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Lizzie Richardson chapter 2


Chapter 1: Childhood and Family
Chapter 2: Supporting Darryl (Son) (you are here)
Chapter 3: Sibling Relationship
Chapter 4: Connecting with Other Parents
Chapter 5: Advocacy
Chapter 6: Solving Systemic Problems and Building Relationships
Chapter 7: Mentoring the Next Generation of Parents
Chapter 8: The Future for Lizzie's Son and the System
Chapter 9: Reflections on Life and Career

transcript - entire interview

Lizzie Richardson Interview (Word)

transcript - current chapter

Chapter 2: Supporting Darryl (Son)

11:04:39:26 - 11:06:54:04

Lisa: Can you tell me a little bit about your son Darryl? Maybe what was your first memory of your son, Darryl?

Lizzie: Okay, Darryl was -- I look back at Darryl. He did have behavior problems. I was down South then, went back down South to spend time with my mother, and it was all very similar there. And after he was checked out and everything, he went to Durham, Chapel Hill, and they was able to tell me everything about him. They said, he might be numb forever but he understands what you're saying. The behavior shaping he need had to be did before he become a teenager, and Darryl was placed for a year and a half, and they was very strict with him. My instruction, when you come out, you always have to have good service, good schools, and everybody had to be firm with him, and we all was going to be doing the same thing, making him mind. As of today, he's in good shape -- well behaved, he go to respite care no problem, he goes to camp no problem, he goes out to eat. You can take him to meetings, anywhere you've got to take him, but I allow anyone that work with him to be firm and when they call to tell me something he did, I get on them. One time I had to go to workshop and get him, and I love to stop and eat, but I refused to buy me some food, because I was not going to feed him. I didn't do it, and that was four years ago, and I didn't have to do that no more. They have my permission to make him mind and do what he's supposed to do, because if he ever had to place -- if his behavior is good, he'll stand a better chance of surviving, and that's how I feel. So when you call and tell me something, I'm not angry. We want to know, yes we got a problem, and we going to sit around the table and see what are we going to do about it? How are we going to correct it? By being a team, and we all working together and saying the same thing. Because when I have to go to meeting, you going, you going to sit there, take you out to eat, you going to eat and do what you're supposed to do, and that's it. And he's six-four.

11:06:54:05 - 11:09:32:06

Lisa: Okay, and Ms. Richardson, I wanted to ask you, what is your son Darryl's disability and when did you first realize the he had a disability?

Lizzie: Okay, when Darryl was three years old, he was potty trained, he said would say a word and everything. He had a convulsion, and we took him to the hospital, and I noticed after that, he started to regressing back. And when my daughter was one year old, and he was three years old, and he's two years old and four days older than her, I knew something was wrong. I didn't know what it was, but I knew that if he was two years older than her, he should have been two years advanced over her, not that she catch up with him and pass him. And I started looking into it. I started here. But I didn't get my answers yet, so my mother took Darryl to send him to a daycare, a home. The director of that daycare had a MRH child, and I learned a lot from her. She got me into the hospital, Chapel Hill, and Chapel Hill explained it, his condition, and what happened.

The birth record was clear, but he had that convulsion, and that's what did it, and so I accepted that. And they said, what would have to happen here is that he could do things, do like other people. He wouldn't catch up, but he wouldn't catch up with his age, but you had to check with the behavior and everything, and I can think back that when I really accept my son's condition is when I really went to Oldbury and the director told me, said I'm going to take you back here and see some of the other children, and here your son can walk and carry his own luggage. And I went back there and I saw the condition with those other patients. I think that weight was lift off me that day. I walked out of Oldbury feeling free and happy, and never looked back, never looked back. I always said that no matter what it is, help is for everybody. I wanted the right education for him, I wanted the right help for him. When he was down South, the school put him out of school. I know they supposed to go to school, so it has a little mental health place over there, and here's where I heard about human resource place in Raleigh, but I didn't know enough to tell -- but what I told them, if I don't get the help here today, I'm going to the human resource in Raleigh. That's what got down in Oldbury Center for the training - and we did it.

11:09:34:28 - 11:11:08:03

Ms. Richardson, how did your family react when you discovered that Darryl had a disability?

Lizzie: Well families don't -- families react because they want their children to be perfect and one thing I've learned down through the years is not rely on your family to help you. They don't know enough about this case to help Darryl.

I never bothered my family by keeping Darryl. I got Darryl into programs. I got Darryl in UCP respite care if I wanted to take a vacation. He would go there, where the people know how to work with him, in programs, in schools, camp, special needs camp, like Eagle Spring, when he got 15, he went to Eagle Spring, and I was lucky to find another parent, that aren't they glad, that told me about the Base Service unit and different programs. And what I will say, if it's good enough for Frankie, it's good enough for Darryl, and that's what we did. We're friends today, and we shared information and everything.

And ah that helps, just listen. You know, some parents don't want you to tell them anything. They get angry when you discussed your child. My family tells me today, say Aunt Lizzie, my niece tells me, she said, I love you, but you never wanted nobody keep Darryl, and you didn't get angry with us because we didn't want to keep him -- I said I wanted somebody to keep Darryl that knows his case, not the family. And I love you -- I help raise but I love my family just as good, but they don't know how to take care of Darryl. Don't bother me, it doesn't bother me.

11:11:08:03 - 11:14:24:20

Lisa: Ms. Richardson, were you always determined to keep Darryl at home, or did you ever consider --

Lizzie: Darryl would be home. Darryl has been on the UCP waiting list for residential for years. Now the minute -- if I can't do this, or I'm no longer here, Darryl would go to UCP for residential service, where they know him. He been going since he was 11, and they knows him. So that's where I want him to go. He's definitely on the waiting list.

So far, I hope the plans are, I worked out his future and I hope they don't take away his fun and take away things, so that he can pull through -- he goes - my thing he's in the workshop five days a week. He go to respite care, he goes to camp overnight, and he have an in-home support person to help him, so you have time to do things that you want to do. See, the average parent says, nobody can keep my child. Darryl have his fun, I have mine. You don't try to keep them all the time, because you're going to get burned out. You want to let him go and enjoy himself, so when we come, we be happy going out to eat or doing a thing that you have to do. And you still can have your life, and do things you want to do. That's what you want. You want him to get used to -- if ever had to go somewhere and live, it would not be hard for him, because he used to doing it.

Lisa: Ms. Richardson, when Darryl was three, about age three, and you realized he had a disability, I'm wondering if doctors ever advised you to place Darryl in an institution --

Lizzie: Well they said the placement they wanted was the center they closed - Byberry was it By - not Byberry. I forgot what it was but they wanted to place them there, and I didn't let him go. Then I heard a lot of bad things about them, but one thing about, when I went to Chapel Hill, they advised me -- and Darryl did go away. He was placed for a year and a half, and he was placed for a year and a half, you know. Those young guys -- I remember the time that he would come home and visit, we would take him back, and he'd run everybody ragged when he was home. And when he went back, this young guy told Darryl, he said, I want you to take your clothes off and put on your swimmers, your trunks, because we going swimming. And I saw him, little fellow, take his clothes off and fold every piece of his clothes, and then put on his swimming trunks, and they said, that's what you had to do. But they did some good outstanding training for him, but he did it when he was young. You can't wait till they get teenager, or grown, to try to reshape them. You got to do it when they're young. You know, you got to be in... when they're young, and when peoples tell you, explain to you what you got to do, no matter how hard it is, you listen, and you follow through, and you will see, later on in life, that will pay off for you. That's why he's home today, because he did not bother me. Picks his food, he eat, whatever. He loves to go -- like tomorrow night he's at a dance. He don't want me at a dance, so he'll go to this dance and come back on paratransit. And that's it. So he can enjoy himself.

11:14:24:20 - 11:16:56:18

Lisa: Ms. Richardson, you had described some of Darryl's support needs as being a little intense when he was younger, and I'm wondering what impact that had maybe on your own emotional or physical health.

Lizzie: All I did was did what I -- I've learned how to do what you have to do, and be a survivor. You know, you had to -- you had to get through it, and you had to be happy doing it. See, if I'm doing this job and I'm not happy with it, I can't do it. I had to be happy with this. I had to be contented with this. I have to know that he's going to be okay and that I'm helping him, and helping everybody else, and that's what keeps me going. Even having other parents, and talking with them, helps me too. Because when I get to my problem, it doesn't seem so small. It just seems small because I done dealt with everybody else's problem. Then when I come to mine, it's just like, okay, here's what I need to do. I need to do this, I need to do that, and then that's it. Because they call you all the time. They be, you know, they call and you know I say alright then and I listen first, but if you don't want the truth, don't call me. Don't call me if you don't want the truth and the facts, don't call me. Because you can be calling and ask me for help, and I'm going to give you advice, but don't get upset after I give the advice. You know and I tell all of them, don't want the truth, don't want to listen, please don't call me.

So they all call me and they listen, and then they come back and tell me, you know, you was right and it worked out all right. I told one, she wanted -- she was on the CAP waiver she wanted the consolidated waiver. So I said, I help you. So we called a meeting.

I said, listen, don't write no long letter. Write a short letter, put everything you got to say on that first page. Because once a person reads the first page, they don't want to read the second page. Make it short and sweet. And we went there, that day I say, she told me, I said, sit there, and she was talking about [Fran]. I said, no. She's okay. The only thing, you come straight on, and ask the question they asked you, and you'll be okay. She did that. Goes back and she found that I was in the meeting, and she got consolidated waiver. And she called me, she said, I got the consolidated waiver now, and she called me over the phone and said I got it. I said I'm happy for you. So that's how you can help your families. You know, at this point, we don't know -- we can't help the family now cause they want to cut off everything. You know, it's just budget cuts, budget cuts, and everybody's trying to hold their service that they got.

11:16:56:18 - 11:17:17:22

Lisa: Ms. Richardson, I wanted to go back to something you said earlier. You were talking about family, and you talked about really not depending on family to support Darryl that you --

Lizzie: They didn't know how to support. They didn't know -- they couldn't support Darryl, because they didn't know enough about his condition to support him.

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