Disabled Mother Seeks Government Grant For New Flooring For Autistic Son
by Cynthia Daiello
(Anaheim, CA, USA)
Travis and his new special dog, Baxter
My name is Cynthia Daiello. I am 50 years old, married, and the mother of one very special son, Travis.
Travis is 26 and is living in a supported-living apartment with full-time caregivers.
I became a fulltime LVN nurse in 1982 and worked hard for my family for 18 years.
I am retired now and enjoy showing my pug dogs.
With my husband Jerry, I also help care for my 96-year-old mother in law, as well as my special needs son.
I have been disabled since July 1999 due to an eye injury during Lasik surgery to correct my vision.
It has caused multiple images, diplopia and glare and this affects my vision in ways of depth perception, close up and distant vision.
I am unable to perform the nursing duties I was trained to do in surgery. I cannot read without causing headaches and squinting, and I'm unable to drive at night or in the rain.
I have been permanently disabled through SSD since 2001.
My only child and son, Travis, has been disabled since birth. He has autism, ADHD, mental and physical delays, seizure disorder and a history of Pancreatitis caused by gallstones.
He is now an insulin dependent diabetic Type 1 since 2005, which makes his life much more difficult.
He also has birth defects that cause difficulties with speech and his motor movements.
Travis loves music of any kind whether it's concerts, dancing, choirs, hand bells, radio and watching You Tube videos. He has been to concerts with Journey, Beach Boys, STYX, all fair venues and also loves elderly people.
He receives SSD, SSI and is an Orange County Regional Center Client. Travis lives with a 24-hour caregiver in a Supported Living Apartment because he requires protective services through IHSS due to eloping and specific behaviors. He attends an Adult Day Program during the week.
Due to my son's special needs with his diet and behaviors, I financially support him with half of my disability income that I receive including his own.
I buy him his clothes, OTC vitamins and supplements, high quality fresh food, all supplies for cleaning and the utilities. Rent at $237 a month is subsidized by HUD.
My current husband is Travis' stepfather and his biological father has not seen him or been involved in his life since 2006.
The SSD I receive buys all my own clothes, special food I want, personal items, and fuel that I personally use for my son and myself.
My husband does not support me financially, only for my own housing and vehicle insurance. I bought my own vehicle, which is a gas hog, and I pay for the registration.
Travis needs new flooring in his entire apartment. The carpet needs to be replaced with hard flooring in his bedroom, walk-in closet and hall due to behaviors with feces smearing and urinating on the carpet.
The stain odor has gone into the foam and even with multiple carpet cleaning it is very unsanitary for him and the caregivers.
He often trips and falls on his carpet due to a left leg brace that causes awkward stiff movement, so I would like all the carpet taken up and replaced with tile or hard flooring to prevent falls. The estimate for the entire apartment is $1375. The bedroom and closet is $675.
Three weeks ago, I obtained an Autism Service Dog for my son, which is for his pet therapy, balance support when walking and a seizure diabetic alert dog when it happens.
I could not use the normal way to obtain a service dog due to Travis' behaviors. He would not be able to attend the 1-2 week training exercises required to be matched with a dog.
I took a personal loan to obtain this dog and the cost was $15,000. The dog has helped him tremendously with his behavior, and shows genuine caring for others and brought out a sweet happy side I have not seen in Travis.
I work independently pet-sitting pugs, transporting dogs to shows for others, and selling a few show pug puppies a year. This helps with the caregiver's gasoline to take him places and other expenses. He cannot use public transportation due to tantrums and PTSD.
I made a Facebook fundraiser page but so far there are no donations given.
I have contacted the Lions Club in the area but have not heard from them so far.
I contacted the Orange County Regional Center and they do not have the funds for the flooring.
We are looking for donations and/or grants to help with the purchase of the Service Dog, Baxter and vinyl tile flooring to replace his carpet.
The flooring estimate is $3 a square foot for a total of $1350. This type needs monthly sealing treatments to prevent dirt in the seals that could cause cracking.
Ceramic tile is the best alternative and the estimate for that is $7 a square foot which is very expensive.
The apartment complex will not pay for replacement flooring under 5 years old, and they use their own vendors for the job and the estimate is not negotiable.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. I look forward to any help you can give us.