The mother of an autistic adult featured in this Salt Lake Tribune Article says she knows her son best. She and other parents of adult disabled children want their voices heard when decisions are being made about where their children should live.
Parents of the disabled want a say
In one group home, Philip Paulsen was left unattended and was seriously burned in a cooking accident. While playing with water — a habit when he’s anxious — the severely autistic adult caused $5,000 in damage to a supervised apartment. He was evicted for assaulting a caregiver.
As his mother, 73-year-old Mary Paulsen rounds the corner to old age, she feels the “security, consistency and supervision” her son needs can only be found at the state-run Utah Developmental Center in American Fork.
But with a movement to keep the disabled out of institutions underway for decades, Paulsen and other parents feel shut out of decisions about where their loved ones will live. They’re now asking lawmakers to endorse legislation that would make it easier for parents to institutionalize their mentally disabled children.