Sally was born developmentally disabled in Louisiana. When she was 5, her family wanted the best for her, and placed her in a schooling institution that could meet her special needs. She lived in a dorm until she graduated at the age of 20, and only saw her mother every 3 weeks. Since her father was a mean alcoholic, Sally didn’t see him often.
Life was pretty good in the dorms. She had friends and felt safe. After graduation, her family couldn’t find a suitable housing situation for her, so she moved in with her older sister and her husband in Ohio. For two years, Sally helped dress and ready her nieces for school, but her family couldn’t find the necessary resources to help her in Ohio either. Since her brother worked for OHSU’s Challenge Center, and new there were resources in Oregon, Sally moved to Portland. She lived with her brother for two years, and following a visit from her mom, Sally finally found herself in her own apartment in a community focused on helping people with her same disability. Though she was living independently, the staff of the community visited her regularly, helped her cook meals, and did all manner of things for her. This was an entirely new experience for Sally. She was in her early to mid- twenties, and living on her own for the first time. It was also the first time she relied on people other than family for help meeting her needs.