After reading the Shock family’s story and how they have handled life with such grace and how they have counted their blessings through adversity I couldn’t wait to share….
We all know that raising a child is an incredible responsibility, but think of the added stress that comes with raising a child with special needs. For families with children with mild special needs (neurological and physical), once their child is 18 they will be able take care of themselves and leave home. But for some families, that is not the case. This is especially true for Kaitlyn Shock’s Family.
Kaitlyn Shock was born on April 28, 1994, at ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital to Cris and Josh Shock. After a difficult delivery, Kaitlyn was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Toledo Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. After a week in the hospital, Kaitlyn was sent home.
Kaitlyn’s development as a baby was fairly normal. It wasn’t until she was 11 months old that Cris and Josh had some concerns. It was at this time that she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a common misdiagnosis of babies who have Rett Syndrome.
Eventually, Kaitlyn lost functional use of her hands and was placed in her first wheelchair at the age 5. It was at this point that the family made the difficult decision to have Cris become a full-time caregiver for Kaitlyn and leave her job.
The official diagnosis of Rett Sydrome came in 2000 when Kaitlyn was 6. The Rett diagnosis was devastating at first because there was very little known about it at that time. It was at this point that the Shock family began the journey of hundreds of tests, many surgeries and sleepless nights next to her hospital bed.
After having two more children, Jaiden and Ava, the Shock’s remain strong in their family and their faith. They feel blessed through this journey to be part of a community of families who were feeling the same joys and sorrows that they were feeling.
Kaitlyn turned 18 years old on April 28 and will graduate from Defiance High School on June 3, 2012. She continues to be a ray of hope and always smiles no matter what adversity she faces.
It was this young girl’s story that led to the creation of Kaitlyn’s Cottage, a daytime and overnight respite options for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities between the ages of 16 – 40, and their parents and caregivers.
Dan and Sharon Farrell, grandparents of Kaitlyn and parents to Cris Shock, provided a challenge donation in June 2011, agreeing to match the first $1 million raised in a $2.8 million campaign for the construction of Kaitlyn’s Cottage and the implementation of an endowment to fund operations and scholarships. To date, more than $2 million has been raised.
A year after the announcement, Kaitlyn’s Cottage will open for daytime respite on Tues., June 26 and on Fri., June 29 for overnight respite.
Frequently Asked Questions….
What is Kaitlyn’s Cottage?
Kaitlyn’s Cottage is a safe and nurturing country cottage getaway designed to provide short-term and overnight respite for young adults with special needs and their families. And although located on the hospital campus, Kaitlyn’s Cottage is separate from the hospital and will not provide medical treatment.
The services at Kaitlyn’s Cottage are for teenagers and young adults between ages 16 and 40 with intellectual and physical disabilities, and their families.
There is an intake process for all individuals coming to Kaitlyn’s Cottage for day respite service or for a scheduled overnight respite stay. As the experts in providing care to their loved one, the caregiver’s guidance allows us to plan in advance for appropriate staffing, programming and services to meet the needs of their loved ones.
An important step in the intake process is getting the caregiver’s permission to contact their physician to verify that the guest is medically appropriate for respite services, verify medications and whether there are any special dietary needs. For these important reasons will not accept walk-ins. Anyone interested in respite service must first go through intake.
Our goal is to match an individual’s interests and abilities with the appropriate programming at Kaitlyn’s Cottage. Guests who participate in day programming will experience everything from sing-a-longs, art projects, and games. For scheduled overnight respite, we have four private bedrooms and can accommodate up to four overnight guests at one time.
We will also hold family and caregiver support group sessions, informational meetings that will include speakers, and are developing a house library with a multitude of resource information and self-help books as well as fun books, puzzles and games for the whole family.
Kaitlyn’s Cottage is currently advertising for a program manager and respite care workers. All staff members will undergo mandatory preparation training which includes: CPR, first aide and other age and population specific competencies. They will also be subject to rigorous state and national background checks.
Kaitlyn’s Cottage will rely on volunteers. Our goal is to match a volunteer’s interest and experience with available opportunities. All volunteers will undergo mandatory training and state and national background checks. For more volunteer information, please contact Gina Sheffel at 419-783-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The grand opening for the community is being held on Sat., June 16. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony, refreshments, and tours of Kaitlyn’s Cottage. The DRH employee open house will be held on Fri., June 15. The facility itself will be open for summer respite starting Tues, June 26. Day respite hours during the summer will be on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 2:30 – 7:30 p.m. Scheduled overnight respite stays will be offered twice a month and will start on Fri., June 29. Check-in will be 7 p.m. Friday night and check-out time 4 p.m. on Saturday.