Missy and Thomas “Mac” Olive
Missy Olive is the oldest of five children and has had guardianship of her 29-year-old brother, Thomas “Mac” Olive, since he was 18. “I thought I knew everything and I wanted to give my parents a break,” Missy said. She has a doctoral degree in educational psychology and works at The University of Texas at Austin. Mac is diagnosed with autism, profound mental retardation, mild cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. They moved to Texas in 2000, and Mac has been on the waiting list since then. He is currently number 2,100.
Missy and Mac previously lived in Nevada and Tennessee where Mac received personal attendant and respite care hours. They were able to live together while Missy worked and went to school. When she was offered a job at UT-Austin, they moved to Texas and were surprised that Mac had to be placed on a waiting list. Since they lost attendant care, Missy placed Mac into a community ICF/MR group home where he lived for six years.
Missy reports that Mac suffered numerous injuries while under the care of the group home, and she was often not notified of these incidents. Missy attributes the problems to the high rate of staff turnover. She filed numerous complaints and says nothing was done. The provider forced Mac out of the community ICF/MR, and there was no place for him to go.
With no community support and no other choice, Mac had to move to Austin State School or else he would have no services at all and Missy would have to quit her job. “We could have remained as a family if we had waiver services,” she stated.
“I want (legislators) to know that if I was given just 25 percent of the cost of placing Mac in a State School, I could have him at home living with me,” Missy disclosed. “Our state has not only caused Mac physical harm due to the multiple injuries he suffered while living in an ICF/MR, they forced Mac to move out of my house. There is no family choice.”
Her biggest challenge, she said is the stress she feels when Mac cries every time she takes him back to the State School after spending time at her home. “I never know if they’re going to give him his meds properly, if he going to the bathroom or if they will know if he is hurt.”
Missy recognizes that “There is a convenience to state schools because doctors are right there, they can do blood draws, etc., but,” she said, “I am not sure if we should be using tax dollars for convenience.”