Sunday, March 23, 2008

Southbury Connecticut _Southbury Training School

A little about Southbury Training School:

The Department of Developmental Services' (DDS) Southbury Training School is situated on over 1600 acres in Southbury, Connecticut. The school was built in the late 1930’s as home for individuals with mental retardation.

Today, over 515 people reside in small cottages and apartments on the rural campus. Sixty percent of the Southbury residents have lived here for the past thirty years and most have chosen to continue to call Southbury home.

The sprawling campus is comprised of 125 red brick buildings. The school independently operates its own power, heat, sewage treatment and water plants. It has a separate Southbury Training School Fire and Ambulance department as well as a Connecticut State Police Resident Trooper. An extensive array of services such as building maintenance, transportation and its own Medical Health Care unit help to provide the needed services to the residents.

The individuals who live here participate in a variety of day programs on and off campus. They have opportunities to work in individual and group supported employment at local business, job skills training, sheltered employment and various community experience and leisure programs. The school has many leisure amenities including an outdoor pool and a pavilion for dances, parties and concerts.

The state run residential facility employs over 1500 full time, part time and consulting staff. The staff provides supports and services in a broad array of areas including: medical, vocational, residential, and therapeutic and facility support services.

Most adults with mental retardation prefer to live in a community setting, at home with their parents, in a group home, in Supported Living or independently. Persons with severe or profound retardation, especially those with additional problems with speech, ambulation, seizures, or difficult behaviors prefer to live in congregate settings, where specially trained staff provide all the services they need in the place where they live. More than 75% of the Southbury Training School (STS) residents function at the developmental level of under 5 years old. More than half of them function at a level under 2 years. They are very different from persons who can work in the supermarket.

We drove to Southbury Training school in Southbury CT. to see Raymond my cousin, who is mentally challenged. This has been a bit of a puzzle all my life, as I heard about Raymond from my mother when I first started asking questions on genealogy.

The story was that his mother was drunk when Raymond was a baby, and she let go of the stroller, when she was coming down the stairs. That is why he was mentally challenged said my mother.

I always felt sorry for him, and I had hoped one day to be able to visit him, and find out the real story.
Raymond Crowe today, also one of his caregivers pictured with him. This picture was taken September 2007. He is 67 years old. Raymond has spent the last 55 years there.

Raymond Crowe and me (Pam Walton)2007. Very emotional experience for me, but so happy to finally see Raymond.

Raymond is very sweet, but could not talk. The caregivers used sign language to communicate with him.

The case manager and staff, Raymond, Edie and I had a cup of coffee in Raymond's kitchen. Raymond love all the ground coffee I bought hi. That is one of his favorite things, coffee.
I found out that Dunkin Donuts is a very popular place back east. Here it is Starbucks, so was able to buy the ground coffee from Duncan Donuts. I must say I like the coffee better then Starbucks.

I found out after getting to know the staff, and one of the staff members looking at the old records that Raymond was a blue baby. He did not receive enough oxygen when he was born. He said that the hospital said there would be no bill. He thinks that it was the hospitals fault why Raymond is like he is. Back then they did not sue as much and also they must have been devastated as they had lost a daughter prior to Raymond of Spinal Meningitis. I am so glad that on my trip to New England I finally saw my cousin. Now I know the real truth. I miss him, and wish he lived closer.

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