The Fund For The Needy
CARE at Haring Center offers support for those with neurodevelopment issues
Stacia Cables sits wide-eyed and watchful in an overstuffed chair, her eyes darting around the clinic-treatment room as if looking for a...
Seattle Times staff reporter
CARE at Haring Center |The CARE clinic directly supports individuals with disabilities and their families, by providing educational and therapeutic services. CARE helps people with neurodevelopmental challenges such as autism reach their full potential by providing support services, technology, support and therapy at all stages of life. For more information, about CARE, go to www.haringcenter.washington.edu/
Your dollars at work at CARE at Haring Center
$30 Sends a sibling of a child with disabilities to a sibling-support group.
$50 Pays for a young adult with disabilities to learn new skills and form supportive friendships through a structured neuro-diversity social group.
$100 Provides advocacy services for an adult with no family to keep him or her off the streets and enrolled in a stable program.
$500 Buys an iPad and software to help a person with a communication impairment demonstrate their ability to understand, communicate and advocate for themselves.
How you can giveYou can give to the Fund For The Needy online at seattletimes.com/ffnor by sending in a coupon along with a check, money order or credit-card information.
Stacia Cables sits wide-eyed and watchful in an overstuffed chair, her eyes darting around the clinic-treatment room as if looking for a monster in the shadows.
She whimpers and fidgets anxiously before bolting suddenly out of the chair in a panic. Her whimpers transform into ghostly moans as she heads for the door.
Her mother, sitting nearby, moves into action: She grasps Cables' right hand and tickles her palm, singing "Momma loves Stacia" over and over to the tune of "Here Comes Santa Claus."
Seconds later, Cables, 21, is smiling and giggling, and seated once more.
"I probably have in my repertoire as a parent every behavioral-management tool in the book," said her mother, Cindy Cables, 50, of Des Moines. "But I still need new ones, and I need someone to strategize with."
Stacia Cables was born with complex neurological problems that have kept her at the developmental level of a preschooler. Her mother, a former banker, has taken care of her full time since Stacia's father died seven years ago.
It's a taxing situation that has left Cindy Cables socially isolated, physically exhausted and worried about Stacia's future.
"As parents get old, we start to run out of steam," Cindy Cables said. "I don't want to be one of those 80-year-olds living with a 50-year-old, and being afraid to die."
Two years ago, Cindy Cables discovered CARE at Haring, and a new future began to take shape for mother and daughter.
CARE, a not-for-profit clinic that benefits from The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy, provides therapy, coaching, education and case management for clients and families affected by neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism, Tourette syndrome, attention-deficit disorder and bipolar disorder. Other clients, such as Stacia, have neurological issues that defy labeling.
The clinic exists to "create communities where all members are integrated, respected and contributing members," said CARE's clinical director, Julie Osterling.
CARE works with clients of all ages and all abilities, helping them identify their strengths and weaknesses, and finding ways to improve their social relationships, academics, job skills and daily living.
"If something is not working, they can figure out why and make it better," Osterling said.
The assistance can be short-lived or lifelong, providing a single safe place where the staff members know and understand the clients and can serve as a powerful advocate for their needs well into adulthood.
For the Cables, that means getting Stacia prepared for a job, and more independence.
When she began going to the clinic, her main goal was to learn to use the bathroom regularly. Now, she has a Web page to help employers assess her strengths and see where she might fit in. The center also provided her with an iPad, which she uses for education, fun and socializing.
She's already mastered the device, watching youtube.com driving videos, and whipping through apps that enable her to tell visitors that she likes trains and hamburgers.
CARE also provides her with case management — coordinating her needs among the disparate agencies that provide for some of her basic needs.
Other CARE clients require less intensive help, but the effects of receiving it can be profound, Osterling said.
Even seemingly small interventions — a homework group, a safe place to meet supportive friends, or counseling on how to get better organized — can make a positive difference in the life of a client with neurological issues. Without those interventions, they can become socially isolated and continue to struggle with things that come easily to other people, Osterling said.
Typically, clients try hard, but after repeated failure, they may quit trying, become angry and think of themselves as stupid or lazy or troublesome, Osterling said. Instead of getting a job or going to college or vocational school, they drop out, becoming recluses or even inmates, she said.
CARE, which is associated with the University of Washington College of Education, works with parents and educators to identify problems early, before the cycle of despair begins.
CARE's staff also works with college-age adults, who may have done well at primary school with family support but who fall apart and begin failing in college when there's no one around to provide structure and support.
Through counseling and support, those adults can identify strengths and weaknesses in their neurological processes and learn new approaches to make the most of what they do well, she said.
Osterling has known some of the clients from when they were children attending a UW school for experimental early education 20 years ago.
The legion of children identified with autism since then are now in or reaching adulthood, and their needs continue to evolve as they age, she said.
Dana Fay, of Seattle, is one of those children.
He was diagnosed at age 5 with Asberger's syndrome — a form of autism that makes socializing and communicating more difficult. Fay attended preschool and kindergarten at UW's Experimental Education Unit and received coaching through primary school to help him academically and socially.
Fay is now a polite and funny young man of 19 who is attending college and is working part time as a grocery-store clerk. He has friends and can easily converse with strangers, something that seemed impossible when he was younger.
"I'm capable of socializing and interacting with people, but there are times when I don't know what to say or how to say it," Fay said, adding. "I'm trying to figure out if it's a trait of Asberger's or something that runs in my family."
His mother, Betsy Fay, said the education unit and the clinic are places of "affirmation and encouragement" where Dana learned strategies for having an independent life on his terms.
Osterling said CARE is one of the only agencies offering testing, counseling, support and case management for the neurologically disabled.
"If we weren't here, there would be no one else doing it," she said.
Susan Kelleher: 206-464-2508 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @susankelleher.
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