I have been meaning to write about this forever but am just now getting around to it. When we were going through the process of applying for a Personal Care Aide (PCA) I looked and looked for personal experiences with PCAs of other families of special needs kiddos but couldn't find any so my hope is that if anyone else out there is going through the process of approval or thinking about applying they might find this post and find it helpful.
For over a year before I finally applied, people were urging us to apply for a PCA for Noah. I felt it wasn't necessary at that time until his surgery was coming up. I decided to go ahead and apply back in April of 2010 and finally in Spetember Noah was approved to get 15 hours of a PCA in our home.
I'm not gonna lie - it hasn't been exactly easy or comfortable for me, especially in the beginning. I had a very hard time letting them do anything. At first, I let them do more housekeeping type duties (sweep Noah's room, change his bed, etc) and then I slowly worked up to letting them do more with Noah. But I just felt bad/guilty for needing them. I felt like I shouldn't need them here, like other mothers don't need help and it was bad that I did but then I quickly had to remind myself other mothers don't have 14 year olds who don't walk, talk, and who need as much assistance with basic daily things like dressing and eating as Noah does. It's not a "normal" situation and I have to realize and recognize that to be ok with it.
Over time though, I have gotten more comfortable with it. So much to the point that I now feel comfortable leaving Noah alone with them while J and I run to eat or run to the store or something like that.
We have a PCA come in the evening, right around the time Noah usually wakes up from a nap. She is able to help him with eating while I cook dinner, read to him, give him a bath, etc. We don't have her here every day but it is nice at times on the day she is here to not have to try and juggle dealing with Noah while I cook dinner or get his bath in before J has to leave for work.
We did initially have a couple of issues with some of the PCAs they were sending. But the one we have currently (aside from her issues of being late, which we are working on) seems pretty good with Noah. She was actually sent as a fill in but when I learned she had experience with kids with CP, I specifically requested her.
So, I'll keep y'all updated on how it is going.