Adopted by his parents, Tari & Matt, at age 4 was just the beginning of many hills and valleys in Julian Barkley’s life. Now 16, Julian very proudly shared that he has the biggest bedroom in his new home, an Individualized Supported Living (ISL) home in Warsaw, MO, just a few miles from his parents’ home. Although this may sound like a sad story, Julian & his parents would say that it’s the happiest place they’ve been in a long time.
On top of living every day with a traumatic brain injury, Julian also was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and autism at a fairly young age. After moving to Missouri just over two years ago, Julian’s behavior at school and at home were beginning to spiral out of control. Tari, a social worker, knew that the best thing they could do for Julian was to find him a safe place to live, with professionals that understand Julian’s struggles and are able to manage his behavior, while at the same time, celebrate his successes.
“You wouldn’t know by looking at him that Julian can be such a handful, but the RAD mixed with his autism can lead to some extremely violent outbursts that were most often directed at me,” Tari explained. “Not only were we afraid that he would hurt one of us or his siblings, but we were fearful that he was getting physically big enough he may hurt himself.”
After being shuffled in an out of six different residential placements since Julian was age 6, Tari & Matt met with their CHS Service Coordinator & pleaded for help. More than anyone, they knew that Julian could thrive once they were able to find the right environment for him, but they knew that it wasn’t a residential facility that was going to solve the issue. With the unwavering help of Jamie (Supervisor of Service Coordination), Linda (Director of Service Coordination), & Deb (Service Coordinator)-all through CHS-the Barkley family was finally able to receive a Comprehensive Waiver for Julian. The waiver opened the door for Julian to live in a more independent and supervised setting with only one or two housemates and a full-time caregiver, which is where we were able to visit Julian.
As you can see in the photos, Julian’s disabilities are not visible to the naked eye, and while we met with family, Julian exuded joy and pride in his new home. Tari & Matt shared with me that it’s been a long time since they’ve seen Julian this happy, and that every time they pick him up or visit him, they are thrilled to just be his parents again-to enjoy his company and share in his happiness. As Tari & Matt noted, they are sure there will be more hills and valleys, they are embracing every moment of this optimistic time in their lives and give much of the credit to The Center for Human Services, the ISL provider and the staff members that have continued to advocate for & support Julian & the family since day one.
“Even Ann, the Executive Director at CHS, got involved to help Julian get the services he needed, and we will be forever grateful,” Tari graciously noted. “If I could tell anyone in Missouri that has a loved one with a disability one thing, it’s that you’re not alone. The people at CHS changed our lives, and I am sure they will work just as hard for you.”