not helping your child or meeting his needs.

It was even more difficult, because Joseph was initially placed in a children's Residency a good hour away from our home at the age of 12. It was a very good place, don't get me wrong, where he was loved and cared for, but we wanted our boy close to us as possible.

Having to drive almost 2 hours in traffic just to see our son or bring him home for the weekend, was torture. We were doing that for a little over two years and it was hard, but the best for us as a family and, most importantly, for him to get the proper help that he needed.

For the past year now, he is less than 10 minutes from our home in a wonderful place. It kind of looks like a college campus, where he gets around the clock professional care, with trained staff that love and care for him so much!

Joseph is very bright, and if he was not happy there, trust me we would know. They are able to take him out in public, which we as parents cannot do. He goes everywhere including stores, indoor/outdoor game and ride facilities, parks, basically all the things that children should be doing and going to. They help in making him more independent, and are helping him to reach his full potential! The school is literally next-door to him.

We as parents make the choice when we would like to bring our child home, for home visits, and visit whenever we like. I have a strict structure and routine with Joseph, because he thrives on days that he comes home and when I visit him.

I hope this information will be of help to some of you. Every child is so different on the spectrum, and not all children will need or benefit from being placed in a home, but no one should ever judge another parent.

I wish nothing but the best for each and everyone of you and I hope that you all can make the right decisions for your children in the long run for them to live an independent and productive life as much as possible.

May God bless you all!


Edited by: Priya Gupta

Written by Katherine Sturdy — October 26, 2016



I’ve talked to u on several occasion. I just read this story and it sounds just as u told me before, I’m so glad u have this program and it works for u and your family. That’s what I’m trying to do but not having any luck, not anything close in the area where they or I live, keep our minds set and power on through. Keep up with Joseph’s journey I like hearing the progress, gives me hope and make my heart fill good to see our young children with handicaps push through ………GOD BLESS STAY STRONG AND SAFE…..

October 26 2016


So glad you found a solution that is working for your whole family. Best wishes to you all.

October 27 2016

Christine Willis:

My grandson 17 I have raised since he was 2 months old is currently in a long term care facility ..he was diagnosed before he was 3 with ASD…just got there 2 weeks ago after another 2 month stay in the hospital, he has been in the hospital now 3 times. He is also diagnosed Bi-polar, ODD, IED, ADD, Pyschosis disorder. He is a good 2 hr drive away and he misses his family. I am able to go see him maybe once a week cuz I have my own health issues and can’t always drive there, we do not have no programs to help out…he is not happy there…I have been asking and looking for help with him since before he was 2 …he was speech delayed talked around 5 thru 3 yrs of speech therapy. He also was a biter, very impulsive, threw things including couches, chairs and tables, he was very strong for a 2 yr old..later in second grade I got him into sports(baseball & football) and was very good at it until the summer of 2013 when he suffered a TBI from a baseball hitting him in the eye that was pitched from a pitching machine about 90 mph.He suffered a concussion lost consciousness, broke the orbital floor and had blood trauma in the eye. By 2 months later he was suffering from the TBI losing memory, lightheaded, headaches,pale and his thoughts began changing, he also was very sick( neausea and vomiting every day) and lost 60 pounds in 2 months. 6 months later he was diagnosed with Candidias and also an egg allergy. We switched up his diet and he gradually got feeling some better, but thru that yr he thought he was dying. He couldn’t attend school and has very little credits for the four yrs of highschool which he is now in his senior year. Thru all the counseling and therapy he was never put on any meds until after 2014 when his psychosis was very present and affecting his daily life and his reality wasn’t our reality. As of now they have lowered his meds down and are in the process of checking out a new device that uses stimulation to the neuron transmitters in the brain,sreotonin, melatonin, depomine, it is known to help with depression, anxiety, sleep, PTSD among some others. it is a device that is used up to 2 times a day for 20 mins…I am excited for him to get to try this and see if it will work for him. he doesn’t lie taking meds and I fear that when he is released he will stop taking them and go into another bad manic attack, that is what happened this time he was off of his meds to get his wisdom teeth pulled but the surgery appt took too long 2 months away and he went manic…I wish we had a better system but it is broken and has been for so long the help is just not available…It is sad…he doesn’t run away anymore…he learned to not do that by 5…but he is impulsive and makes decisions that can have bad consequences. He is gullible and easily talked into things he shouldn’t do. My hope is that he will get stable enough to be able to come back home…he also got involved in some drug useage and has been thru 3 drug programs so far…Thanks for sharing ur story

November 01 2016


Thank you for sharing your story. It is very difficult having a child with autism. I can relate to son is 10 and it gets stressful knowing our children have so many issues and I sometimes feel like I am not doing enough. I am a single parent. I worry alot about his care now and in the future.

November 23 2016

Peggy Chambers:

God bless you and yours. My heart and prayers go out to you. I don’t have a child with Autism but several friends do. Joseph is a very handsome young man and looks to be genuinely happy in his pictures. Its not always easy to do what’s best for our loved ones because we want them with us but bless you and others who have been strong enough to put your childs needs above your wants.

December 03 2016


Thank you for sharing your story, you are so brave to put yourself out there. It is ridiculous that as parents of special-needs children we have to explain ourselves and our difficult choices to others…Although I truly believe parents of neurotypical children will never really get it. My son is only 3 but has severe aggressive issues. My worst fear Is having to put him in a facility one day..but I read your story and find peace. It’s good to know that these options are out there and not the sterile heartless environments that some people picture them to be. No doubt Joseph Is gaining skills there that would not have been possible elsewhere :-)

December 17 2016

Norma rosario:

Mi ahora tiene 12 años es asperger,el área más afecta es el área sensorial.Tiene trastorno de ansiedad.Su primeros comienzos fueron muy muy difícil para el y para nosotros.Ee estuvo en varias escuelas y nos fue muy mal buscando un lugar donde se estructura.Muy agrsivo,no quería estar en la escuela y yo llegue a perder esperanza de que esto mejora. Con el tiempo ha cambiado bastante.Ya esta mucho mejor la escuela es especializada en autismo.Gracias a dios estamos mucho mejor.Nustro camino no ha sido fácil pero no imposible. UN ABRAZOS PARA TODOS.

January 06 2017

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