In February 2015 Dallas moved into a two bedroom apartment with a live-in mentor, where he began working to learn the independent living skills required to live a life in which he thrives as a fully integrated, contributing member of his community. Initially, Dallas required reminders to brush his teeth, take a shower, eat during meal times, etc. Now, two and a half years later, Dallas currently lives in a 4 bedroom Shepherd’s Way Home (Duplex) with two peer mentors and one other peer mentee. Dallas has learned to advocate for himself requesting assistance with various life skills and transportation from his mentors as needed, and otherwise leads a very independent, self fulfilling life, managing his own grocery shopping, meal preparation, hygiene, recreation/leisure time, and personal health and wellness. He has learned to schedule and coordinate his transportation needs on a weekly basis with the Wichita Transit Specialized curbside to curbside transportation service. Dallas has also learned to manage his own budget on a monthly basis, independently paying his rent, bills, phone bill, purchasing transportation passes, and allocating spending and savings money. In the fall of 2016, after saving up for an entire year, Dallas got to go on his very first Caribbean cruise.
With his love for vacuums, Dallas has maintained a job vacuuming at the Hotel at Old Town four days a week for the past two years. He has developed a large group of friends and independently coordinates and manages his social life each week, and in the Fall of 2017, was even a groomsman in his first wedding. In the spring of 2017 Dallas graduated from Chisholm Life Skills Center, as the graduate of the year, and was hired by Dillon’s as a grocery clerk, where he continues to work today.
In addition to the many challenges that Autism can present an individual with, perhaps the greatest of which being a heightened need for stability, structure, and routine, Dallas spent time in and out of three homeless shelters prior to February 2015. Yet, after spending any amount of time with Dallas, you’d never know the extent of the challenges he’s overcome to be the incredible young man he is today. Dallas exudes nothing but joy and gratitude as he carries out his daily routine. He continues to push the ceiling of his potential each and every day, leading a life in which he continues to grow and not only survives, but thrives!
Over his first two years receiving independent living mentorship, Dallas’s skills were measured using The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC). The ATEC was developed in 1999 to help researchers evaluate the effectiveness of various treatments for autistic children and adults and to help parents determine if their children benefit from a specific treatment. Parents and teachers use the ATEC to monitor or track how well their children are progressing over time. https://www.autism.com/ind_atec_report
Dallas's progressive scores for this Assessment are as follows (the lower the score the more independent an individual presents):