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Health Team

Special homes help adults transition to independence

Posted March 13, 2015

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— Many children born with severe developmental disabilities require a lifetime of specialized care. At places like Raleigh's Tammy Lynn Center, they learn to develop the skills that allow them to live independent of family in a group home.

Holly Coley is one of those clients. She was born with a severe cleft lip and palate. She couldn't see or hear. Her only sense was touch.

Years ago, Holly's pediatrician offered a grim prognosis.

"She'd never live beyond the age of 21. She'd never walk, and best place I could put her was an institution," Coley's mother, Lynn Coley, recalled.

But Holly Coley did live and thrive.

"As you can tell, she's 42. She's healthy. She's just amazing because she's come so long and so far," her mother continued.

For several years, with Medicaid funding, Holly lived in an intensive, home-care setting at the Tammy Lynn Center of Raleigh.

Recently, she moved into a new, less restrictive and lower cost group home operated by the center.

Holly Coley will shared two care providers with three other residents, down from the one-on-one care she had before.

The home was adapted to Holly's special needs.

"She can feel somebody and know who they are," Lynn Coley said of her daughter.

Wall molding was installed to help her navigate. Program specialist Mary Corbin helped Coley learn her way around from the day room to her new bedroom.

"She can do many things that people would think she cannot do," said Angela Henderson, manager of the residence.

And over time, more will be expected of her.

"She's going to plan for her meals. She's going to shop for her meals. The home has to be kept up by our staff and our clients," Corbin said.

It's an arrangement that pleases her mother.

"She's in a good, safe environment. I know they're always looking out for her, always getting more things for her to do, more for her to learn," Lynn Coley said.

In her new home, Holly Coley will have more opportunities to meet people as well through planned community activities.

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