CSI was asked to support Erik six years ago, and he moved to a CSI-supported home with three other young men. Erik, a young man with multiple diagnoses, had a long history of
physical aggression. His aggression would often follow unsuccessful efforts to communicate his thoughts and feelings verbally.
Staff quickly recognized Erik’s strengths and likes, using both as input to create his Individual Support Plan. Over the past six years, Erik’s life has improved dramatically. He is one of the outstanding players in Special Olympics basketball and participates in other team and individual sports (golf, bowling) as well. He is a regular volunteer with Food and Friends (Washington, DC); vacations annually in Virginia Beach; and remains close to his Mom and step-Dad, visiting them periodically in West Virginia.
Within the past year, Erik’s love of music has found a place in his life as well. Erik has long liked to sing, while in the shower, riding in a car, and relaxing at home. But there was a bigger opportunity, because four staff (Robert, Damien, Antwoine, and James) who have supported Erik for several years, are bandsmen. Initially, Erik would sing informally with Robert and Damien strumming their guitars. In time, Erik and his band went further, picking a Waylon Jennings song “Good Ol’ Boys” to practice and eventually record. Erik’s performance can be viewed at www.myspace.com/eriksings. Included here is a video of Erik playing drums, and his housemate Scot on the saxophone:Erik’s performance can be viewed at www.myspace.com/eriksings. Included here is a video of Erik playing drums, and his housemate Scot on the saxophone:
Damien has since left CSI, but three bandsmen (guitar, sax, and percussion) remain in Erik’s circle of support, and currently the four are rehearsing a new song. We will share a new video with Erik’s fans soon on MySpace.
Erik is making still more plans. By early 2009, Erik wants to live in his own apartment. His family is supportive, sharing Erik’s dream for still further independence. Erik has agreed that staff will provide daytime drop-by supports, and Erik is seeking a housemate who will provide, in exchange for rent, overnight and weekend companionship.