Mike has lived in a CSI-supported home since 1994. He came to us after experiencing very difficult times, both the loss of contact with his family and a series of involuntary program discharges, given his extreme and unrelenting behaviors. Mike had a hard time adapting to his new CSI housemates as well, frequently fighting with them. He continued having difficulty accepting the guidance of staff. Utilizing the principles of the Residential Teaching Community, staff sought to give Mike consistency, assurance that circumstances were going to improve for him and that he was safe. As a means of seeking consistency in interactions with him, Mike had 1:1 staffing throughout each day and evening, whether at home or at his day program. Still, Mike continued to require physical restraint nearly every other day and experienced numerous community incidents until as late as 1999 when his behaviors finally ameliorated.
In 2002, Alvaro, the long-time Program Manager of Mike’s first home, was asked to open a new home for young men. To sustain consistency in Mike’s life, Mike moved with his trusted Manager. He saw that as a positive step in response to his improved behaviors. In the same timeframe, Mike became active in Special Olympics, in time earning medals for soccer, softball, basketball and bowling. He became a collegial teammate on his sports teams. And in the same period, Mike found a job which suited him – working for a janitorial firm having responsibility for the Henderson Hall Marine Base in Northern Virginia. Starting with just one day/week, over time Mike worked into a full-time job, working five days/week. He remains there today and is a well respected employee.
Mike continued to set new goals, seeking in 2006 to move into his own apartment with his friend, David. They did so, moving into a three-bedroom apartment in Northern Virginia. Mike and David have CSI staffing 3-10 PM daily and 7AM to 10 PM on weekends. Overnight safety is afforded by a live-in counselor whose only other responsibility is to ensure each day gets off to a good start with medications, personal grooming, and breakfast. Both men are extremely happy every day.
In late 2006 Mike also ceased smoking, an achievement of which he is very proud. He has a sustained relationship with a girlfriend now and sees her with and without her parents. In the past two years, Mike has also visited San Francisco and other West Coast cities, New York City, and North Carolina. These are his favorite destinations to which he has now returned a second time.
Today, Mike wants to significantly improve his reading skills – and his effort to do so is underway. Truly, Mike has reclaimed his life since joining the CSI family.