Karen and Lathom Yaemon
While the Yaemons waited for Medicaid waiver services for seven years, they sought help from the school districts and private pay facilities around the state. Their 17-year-old son, Lathom, has been diagnosed with autism, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), speech impairment and mild mental retardation. He has severe behavior problems which include biting, kicking, choking and destroying property. When Lathom was home, the family was in a constant state of crisis.
Lathom attended school in Dripping Springs, but as he got older, his behavior worsened. He was striking out 20-50 times a day, and the school staff were restraining him and putting him in time out where he spent most of his day. Since the school was unable to assist with his behavioral episodes, they removed him and placed him in a residential facility in 2002. But, they had to bring him home after nine days because they could no longer afford the $500 a day cost.
Lathom was enrolled in a private Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) school in Houston, and Karen lived with her mom to provide oversight of Lathom’s care. She was away from her husband and daughter who remained in Dripping Springs to tend to their family business. The lack of Medicaid services forced the family to live apart and cost them thousands of dollars.
After exhausting their financial resources and after seven years on the waiting list, Lathom reached number 657 on the HCS list. The family was faced with no other option but to place him in Austin State School. The lack of community Medicaid services was a significant gap, and there wasn’t any resource available between the family and a State School placement.
The Yaemons worked with the team at the State School to develop a plan for getting Lathom’s medications and behavior more manageable. After living at Austin State School for one year, Lathom received a community slot. He got an HCS placement and is now living in a Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) group home in Austin.