Lucas’ Story

As high school graduation crept closer, it seemed to loom over Sheree’s family. It felt like her son Lucas’ graduation brought with it more questions than answers. Due to Lucas’ intellectual disability, Sheree worried about how to fill his days with meaningful activities once the routine of going to school was over.

“He loved school and the new things he’d learn so much,” said Sheree. “We were afraid he’d just be sitting at home every day with no motivation.”

Instead of being glued to the couch, Lucas, now a high school graduate, has been waking up every morning feeling thrilled about what the day holds. His excitement begins the night before, when he lays out his clothes and packs his backpack for the next day. The source of his happiness? Lucas attends Day Habilitation five days a week at ChildServe in Johnston.

Day Habilitation helps young adults with intellectual disabilities transition to adulthood. Lucas spends his days working on skill-building, communication, listening, and safety. Despite the serious, goal-oriented work being done, Day Habilitation also makes young adults like Lucas feel excited and fulfilled while celebrating their individuality.

Sheree has seen Lucas’ independence and confidence grow by leaps and bounds. He loves seeing his friends and completing fun activities that also help build important skills for life.

“He zips into ChildServe, hangs up his bag, and socializes with friends. Somedays he’ll start on a daily chore like folding laundry right away. At home, we can see his independence growing when he cleans up the kitchen, plans his outfit for the next day, and puts dirty clothes in the hamper.”

Along with developing his daily living skills for inside his house, the Day Habilitation program also helps Lucas to be present and active outside of his home.

“I commonly hear from my friends saying, “I saw Lucas at the library today” or the grocery store, or a restaurant,” said Sheree. “Day Habilitation is one of the best things you can do for your child. The program helps create a routine, continue learning, build friendships, be visible, and participate in the community. Our children need to feel included. At Day Habilitation, kids enjoy this group of peers and caregivers who become like family.”

Aleigh Glazier, Day Habilitation Team Lead, is passionate about helping people with intellectual disabilities become more involved in their communities.

“I have always thought, with much disappointment, that people with special needs are an invisible branch of our population,” said Aleigh. “Many of the individuals we serve are not able to advocate for themselves, so we need to do everything in our power to advocate on their behalf. Day Habilitation increases not only their own understanding of society and the world around them, but also increases their visibility to the rest of the community.”

Lucas has increased his personal safety and improved his domestic abilities, but what Aleigh sees as his most important growth areas are those that help demonstrate his brilliant personality and concern for others.

“I consider myself so fortunate to know Lucas. When I see him helping a peer get their seat belt on properly or saying “Help, please,” when he just can’t solve a problem, those are the skills that I hope he will carry with him beyond Day Habilitation.”

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ChildServe improves the health and well-being of nearly 4,500 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, acquired injuries, and other special healthcare needs.

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