Dear Governor Rauner and Illinois General Assembly,
In 2014, my mother died. The loss of a mother is hard enough for anyone, but for an autistic adult who is dependent on others to survive, I can assure you that the loss is more difficult for the person to bear.
In fact, it is due to my faith in the Lord Jesus and loving family that I am still here today.
It has been a scary time for my only sibling, who had to take over a lot of my mother’s roles.
One of the things that made life easier was the Pioneer Center in Mc Henry, IL, which is closing its behavioral health services completely on May 12. This is entirely due to the budget cuts those in the General Assembly voted for and Gov. Rauner who approved.
What makes this cut so hard for me is that, due to my autism, I may not have a QUIET place I can rely on to go for therapy and medication management. I cannot go just anywhere. I’ve been going to behavioral health facilities for services since I was a teenager. I either couldn’t stay or had to have special accommodations made due to kids screaming in the hallway or in an adjoining therapy room. It is also hard to focus when teens and adults are crying or yelling in those same areas. I have sensory processing disorder and cannot think or function when overwhelmed. This has lead to meltdowns so bad that at another facility, they went into lock-down mode. Fortunately, this place never gave up on me until the county changed their laws to county only patients.
Since I am frequently on the downside of rules and regulations, I can tell you it was a blessing to find the Pioneer Center. I had been praying about it and came across their website and had peace about contacting them.
With my sibling’s help, we made the arrangements to come to Pioneer Center. The layout is (soon to be was) a blessing. Adult psychiatric services was on its own floor. The elevators were outside the lobby in an anti room. Meeting with my therapist was a positive experience. I needed case management. My therapist succeeded in finding what I couldn’t on my own.
I even had a little socialization. A client was warm and welcoming and we would meet and hang out in the lobby or the picnic area outside near the man-made lake and watch the geese.
The sheltered workshop and in-home help for severely disabled children has been forced to close. Residential homes have had to merge.
In November, 2015, I wrote a letter to you, Gov. Rauner, explaining some things I have mentioned here. I received a form letter about a month later that stated this premise “we all have to make sacrifices”.
Why is it vulnerable citizens who didn’t do anything to the state’s pension funds (along with veterans and college students) are the only ones who are feeling the sacrifices while the well-healed get to dictate them?
I know there are those in the Church who feel Social Security is wrong, that it is the Church’s job to provide charity. Perhaps as a Christian yourself, you hold that same view. However, until someone comes up with a better plan, I don’t see how ditching the program or any other social service program (Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP) with no fall-back plan will help.
I can hope that one bad move can be followed by a good one. Agencies like Pioneer Center and AID could use a hefty donation in kind from a well-heeled philanthropist. That would be a good first step.
I can’t leave Illinois. My family and one friend are here. My sibling’s job is here. There is no option to transfer.
I ask you, Governor Rauner, and the Illinois General Assembly to come up with an amendment to the cuts that took services from Illinois’ most vulnerable away.
Allison “autisticaplanet” Kramer
“Without guidance from God
law and order disappear,
but God blesses everyone
who obeys his Law.” ~Proverbs 29:18 Holy Bible, CEV