Meet Phillip Miller
by Mary Paulsen
Phillip has severe autism and is virtually nonverbal. As an adult, he as Obessive-Compulsive Disorder and is still hyperactive. He is a large man and can be assaultive/dangerous when he does not get his way. I placed him at our "state institution" when he was five because of my divorce and the death of my mother; I could not care for him. When he was twenty I chose to move him to a group home because I listened to the advocacy song of "normalization" and "opportunity."
His life has never been easy. There have always been unexplained injuries. In 2006, he was left alone in the kitchen when there was only one staff and that person had gone to attend to the other resident. Phillip's rugby shirt caught on fire at the gas stove and his back was severely burned ultimately requiring a skin graft. When he recovered, the State bureaucracy wanted me to send him back to the same home with the same staff, which was unacceptable. I requested that be placed at our Utah State Developmental Center, a public ICF/MR. Despite the State Director's orders to keep people like Phillip living in the "community," and after 15 years of saying "NO," a bill was passed to allow legal guardians CHOICE. Phillip is now happily living at the Utah State Developmental Center.