carolineCaroline joined the CSI family in 2001. Caroline has Prader-Willi Syndrome and, as a result, has Type II diabetes as well. When she joined CSI, she weighed 185 lbs which, given the
very short stature of persons with her disability, placed her at risk. Through diet and exercise, Caroline achieved a goal weight of 105 pounds, which she has sustained now for over 2 years. Today, her diabetes is under control without medication.

In early 2005, Caroline began Karate classes, having researched class options through the Fairfax County Parks and Recreation catalogue. Shortly after beginning the class, she received a white belt. As time passed, her memory and social skills were enhanced on learning many different forms, kicks, punches, and stances according to belt level. In order, she has earned a gold (Fall 2005), green (Spring 2006), purple (early 2008) and most recently blue (July 2008) belt. In addition to continuing her weekly classes, Caroline also now spars monthly, demonstrating her competitive skills. Without question, Caroline’s sustained interest in Karate has lead to growth in her self confidence and independence.

In the past few months, Caroline has achieved another major life change, having left a four-person group home in which she had lived for 7 years, to live by choice in a 3-bedroom condominium in Alexandria, VA with a friend. They share their new home with a non-disabled housemate whose only role is to provide safety and assurance in the overnight hours. CSI staff continue to otherwise provide supports for the young women. Since moving, Caroline has learned to ride Fast Tran without staff assistance and now is practicing skills needed to spend at least brief periods alone in her home.

Shortly after moving to the condominium, Caroline found a welcoming church in the immediate area, one of whose members now invites and accompanies Caroline to church each Sunday. The volunteer has been coached by CSI staff to have concerns for Caroline’s eating disorder. This summer Caroline will also join the condo community’s pool, hoping that in doing so she will meet more of her new neighbors.

Next, Caroline desires to have a dog; serious planning for his/her arrival is underway. But Caroline’s ultimate goal is to reach the highest level of mastery at the black belt level. We are all looking forward to that day and share her confidence that it will come.