Supported Living services
“…I don’t ever want to be normal!”
“If having a developmental disability makes me this happy, then I don’t ever want to be normal!”
These words were engraved in my heart and soul after hearing it from Supported Living Services recipient, Debbie Bigelow at last year’s holiday party. Despite having anxiety; she courageously walked to the stage, proudly stepped up to the podium and introduced herself to the crowd. She went on to express how happy she was from all the accomplishments she was able to achieve due to the immense support she receives from the program.
Debbie was dually diagnosed with Autism Disorder and atypical psychosis. She used to get fixated on an idea or thought; as a result, she gets obsessed about it. In addition, she has bilateral, mild hearing loss and wears hearing aids. In the past when Debbie used to live with her family, her family made all the decisions for her, and Debbie was unable to self-advocate and make informed decisions. Her mom and conservator Sandy was concerned for Debbie's safety as Debbie had challenges with safety awareness and no safety skills to protect herself!
Finally, Debbie and her family enlisted San Andreas Regional Center for assistance and on July 2013, she became a recipient of supported living services at Greater Opportunities.
Armed with a comprehensive support plan, supportive family, and compassionate SLS team around her; Debbie thrived!
Debbie is able to maintain her apartment unit where she has lived for more than 20 years now. With the assistance of her SLS team, she has learned simple housekeeping skills to maintain her home. She managed her anxiety and now goes to social events with a balanced social life.
Ace Hardware recently threw a huge party for her to celebrate her employment of 25 years!
“I loved that they remembered and they even gave me a gift card!”
, expressed Debbie, shouting with glee.
Debbie focuses on doing the things she loves like reading, knitting, and arts and crafts despite her psychological diagnoses.
Her health is in a much better place through healthy and well-balanced meals.
She is currently enrolled at Gavilan College and loves learning new things!
Debbie is great self-advocate and is able to make her choices and decisions and still consults her mom, Sandy.
Debbie was recently offered a job at Stanford library;
a dream come true!
She is truly a remarkable individual. A force to be reckon with and an inspiration to us all!
Debbie, on behalf of the Supported Living Services Program, I would like to congratulate you on your new achievement, and are so proud of you! We cannot wait to see where life takes you next!
– Mary Eaton, SLS Program Coordinator