The Olmstead Act
From the day my daughter Kelsey was born, I have thought about her and where she would live the adult years of her life. Born at 25 weeks gestation, Kelsey was very premature and had several disabilities. We were told by the specialists that Kelsey would only live for three months. However, she lived much longer.
Over the years, there were extraordinary moments when Kelsey and I would discuss her future and what made her happy. She and I both knew that she would not marry. During high school, Kelsey expressed a strong desire to live at home, with me, her mother. I was not adverse to her choice. In fact, my now 30 year old daughter Kelsey has become one of my closest friends.
Although, we each have our own schedules with what we do, and where and when we come and go. Kelsey has her own life which includes her Day program, her community and church activities, her nightly events, and her dinners with her friends.
Kelsey is 30 years old. She is kind and always wants to help. Kelsey smiles a lot. Kelsey is an awesome sister to six siblings, three in-laws, and three nephews. Kelsey enjoys Special Olympics (bowling and track and field), shopping, eating out, dance, and is learning to play the piano.
Kelsey has a strong faith in God. She attends the same church building, which she has attended for eleven years. At church, Kelsey serves as a door greeter, bears her testimony and offers prayers. Kelsey enjoys swimming at the Y and weekly visits to several city parks.
Kelsey’s life revolves around her Day program called DPI, Developing Potential Inc. DPI is a wonderful program where Kelsey has made many friends. She loves her teacher Karen and the other instructors. At DPI, Kelsey participates in academic work, cooking, music, manicures, and birthday parties.
Kelsey is multiply disabled and requires fulltime care. Kelsey has cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Kelsey is blind in one eye and has legal blindness, in her other eye. She also has several medical conditions with her heart, liver, bladder, and bowels. Kelsey has had 38 surgeries. In the past few years, Kelsey’s health has begun to decline. Kelsey can write her name and read 20 words. Kelsey uses a walker and a wheel chair. Kelsey cannot be left alone. Kelsey is so unique to have two high school diplomas, one from Missouri and one from Kansas.
Kelsey remains connected to her family, friends, medical doctors, caregivers, neighborhood and church because she lives in her natural community. Kelsey is happy to be part of her lifelong family and friends . . . which she did not have to leave at the age of 23 . . . because of Lois and Elaine.