Freddie Topete cannot dress himself or brush his own teeth. He can barely speak and needs his food cut into small pieces. His sister Monica describes him as a "toddler without the tantrums." But Freddie is not a toddler-he is a severely autistic 20-year-old. Last Fall Freddie transferred into the Sacramento City Community Transition Program at Sacramento State. The Transition Program helps expand Freddie's horizons and increase his ability to communicate and socialize. Freddie lives with his Mother Elisa and Father Fred, who work hard to take care for him. When he is not at school "It takes the combined efforts of 7 adults to look after Freddie." In two years, Freddie will age out of school-based support services and need to transition to an Adult Day Care Program.
Freddie's mother Elisa describes a typical day with Freddie.
4:30 am: "I wake up… to get myself ready for work."
5:45 am: Elisa will wake Freddie up to get him ready for breakfast (If Freddie doesn't wake up on his own because he hears her). "Freddie will begin asking me 'No school? No bus?' and I will respond, 'No Freddie, no school and no bus.' I'll then say, 'You…' and he responds, 'stay here with daddy and momma will make pancakes and say goodbye and give kiss kiss' and then he makes the sound of two kisses. I taught him that so that he could practice his speech. We will go through this routine about 6-7 times before he goes to school. He likes the bus and going to school, he just doesn't want to hear that he has to go."
"Freddie only likes hot foods so I will either make him two pancakes, 3 French toasts or eggs" with "refried beans and toast. If I make" pancakes or French toast, Freddie "can feed himself with a fork, but I have to cut it all up into little bite size portions. If I make him eggs, they have to be scrambled, the beans have to be thoroughly smashed and I have to mix the two up and feed it to him with a spoon. Freddie doesn't like eating and if it were up to him he wouldn't (except French fries). It takes him awhile to eat so once he is finished, I change him, brush his teeth, put his deodorant on, wash his hands and briefly wash his face."
6:45am: Freddie catches the bus for school, and then Elisa goes to work.
Mondays: "I will take my lunch from 2:30 - 3:30 to come home, wait for the bus and take Freddie to his paternal grandmother's apartment and come back to work. I will pick Freddie up after work, pick up his French fries and take him home."
Tuesdays: "My husband will leave work at 2:30 p.m. for the day, pick up" Freddie's "French fries and stay with Freddie after school."
Wednesdays: "I will take my lunch from 2:30 - 3:30 to come home, wait for the bus and take Freddie to his maternal grandparent's house and come back to work. I will pick Freddie up after work, pick up his French fries and take him home."
Thursdays: "My husband will leave work at 2:30 p.m. for the day, pick up" Freddie's "French fries and stay with Freddie after school."
Fridays: "I will work from 5:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., go home, wait for the bus, and go get Freddie's French fries. I try to run some errands so that I can get Freddie out of the house (bank, store, etc…)."
"Every day, I'll fix Freddie some dinner after he eats his French fries. Once he gets home, he likes to change out of his school clothes and put on his comfy t-shirt and shorts (even during the cold winter months!) and watch his movies in his room. He will come out of his room periodically to just run from one end of the house to the other, smiling, laughing and quoting lines from his favorite movie scenes."
7:00 pm: Elisa will brush Freddie's teeth and every other day will bathe Freddie in the bath tub because he doesn't like showers (or baths for that matter).
8:30 pm: "I'll lay down with him in his bed and stay there until he falls asleep. If I tell him to go to bed and go to sleep myself, he will get out of bed and watch movies until 2:00 - 3:00 a.m. I once awoke at 4:30 a.m. to find him still watching movies in his room. Therefore, it is important I stay there until he falls asleep."
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