Four years ago, Raymond began working with Legal Aid of WV’s Behavioral Health Advocacy (BHA) program for help obtaining special education services. Raymond’s BHA advocate allowed him to get an education plan that worked for his multiple diagnoses, including autism and schizophrenia. Because of their advocacy, Raymond recently graduated high school and got a job at a farm supply store—a particular field of interest since he grew up raising livestock as part of his local 4-H club.
Since the job is part-time and doesn’t include benefits, Raymond’s advocate helped him apply for SSI, healthcare, and I/DD Wavier services. Through the outpatient psychiatry services his advocate helped him get, a geneticist worked to find the best medication to treat his schizophrenia. The excellent team has also continued to provide Raymond with support through psychotherapy and medication management to ensure his treatment is adjusted to meet his needs where necessary.
Before coming to the BHA program, Raymond’s mom was having a hard time raising an adolescent with a dual diagnosis by herself. This meant Raymond had persevered through psychiatric hospitalizations and experiencing hallucinations and delusions at school before being properly diagnosed.
If it were not for the teamwork of Raymond and his mom, his psychiatry, genetics, neurology, and pediatrics teams, his positive behavior support professional with WV Autism Training Center, and Legal Aid’s BHA advocate, Raymond would most likely be living in another state in a facility that could accommodate his needs. Instead, he is a high school graduate with an exciting new job, access to healthcare, and the ability to be with his mother.