University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

The Hild Family

Mom and sons walking in the park
"Lucas needs to be challenged every day."

Lucas is 27 years old and has intellectual disability, autism, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. He currently lives on his own along with 24-hour support staff. His parents Mark and Nancy live nearby and visit Lucas often. Lucas enjoys riding his bike, swimming, and visiting the dog park, When Lucas was in school, his parents advocated for integrated classroom settings so he would learn how to interact with others. "I think our other children learned how to be more compassionate to other people with disabilities," said Nancy.

When Lucas was a teenager, his behaviors became more challenging at home, and school struggled to meet his needs. To receive more behavioral supports, he moved to ChildServe in Johnston, Iowa. After he turned 20, the family was able to utilize funds from the Money Follows the Person program to help Lucas transition into an apartment. Money Follows the Person provides support to states to increase the use of home- and community-based services and reduce the use of institutionally based services.

"I don't know what we would have done without Money Follows the Person," said Nancy. "Lucas is better and so much happier living alone. One of Lucas' main challenges is communication. "His receptive ability is much higher that his expressive ability," said Nancy. "Lucas needs to be challenged every days as it sometimes becomes easier to others to do things for him rather than allow him to grow." He does use some sign language, but still struggles to communicate his needs and emotions.

Mark and Nancy are grateful that the Ames community has embraced Lucas, and they home that he can continue to be part of the community and know that he is loved by family and friends. "The people of Ames have been wonderful to him," said Nancy. "He's very friendly, and people recognize him. People in Walmart will give him hugs and Cy, the Iowa State mascot often sits next to him at basketball games."

Man petting dog