Casselberry, Florida – Our son oldest son Valentino is 9 years old. He is diagnosed with Autism, Apraxia of Speech, EoE, ADHD and history of seizures. He currently takes 4 daily medications. After years of continuing therapy intervention he is fully integrated in the school and the community. As family, we want for his future assure in case he needs it the access of the best care from Direct Support Workers. Which will support our son in Adulthood to be more successful, reach his goals and be integrated into the community.
As today in Florida, DSW wages have not been substantially increased for years. Making an negative effect causing high turn over and shortage of DSW affecting the services of many individuals and their families. As a family with a child with developmental disabilities, we want to advocate for the families that are currently suffering the lack of access and best care of DSW. This labor require patience, empathy and understanding the individual unique needs.
This story is not only for our family needs. It is to represent the future and to unite with the families with adults that needs the service in the present.
I am Nicole Perez the mother of Valentino, current student of the Florida Partners in the Policymaking and creator of the hispanic support group Mi Rayito Azul.
Policymakers need to prioritize this issue for the benefit of the individuals with disabilities, their families, the direct support workers and the state of Florida.