‘A Complete Turnaround’ for Matt
At Mosaic, we often hear heart-wrenching stories about families and the challenges they’ve faced raising a child with disabilities. For Roslynn (Ros) and Bill Simpson, those challenges include having to get police involved and watch their 8-year-old son, Matthew, get handcuffed. Additionally, they’ve struggled with repeatedly finding new services for him because his violent behaviors forced him to leave one place after another.
But Matthew’s story has a happy ending, Ros said, because after he moved into a Mosaic home just over three years ago, everything changed. Ros called it “a complete turnaround” for her son. This is the type of story I love to hear, and as a supporter of Mosaic, I think you’ll enjoy reading it as well.
Ros and Bill knew by the time Matthew was 14 months old that he wasn’t behaving like a child that age should. Already then, he was banging his head against hard objects and repeating over and over behaviors that would stimulate him.
At 16 months, they received a diagnosis for Matthew of autism. Over the years since then, there have been other, additional diagnoses as Matthew’s behaviors changed as he grew.
Dedicated parents, Ros and Bill, along with Matthew’s older sister Kristyn, moved to a different state when he was a young child so he could get into services not available to him where they had been living.
But the challenges didn’t end. Ros and Bill can recite the litany of psychiatric hospitals and residential programs Matthew cycled through over the years. That revolving door of places asking him to leave had begun when he was a toddler in daycare and started hurting other children.
“Matt was very physically aggressive, with a history of elopement and property destruction,” Ros said. “These behaviors increased when routine demands were placed on him, for example chores, going to school and doing homework.”
Early on, Ros realized she needed to give up her career as a nurse because of the numerous phone calls about Matthew’s behaviors and subsequent meetings to determine the next steps.
“I feel like he has had a rotten life,” Ros said. “So many group homes, so many different people, so many psych hospitals.”
Ros said that raising Matthew was “emotionally, physically and mentally draining” for the whole family.
“When you have a boy … you have high hopes,” she said, thinking about the future they imagined with Matthew playing sports and having friends. “Then, when everything is crushed, it crushes your heart also.”
But the turnaround began when Matthew came to Mosaic.
“Now we feel good where he is,” Ros said. “We know they love him and take care of him.”
“Since he’s been at Mosaic, his behaviors have greatly decreased,” she said. “He is no longer a flight risk, he complies with structured programs, goes to a day program every day, finding interests that are positive in his life.”
One of those positive interests is safety. If you meet Matt, he’ll be sure to let you know where the emergency exits are – just in case. He often wears a yellow safety vest as well.
“Matt assists with public safety messages, fire drills and other safety programs,” Ros said. “He has decorated his bedroom with bright yellow paint and safety posters all over the place, the way he likes it.”
“He isn’t forced to participate in things he is not interested in. We feel very comfortable with the love and structure Matt is given at Mosaic.”
They feel so comfortable that about two years ago they were able to move out of state and retire.
Ros and Bill know the staff at Mosaic “loves” their son. One manager gave Matthew his phone number so he can call anytime he starts feeling agitated. Another is able to talk to Matthew “like a mother,” and he listens.
But most of all, they recognize what Mosaic gives Matthew is something none of the other places he lived or spent time did – a structured routine.
“Mosaic knows how to de-escalate Matthew,” she said. “When he is agitated, they show great patience and compassion. Mosaic maintains a structured program with daily hygiene, medication administration, breakfast, lunch, a snack, dinner and bedtime. He knows what to expect at what time.”
At Mosaic, we say our purpose is “to love and serve.” Matthew’s story is one example of that coming to life. His story, and the many others like this, show the difference Mosaic makes in people’s lives.
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