Parents of young adults with special needs urge officials to reopen adult day programs

Parents of young adults with special needs continue to wait for specific guidance on the reopening of adult day programs

News 12 Staff

Aug 15, 2020, 2:42 AM

Updated 1,341 days ago

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Parents of young adults with special needs continue to wait for specific guidance on the reopening of adult day programs
Marc and Vicki Eisen have a 22-year-old son who has autism. Their son Jake’s adult day program shut down in March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They say that months without a routine is taking its toll. They say that Jake has become anxious, obsessive compulsive and even wakes up in the middle of the night to demand breakfast.
“He totally lost his ability to sense how the day goes. That’s what we first noticed. He also had complete tantrums,” Vicki says.
The couple says that they have a tight-knit community of special needs parents and they say that they are all going through this.
They are urging Gov. Phil Murphy to release a plan for the reopening of adult day programs. They say that the lack of guidance is becoming difficult.
“If they can’t go full time, that’s fine. Maybe two or three days a week. But to give them nothing…I’m on unemployment. I can’t go back to work because I have to be with him,” Vicki says.
Tom Hester of the Department of Human Service says in part, “…the Department has convened a work group of stakeholders focused on how to reopen day programs safely for individuals, families and providers, and its recommendations are forthcoming.”
But the Eisens say that this is not enough.
“Just dialogue. That’s what we’re looking for,” says March. “Just speak out and tell somebody what you’re doing. But there’s silence and you can’t do that.”
They say that more communication will go a long way toward giving those in the special needs community some hope.


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