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Letting Go

Robin is a 40-year-old woman who has until recently lived in remote rural areas because of my job. We were fortunate when Robin started school in the late 70’s that she had some very progressive thinking Principals and teachers through most of her school years. They did their very best to help Robin achieve her potential which meant that she was included with her peers whenever it was a benefit to Robin. Private tutoring was included in the mix.

Robin went to a program at Acadia University to improve her fine motor skills called “Smile”. It was run by the university and provided four hours of intense one on one or two on one help once a week for most of the year. She attended this program for several years. This enabled Robin to improve so very much in her ability to move around and enjoy her everyday life. I believe that the university still runs that program.

In high school Robin had for most of that time a wonderful special education teacher who was very concerned with the well being of his students. He made sure that Robin was learning where she was able with extra tutoring and building a schedule for her classes that enabled her to achieve her maximum potential. He kept in touch by phone for many years after with her and other students just to talk and see how she was doing.

Robin had been at home way too long because Charlotte and I were very afraid to let go so to speak because Robin was so vulnerable and we thought she was not ready. In 2009 through the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living a PATH was done for Robin. It enabled Robin to think about a life away from the family home. It helped us to realize that we needed to move faster with her life plan to leave the family home. Through our local ACL she began programs as well as in home plans that would help her live on her own. We also were able to get some respite monies and Robin was able to spend some time away from us and stay with her sister Vanessa. All of this helped prepare Robin for her move.

I have for many years worked as a volunteer with the community living movement locally, provincially and nationally as a way to help make life better for Robin. I was able to attend a Values Vision Action Workshop that was done by CACL. The information I gained during the workshop and from other parents at the workshop enabled me to deal more successfully with Social Services and Robin was able to move out of the family home in 2012. She now lives with two other ladies in a town house on a quiet street in the city.

In the past year Robin has grown so very much as an individual. The change for us is wonderful to see. She is involved in her community and enjoys life. Through Special Olympics has discovered golf which she very much enjoys. Charlotte and I can now rest easier knowing that Robin will have a happy life whatever happens now. She has the support she needs plus the support of her sister Vanessa and Charlotte and I. Roger lives in a small village along the coast of Nova Scotia. He was a member of the Canadian Air Force for thirty-two years. He first joined the ACL movement in 1992 as a volunteer with the local branch and has been involved ever since in different roles at the local, provincial and national levels.

This story originally appeared in the Coming Together newsletter. Download this and other issues here