Q&A with Gretchen Mansfield Wilson of Sean House

 

“When Sean and I travel, I take a plastic bed cover (he still wets the bed sometimes), his medication box along with a change of clothes and his cane. That’s it. Sean travels light.”

 

Q&A with Gretchen Mansfield Wilson of Sean House

photo credit Gretchen Mansfield Wilson

Hi everyone,
My name is Gretchen  Mansfield Wilson, and I am the mother of four adult kids and eight grandkids, with another on the way!
All of my grandkids are wonderful.
Sean is my second grandchild and is thirty-two years old.I’ve raised him, and am his legal guardian since he was born blind with no optic nerves and has also been diagnosed as autistic.
My philosophy for educating autistic kids is that everything is not for everyone.
I have never wanted to mainstream Sean in the public education system since he needed way too much assistance and functioned at the lower end of the autism spectrum. Inclusion might work better for others, especially if the child can learn and not disrupt the classroom but like I said before, it isn’t for everyone.With Sean, I chose to work on his blindness rather than his autism since I considered that the larger challenge to overcome.When he grew older, and I realized that he ould need to live independently, I started Sean’s House in Houston, Texas, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and services to individuals with disabilities.He attended the Texas School for the Blind for three years and came home every weekend.The school is one of the top three in the nation and the teachers there worked with Sean on developing life skills as there were many other kids there with autism. After that, he was transitioned back to our local school and was very fortunate in that he always had good teachers!

When Sean and I travel, I pack a plastic bed cover along (he still wets the bed sometimes), his medication box along with changes of clothes and his cane.That’s it. Sean travels quite light!

There had been only one time when we had to make a packing exception which was when we had to evacuate for a hurricane coming our way, and we were most fortunate to find any place to stay, but it was an outdoors camp.
Despite his physical challenges, Sean has successfully, traveled by boat, airplane and car. He is excellent in the car except when he keeps saying “hamburger “over and over, throwing his hand over my mouth to feel my lips saying it.I taught him that at a very young age and he still does that at thirty-two!

I can always tell if he is apprehensive on a boat or plane since he sits upright and holds on to the seat.However, that has never become an issue or hindrance of any kind for us not to go anywhere.

I love traveling with Sean to expose him new experiences.
We went to Mexico back in 2009 and visited Tulum and Chankanaab Eco-Park.
His favorite experience so far has been going to the beach or just being in the water.
Taking him on a cruise with ‘Autism on the Seas’ has long been on my bucket list, and I hope to cross it off soon.

 

 

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