Adult Care in Oklahoma - The Client

by Ron Jackson, Staff Reporter Published: November 27, 2009
Advertisement
;

photo -  Michael Avila pushes his way into a pat on the back from his teacher Leonilda Jones during a day at Metropolitan Day Center in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, August 26, 2009. Michael, 38, has cerebral palsy. He doesn't speak, explains Jones,
Michael Avila pushes his way into a pat on the back from his teacher Leonilda Jones during a day at Metropolitan Day Center in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, August 26, 2009. Michael, 38, has cerebral palsy. He doesn't speak, explains Jones, "laughing is his way of communicating, and hugs. He loves to hug." By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
It was all too much. Fortunately, someone recommended the center, and Michael has been going ever since. Now he can’t wait to go. He gets angry if the bus is late.

“Michael loves going to the center, and it’s nice because it gives me a break. If he weren’t able to go to the center, I think I’d have a nervous breakdown.” Weekends are hell for Woods.

Michael often paces the house. He drifts in and out of quiet moments, and can usually be found watching an animated children’s movie or playing with his bag of miniature cars.

Then there are the tantrums.

“Suddenly, for no reason at all, he’ll throw a fit,” Woods said. “Sometimes, he’ll even punch like a child. He and his sister don’t get along at all, and it’s especially hard because Michael can’t talk. He has no way of communicating his feelings.

“He’s a precious kid. He just requires a lot of attention.”

Metropolitan gives Michael the social life he so craves. And although he is unable to speak, Michael communicates with other center clients in a language of his own. If he wants a caregiver or friend to know he is happy to see them, he will gently lay his head against their shoulder.

Michael is generous in his affection.

“Michael has a best friend here in Freddie, even though Freddie doesn’t talk, either,” Jones noted. “Every day Michael plays with Freddie. He’ll set a crayon down in front of Freddie, and Freddie will draw with that crayon. He’ll then give Freddie another crayon, and Freddie will use that one next. “Even though they don’t talk, they have their own system.”

Jones is moved by the social interaction engaged in by Michael and his friends, who partake in activities ranging from arts and crafts to local field trips. Michael soaks in every moment.

“I think he’s very lonely,” Jones said. “Look how he responds whenever someone gives him the attention he deserves. He’s so loving and affectionate. If he were forced to leave here, it would be devastating.”



back to aging in oklahoma
Back to Adult Care in Oklahoma

Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    10 Most Popular Wedding 'First Dance' Songs
  2. 2
    Psychologists Studied the Most Uptight States in America, and Found a Striking Pattern
  3. 3
    Facebook Post Saves Drowning Teen
  4. 4
    Saturday's front page of the New York Times sports section is simple: LeBron James and transactions
  5. 5
    The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about "bicycle face"
+ show more