WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Cassandra Sines is demanding her cries be heard and her questions answered. Her son, Caleb, has developmental disabilities and behavioral issues. Since July 2022, she has searched for a place for her son to live. She says time to get him adequate help is running out
“We have tried to get a placement at the state hospital in Parsons, and that was denied, “said Sines. “We appealed. Our appeal was denied, and we don’t know where he is going to live o.
Caleb is a residential high school student at Heartspring, a private school for children with autism and developmental disabilities.
“He is 21, so he will be aging out of Heartpring,” said Sines.
To understand Cassandra’s journey, you have to know Caleb’s story.
“Caleb was diagnosed at seven with childhood disintegrative disorder, which is a rare form of autism. It was later changed to autism level two.”
Cassandra says Caleb has a history of behavioral issues.
“He gets upset very quickly; my husband and I always described it as somebody flipped a light switch on, and his aggression just comes out,” said Sines.
It’s the possible outcome from that aggression most concerning to Cassandra.
“Caleb is a 21-year-old Black male, and so my fear is that if he is in a behavior and confronted by police, something drastic is going to happen, and I can’t shake that fear,” said Sines. “But that is my fear, and I don’t want to put the police in that position, and I don’t want to put my son in that position.”
She’s worked with the Sedgwick County Community Developmental Disability Organization and is waiting on a decision from the state regarding placement for her son.
“We’ve been waiting and seeing all this time, and now, we are in a time crunch,” said Sines.
“Each case is unique and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and handled to serve that individual’s needs best…When a parent or guardian is made aware their child will need services beyond what they are currently receiving, they should begin work closely with their community developmental disabilities organization to determine the level of necessary services.”
Cassandra’s work goes beyond her specific situation.
“That is why I am speaking out, and that is why I am doing everything I can to get the state’s attention that this needs to be fixed. They need to fix this gap in the IDD system and help our families,” said Sines.
Help, she hopes to receive soon.
“I have worked so hard. My husband and I have since his birth mom put him in my arms to protect him, and I just am going to continue to do that until I no longer can. He’s a joy, and it breaks my heart that he struggles so much,” said Sines.