On Friday, I needed to call the supported living coach of two members who are living in their own home.  I tried to call the number I had in my record but I got a message that this number could not be dailed.  Therefore, I called the members’ home and spoke to the one member who is able to read. 

“Can you give me the phone number of your coach on your refrigerator?”  I asked

“Sure,” she told me.  She read the number as 635 1237.  The number I had in my records was 636 1337. 

“Are you sure that is correct?  Read it to me again,” I said.

Again, she read 635 1237.  “June, could the number be, 636 1337?”

“Well, I said 2/3,” was her response.

“What about the first numbers 635.  Could that be 636?”

“No,” she said.  “It’s 635 1247.” 

That afternoon, I went into their home to look at the number on the refrigerator.  Clearly, in big letters, the number was 636 1337.  After asking permission to use their phone, I called the coach.  This time the message I got said that this number had been disconnected.

Should there be an emergency, June would be unable to read the phone number posted on her refrigerator.  However, even if she could call, the number was recently changed; and the new number had not been recorded on the refrigerator. 

In reality, I’ve found this coach responsive and responsible.  She changed the number in a few days and there was not an emergency.  Yet, the “what if “questions loom largely over the horizon of many people who have been put into independent living arrangements.  Even more disturbing is the resistance of The State regarding opposition to these situations.

More and more parents who have shaped and fought for an inclusive environment for their children are resisting the current independent living arrangements which mentally challenged adults face with independent living.  Still, state officials continue to insist that educating ignorant but well-meaning parents will eventual work.  These parents want concentrated, communal arrangements wherein their children will be able to live in apartments among their friends, without restictive limits in regard to the number of mentally challenged people who can live in one building or an apartment complex. 

What if June and her roommate was living in an apartment complex with several other people who are developmentally delayed?  Wouldn’t she be safer than this current situation?