Submitted by Madeline Hunsader, Judy Lor, and Samantha Stroozas (students in the “Digital Content Writing, Management, and Experience Design” Spring 2019 class at UW-La Crosse)
Karen Myrah struggled to balance daily life with caring for her son, Cavin, who has autism.
Both faced obstacles and hard decision-making that many others in similar situations may relate to.
Chileda has impacted Karen and Cavin in many ways, but the overall sense of harmony Karen has received from working with the organization has been the most rewarding experience in her life. Karen described Chileda’s mission as, “adapting to what students need and focusing on the future.”
Karen felt like there was need for a change after difficult life events occurred at the Myrah household. Karen explained that tensions at home continued to rise, creating a stressful environment for the whole family, especially for Cavin. His stress intensified because of his difficulty expressing feelings in healthy ways.
The situation progressed to the point where it was potentially unsafe for the family to be around Cavin. After researching and trying multiple ways to care for her son by herself, Karen realized that she needed more help than she was able to offer. Since Cavin was already a day student at Chileda, Karen decided to put Cavin into the residential program.
This change was a hard decision for Karen to make.
As a parent, one may think they know their child’s needs the best; however, Karen explained that enrolling Cavin into Chileda has shown her, “this is what he needed at that time to make him be more independent. They focused on Cavin and his needs, whereas at home it was more the family that I was focused on.”
Karen explained Chileda offers more than just “services.” She emphasized “the students, the autism, or the behavior, or whatever, they’re so individualized. … They’re flexible, and they watch out for every single student.”
“They’ve taken a bad situation and just calmed him and gave him what he needed.”Karen Myrah
Chileda works to create the most comfortable environment for student success. Karen explained Chileda has helped map out where students go next, and how they will live after Chileda.
During a residential stay, Chileda encourages students to grow and develop by promoting interaction between their peers and the staff. The day school program provides a safe and therapeutic environment that addresses individualized education goals. Both programs offer high-quality educational programs with an emphasis on helping children learn the social and behavioral skills necessary to help them become more independent.
Cavin participated in Chileda’s day program for almost two years before participating in the residential program. Karen said, “as a residential student, they got him back to the way that he used to be.” Chileda encouraged Cavin to be healthy and kept him moving.
If you would like to learn more about how Chileda can help you, call us at (608) 782-6480 or contact us online at: http://chileda.org/contact/.