“My son Ethan is 14, and my daughter Erin is 9. Ethan was diagnosed with Autism when he was three-years-old. He is mostly nonverbal and will never be independent.
Before Ethan’s diagnosis I knew nothing about Autism. It was a shock to begin to realize all of the ways that this condition would affect our lives. I was sad that Ethan would not get to have a typical school experience, and nervous about our family losing its privacy, since our therapists and specialists would come to the house daily to work with Ethan. My husband’s job requires a lot of travel, which makes parenting doubly hard, since I am often caring for Ethan by myself. As our daughter Erin began to grow up, I noticed how additionally taxing it was to balance the needs of my typical child with the demands of my child with special needs.
It required so much effort to schedule a caretaker for Ethan, and was very expensive, which meant that the times we spent together as husband and wife were few and far between—and rarely for more than just a couple of hours. However, since Jill’s House opened in October 2010, we have been able to experience full weekend respites. When Ethan is at Jill’s House, we know that he is in good hands. The staff works hard to gather detailed information about Ethan before he visits and uses the information to give him quality care during the weekends he spends there. As for Ethan, he loves getting to spend time in the pool, and enjoys having the opportunity to stay overnight! Every time Ethan spends a weekend at Jill’s House, he comes home and says, “More Jill’s House.” It gives us such peace of mind to know that he loves spending time there. It is a comfortable place, and provides many opportunities for Ethan to spend time with other kids.
I’ve been able to use the weekends that Ethan is at Jill’s House to do things I would not have been able to do otherwise. Last year, I ran the 10k in the Marine Corps Marathon for the Jill’s House team. On Ethan’s next Jill’s House visit, my daughter and I will be flying out to San Francisco to join my husband while he is there on business. We are thankful for Jill’s House!” –Lanneth Lee