NORMAN, Okla. —
Last year, the total budget for services provided by waivers was $278 million, of which 36 percent came from the state and the rest from the federal government, according to DHS.
“There’s not money there to provide the services,” Lee said. “We work as many as we can, given what we have.”
Life on the List
Duane and Danielle Howell of Yukon have four children. The three oldest boys – 11-year-old triplets named Jacob, Keegan and Harrison – have been diagnosed with autism spectrum and qualify as intellectually disabled. They also have disabilities ranging from spina bifida to apraxia.
The family has dealt with regular trips to school to address issues that arise, hospital and therapy visits and efforts to qualify for SoonerCare, the state’s Medicaid program, to pay for treatments. As a result, Duane had to quit his job as a homebuilder to be a full-time caregiver for his children.
“She jokes about me being a domestic diva,” Duane says, turning to his wife, a teacher, “but we’re not above anything when it comes to their well-being.”
Duane said he would like to return to work, but can’t until daytime services for his children are in place.
Both parents say there will come a day when the boys will need skills their parents can’t provide, such as job and independence-skills training.
“They’re human beings,” Danielle said. “They want to have a reason to get out of bed every day other than to just sit in front of the TV all day.”
But Taylor, Felt and the Howells said just because families are on a waiting list does not mean they are sitting idle. They are working to provide what services they can to their children, out of love and the reality of the waiting list.