I met Molly Wells in the centre region senior center in a morning, I sat next to her and randomly started talking to her, I mentioned it was October the month of disability, she responded that she has a daughter with disability.
Her daughter, Erica Wells, who is now 51 years old and lives in a group home. Erica is diagnosed with intellectual disability, Schizophrenia, Diabetes and many other health issues. “She takes a lot of drugs everyday,” Molly Said “So much that makes her dizzy and sleepy.”
Erica has been working at the center for five years now, the Skills of Central PA is designed for teaching and creating jobs for the people with disabilities. The skills center reaches out to the companies and get jobs for the members to do, such as assembling bottles and boxes. Most of them are paid, but there are not so many opportunities for each everyone, so sometime the members are just learning the skills to work.
For Erica, working is a great relief for her to escape from her pains. Since 19-year old, after a terrible tragedy of hers, Erica started to hearing this “voice” all the time. The “voice” has been saying nasty things to her, such as “you don't deserve to live” or “you are disgusting”. On the good day, Erica don’t hear this voice as much; but on a bad day, she will be constantly hearing the voice, then she has to drink a lot of coffee to make herself alert. Therefore, while she is working, she can concentrate on the works and put her mind into it, that is the time the voice would gives her a break.
Molly and her husband, Walter Wells, are doing their best to help Erica. They are both in the choral at Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church located at downtown State College, Pa. So they usually takes Erica to the church every Sunday morning, and have lunch with her, then take her to shopping. They meet at least once a week, some time twice, at the group home Erica gets the professional care she need.
When Molly talks about the future, she tends to get emotional about it. Since she is 75 years old and her husband is about the same age, they are worrying about that down the road what would happen, who is going to take care of Erica? So they are hoping for the best, wishing there would be new medicines come along and cure her.
There are more than thousands of families in the US has children with disabilities, the story of Molly and Erica is just one of them, while wishing them the best, is there anything we can do to make the situation better?
Here is a Audio piece of Molly talking about Erica's Childhood. As a kid, Erica showed some differnces at a early age, such as her absence of self concept. But also, she has amazingly good memory and art talents.