Schippel House opened 8 years ago in November and they are marking the anniversary in a very bittersweet way, saying good-bye to their very first client.
Mike arrived at Schippel House on November 9, 2015, when he was 13 years old. Eight years later he left Schippel House, a grown and much more capable man.
“During those 8 years we became part of Mike’s family,” said Schippel House Program Manager Claudia Lewis. “Mike leaving was a sad day for us. We have created many happy memories with Mike and his family. We are going to miss having them close,” Claudia added. Mike’s family feels the same about the Schippel House staff. “Thank you all for everything you have done for Mike and our family. We appreciate you guys and we will miss you,” said Mike’s sister Megan.
Mike came to Schippel House from a hospital where he was receiving rehab services, for malnourishment. He was unable to stand up and could not engage in any activities outside of the sitting position. In those early days Mike did not speak and was terrified to even get out of the van. Schippel staff took it slow with Mike and after a while he started to engage. They worked with him one-on-one and little by little began teaching him words to express his needs and wants. Mike taught the staff a lot too. It was Mike who taught staff how to read non-verbal cues and how to better understand hypersensitivity. Together they learned to communicate. At Schippel House there is a wall that has everyone’s photo, Mike would occasionally take staff to the wall so he could point if he wanted to know where a certain person was that day.
Over the years the Schippel Squad bonded with Mike who loves NASCAR, the St. Louis Cardinals, big trucks, and animals! During his time at Schippel he attended a NASCAR race, several Cardinal games and enjoyed multiple trips to the zoo. While living at Schippel House Mike had weekly visits with his Mom Lori and sisters Megan and Hanna. All of the Schippel Squad are close to them too. They celebrated any small and big success in Mike's life together, just like a family.
“Mike's progress at Schippel House inspires us and gives us hope and purpose, knowing that we cared and helped to change the life of one of our kids,” said Claudia.