My grandson Sean--who is autistic and blind--and I were returning from the holidays on our way back to Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, Texas, one bright sunny morning. Having already discovered there was a lack of services I wanted for Sean, I thought, "What am I going to do?"
I had been trying to make some long-range plans for Sean and looked at this window of opportunity for Sean's future. I was shocked and concerned at the reality of trying to accomplish this plan. I discovered long waiting lists for the few places I would trust to Sean's future. The private places I liked were financially not affordable.
I prayed that Sean would have the best life he could possibly have and that he be given the opportunity to learn to his maximum potential, whatever that potential should be.
That day it dawned on me, "Hey, Gretchen, this won't happen unless you see that it happens in your life time on this planet. God needs someone down here to help him. There is no one in Sean's life but you. We will start our own home and call it The Sean Ashley House."
That prayer and that thought brought me to the beginnings of The Sean Ashley House. My priority was that it should always be governed by a group of parents, educators and doctors, who would be committed to the organization on an ongoing basis; they would insure that our kids always have a loving, happy, and safe home environment.
We, the parents, cannot depend on other people to do it.
We must do it ourselves!
The Sean Ashley House was incorporated in 1994 and licensed with Texas Mental Health Mental Retardation as a Texas not-for-profit (501c3) organization designed to provide "model" homes for individuals with autism, blindness, mental retardation, and/or multiple disabilities.