In the last post, What would you do? | The Case of the Lourdes holy water, I asked for your advice. Here are my next questions:

DAY 39/365: Laced Up
Creative Commons License photo credit: dcosand

What do you do when you go to pick up your child from their home with residencial services and find problems with their personal appearance?

True Story 1: Shoes

Scenerio A

We walk in the front door to pick up Aaron, smile at him and then ask the caregiver, “Are Aaron’s shoes on the wrong feet?”

My husband and I trade “looks,” sit next to Aaron on the couch and change his shoes.

What do we say to the staff person?

Scenerio B

What do we do if Aaron’s housemate is the one with his shoes on the wrong feet?

True Story 2: Socks

We are helping Aaron undress at night. We untie, take off his shoes and find out his socks are turned upside down. The heal of the sock is squished up near the top of his foot causing a red mark. The sock has a grey area clearly showing where the heal of the foot is supposed to go, but it is on the top of his foot.

What do we say to the staff person?

True Story 3: Red Marks on Face

We give Aaron our biggest smiles as we walk in the front door of his house and immediately notice there are red marks near his nose, mouth and the sides of his face.

Mom says, “Aaron has red marks on his face, how did that happen?”

Staff person says, “I saw that, I’m not sure what that is, but I put some cream on his face.”

Mom goes over and traces the marks on Aaron’s face, “Gee, it looks like a scrape or burn.”

Staff is still sitting in her chair, but has put down her cell phone.

Dad says, “It looks like a scrape or burn from a razor. Which razor did you use, the electric razor or straight razor?”

Staff answers she used the straight razor?

Dad asks, “Did you use shaving cream? Was the razor dull?”

Staff person gets very defensive and swears it was a new razor and she used the shaving cream.

So, what would you do?

True Story 4: Roommate’s shirt

We are undressing Aaron for his bath. We notice the t-shirt he is wearing is too tight, we can hardly get the shirt over his head. Aaron bites his hand and is clearly aggravated. When we check, the t-shirt has Aaron’s roommate’s initials inside the collar.

So, what to do?

Aaron, our 36 year old son with the label of autism, has lived in a house with another man for over thirteen years. They have a 24/7 staff person who has the responsibility for his shower, grooming, dressing, and all self-help areas.

These examples have happened not once, not twice, but in the last thirteen years, many times. Again, this was on days when the staff knew we were coming. Who knows how many times Aaron went to his day program with shoes on the wrong feet? How many Saturdays has he been dressed in uncomfortable clothing.

So, what to do?

In the comments please share your thoughts and ask your social networks of Twitter, Facebook, etc. if they have any answers.


Remember there are no “right or wrong” answers.

Please share your thoughts. What would you say to Aaron? To the staff person? To Aaron’s case worker? To the administration of the company providing residential services? To anyone else?

What attitudes and messages does this convey for the individual, the family and/or the culture?

You can’t fire a person because of upside down socks—so how do you resolve this? How many times do you forgive these mistakes before you give them the boot?

As a parent, how do you choose your battles for advocacy? After all, these people take care of your child every day.

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward,

All my best,


Related Articles:

Home: More than a Place

Caregivers Part 1

Caregivers Part 2

Caregivers Part 3

There is no spoon| Disability Style