Will takes charge of dinner

August 27, 2013

Will’s day to cook for the family is Tuesday, and today he’s planning to make hamburgers and corn on the cob.

He starts with a trip to Fred Meyer, accompanied by Beth Drew, his state-funded “direct service provider” from Northbridge, a company that assists people with intellectual disabilities. Drew presses Will to calculate how many ears of corn he’ll need for the family of eight. In the salad dressing aisle, Will is momentarily overwhelmed. So many bottles to choose from.

On their way to the check out, Drew and Will talk about how much money he’ll need.

Will spends time with his service provider four days a week, during which they shop, cook and recreate.

Back at the house, Will cooks burgers in a skillet. He doesn’t normally like to touch the raw meat, shaping it into patties, but he does so today with Drew’s help. When grease splatters, he backs up and is slow to return to the stove.

No one seems surprised when, minutes later, Will disappears from the kitchen. Will often withdraws when he feels stress at home, Carol says. Eventually, someone checks his bedroom and finds him asleep on his bed. The rest of the house eats without him.

Originally published May 3, 2014 by Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage Daily News.