Ten Years Later: Haseeb Chishty, Thriving with Community-based Services
September 25, 2012
will mark ten years that Haseeb Chishty was nearly beaten to death at the hands
of his caregivers in the Denton State Supported Living Center (DSSLC). Before
the incident Haseeb had a profound intellectual disability but there was a time
when he could sing, dance and communicate effectively. After the incident,
however, Haseeb no longer had control of his body. He laid in intensive care
for six months suffering from massive internal injuries that ultimately
resulted in paralysis.
In 2006 Kevin Miller, an ex- employee of the DSSLC admitted to abusing Haseeb in a drug-induced rage, punching and kicking him more than a dozen times. Miller is now serving a 15 year sentence for injury to a disabled person, a first-degree felony.
After the abuse took place Haseeb remained in the DSSLC because his family could not afford around-the-clock care within their home.
Where is Haseeb today?
Fortunately, Haseeb has lived in the community with his family since September 28, 2008 and receives services and supports via the Home & Community-based Services (HCS) Medicaid Waiver Program. “He has progressed in strides,” says his mother, Farhat Chishty. “He is able to communicate by blinking his eyes to indicate yes or no. He also makes certain sounds to let us know that he would like for us to change the channel on the television”.
With the help of HCS Mrs. Chishty is able to have an additional caregiver to help Haseeb in his daily activities sixteen hours per day. He is also a member of the IMPACT (Individuals Making Personal Achievements Come True) program at Ability Connection Texas where he attends every day. The IMPACT program is a goal-driven day program that provides adults with disabilities the opportunity to attain personal goals through life skills education, personal growth training, recreation and leisure activities, community outings and socialization. He also receives physical therapy once a week, nursing services on a regular basis and dental services. With the help of family and friends Haseeb has also been able to benefit from hydrotherapy, equine therapy and even went to summer camp at Camp Summit in Dallas.
While in the DSSLC Haseeb was hospitalized almost every other month for various reasons. Today his mother is happy to report that in the four years he has lived at home in the community he has only been hospitalized once.
Mrs. Chishty finished the conversation noting, “When people with disabilities live in the community they are better off emotionally, physically and communicatively. They are more productive, happier and feel useful to society”. “While community based services have much room for improvement it is a better solution than the alternative which is a broken system that no dollar amount will fix”.
Community-based services have provided Haseeb opportunities to live, work and play in his community, opportunities that many take for granted. As the 83rd Texas Legislative Session approaches these services are at risk and the opportunity for abuse and neglect in SSLCs across the state remain. We hope Haseeb's story will motivate and challenge people to speak up for themselves, their familes and work towards providing inclusive community living for all people with disabilities.
Additional Information: On average the cost to support a person with a disability in a SSLC is $595.20 per day while it is on average $76.08 per day to support a person with a disability using community based services. (Texas Health & Human Services Commission, Department of Aging and Disability Services)