"Let Fly the Falcon"
By Mac R. Moseley, Professor Emeritus, College of Education and Psychology, The University of Texas at Tyler

Let Fly the Falcon

The hardest thing I have ever done has been to release my son, Rodney, to live in a group home. Thinking of myself rather than him, I was convinced that group home placement was a decision of last resort when the person had no alternative for a place of residence. Having taken part in the development of Breckenridge Village in Tyler, I envisioned that as a place for Rodney twenty years or so down the road when I was no longer physically able to care for him. But, not this early in his life. I still had my health and was able to put off the inevitable.

During Rodney's final year in St. Louis School, a part of the Tyler Independent School District, I experienced a slight bump in the road of life that required major brain surgery. Following the surgery and full recovery, it occurred to me that God had waved a red flag and given me pause to consider Rodney's future. So I cut the cord securing him to me and, as one does with a Falcon or any bird desiring the attainment of height, allowed him freedom to soar as far as he is able, and submitted him to the care of the staff of Community Access. Breckenridge Village, though well developed by then, was still not equipped to handle the needs Rodney required.

That move was made over two years ago, and I see now that it was the right move for Rodney. The adjustment was easy for him, but took me six months to overcome most of the sadness I felt and finally see the wisdom of the decision. I see it in the expression of happiness on his face when I take him back to Preston House following an outing or an overnight stay at home. Since Rodney has no speech he communicates through facial expression and hand clapping. The move was the right one in that the staff of Preston House seems to love Rodney almost as much as I do, and have done so many things to assure his safety and well being.

Early in his placement, he was evaluated by medical specialist, physical and occupational therapist, a speech-language pathologist, and others. His weight is closely monitored by the Community Access nursing staff and his diet is regulated to accommodate any significant changes. He has been fitted with an orthopedic brace to control scoliosis, and is evaluated annually by an Ophthalmologist and an orthopedic specialist. He is evaluated every year by his Physician and has six month dental checkups and teeth cleaning. Sensory Neural Integration is implemented at the group home as well as in his day training facility, the staff having been trained by nursing staff at Community Access.

So, Rodney has adjusted, and with the help and encouragement of the Preston House caregivers, will soar as high as God enables. And I, with thanksgiving and assurance, know that when I "fly away," Rodney will be provided for, protected, and loved.

I like the staff. I like living at Forrest House. I like the ladies here at Forrest House. I get along with the ladies. The company here in Tyler treat me good. I enjoy it here at Forrest House. They are friendly. Thank you for letting me live here at Forrest House.

--Sandy M.

I like Shaffer because of the safety, the boys are friendly, the staff knows how to cook and we get 3 meals a day. I got a roof over my head. The staff watch over me when I sleep 8:30 pm-5:20 am and that a night.

There is a lot of fun here. They go grocery shopping every week and even extra food for the weekend and that take money. They let me go on dates and even take me. It is a good place to stay. So see I like it because its real nice place to stay, and there is more than you can shake a stick at.

This is your friend saying good-bye,

--Ricky J.

I like [living] at Shaffer House because there is good staff and client(s). They help me when I need help, we play game(s) and go out and have fun. It's just a good place to be at. That's why I call this home.

--Jerome A.

Beverly C. - Beverly said she likes Copeland, because they have good food. She also likes it cause her mother stays close by. Beverly likes the games, and gets to sleep with a night-light. She likes it here cause she gets coffee, watch her DVD and TV.

Sheree L. - Sheree says the reason she likes Copeland is because its good food and good staff. She likes it because it's special, because she gets to go places (dances, church, and dollar store, shopping, parties, movies, etc.) It's a nice place to live.

Candace W. - Candace said she likes Copeland cause she gets to do activities (bowling, glass center) She likes to listen to her country music. She gets to play and talk with roommate and housemates.

Cherie B. - Cherie said she likes it at Copeland because she has friends here, and she has a nice roommate, she likes the staff. She likes it cause she get to cook. She gets to watch her own TV I her room. She gets to sleep in the bed by herself.