April 4, 2016

I just read your resume. You are to be commended for all you have done in your career looking under the rocks. I am the mother of a fifty year old autistic daughter whom I love beyond all reason. She does not talk, nor is she toilet trained. On the activities of daily living chart she is estimated at a 1.3. I cared for her until she was 9 when the Francis Haddon Morgan institution accepted her. They saved her life basically by teaching her how to use a spoon although this took three years and countless man hours. Due to the age limit there she has lived at Lakeland Village for the past 35 years. I feel immensely blessed to have such a place. I take my daughter home for overnight almost every two weeks. I see how residents are treated by amazing staff. The residents are not being held prisoner due to lack of funding. It is more like the parents and guardians are terrified that articles like yours will spoil everything that we hold very precious. My daughter is so vulnerable that if her bedroom is freezing she cannot pull the covers over herself. I could never have peace of mind having her in a group home. She could never tell me of poor treatment because she doesn't talk. Lakeland has many more eyes to watch over her and they have a long track record of guarding her and I think even loving her. As to the advantages of "community life" I sometimes wonder if Anne knows me! She is severely autistic after all. You are obviously a successful reporter so I would ask you to shine a wider beam under this rock. Thank you for reading this long missive.

Mary Beth Thompson