Interview: Autism Home Care Services
WCCO Radio host Sheletta Brundidge interviews Accra Chief Operating Officer Susan Morgan about our homecare services for Minnesotans.
Mon.-Thurs. | 8am to 4:30pm
Fri. | 8am to 4pm
Sheletta Brundidge chats with Accra’s Susan Morgan about our home care services for autism.
Sheletta Brundidge: Can I tell you, this woman is like my soul sister. I don’t know where I would be without her vision and her company.
I’ve got three kids over here with special needs. And there’s some things that my children with autism qualified for, that my children could have gotten for years, that I didn’t know any thing about. Their county services and school services and things that they could get; respite care.
Sheletta Brundidge: I mean, for years, you guys; I worked overnights, 8pm to 4am. And then I would get off from work, come home, sleep in the driveway for two hours until seven o’clock when the kids woke up–because if I opened the garage, they will wake up at five in the morning–and came in the house.
And, you know, then I was mama and paraprofessional and therapist assistant and you know all those other things and at the time, my children was severely autistic. And you know, they were still in diapers, all three of them. And I just remember thinking, “my God, I am not going to make it.”
Sheletta Brundidge: And then someone introduced me to Accra. And they helped me understand the services that my children qualified for, how I could get a PCA in the home to help me with my babies so that I could actually take a break and rest. I was, I was about to flame and burn all the way out. So I said, you know what; as soon as I get myself together, and these people from Accra home healthcare over here and help me help my kids–and y’all see how good they’re doing–I owe a lot of that to the folks at Accra.
Sheletta Brundidge: And so I wanted to bring Sue Morgan, the Chief Operating Officer at Accra in Minnetonka, on the show to talk about the services that they provide so that parents who have kids like mine with special needs, can tap into their expertise, and bring some peace and some life and some love and some joy back into their house. Because, Sue, girl let me tell you before I found Accra; girl, look, I was about to just drive off, I was about to act like I disappeared. I told the kids don’t call me mommy, call me Miss Sheletta. Because I didn’t–I was ready to check up out of here. And a lot of people, myself included, as educated and connected as I am, Sue, I did not know about Accra, I did not know about the help you provide, and I did not know how it will bring so much relief to my home with me and my special needs children.
Susan Morgan: Hello, Sheletta. It’s so interesting hearing your story. And thank the Lord that you were able to get the services that you needed, although I wish you would have found them sooner so that you didn’t have to go through what you went through.
But you know, that’s what Accra does. We do our best to identify families who need that assistance. A lot of times we work really closely with the counties because more than likely, that’s where people first find out about the variety of services that we can provide that are, you know, homecare, their individualized services that are provided in the homes of the clients.
In fact, that really ties to what our mission is; which is to improve lives by providing individualized homecare services and support to people living at home. And there’s a lot of families out there in the situation similar to yours that just need that little bit of extra assistance to be successful living in the home. And that’s really why Accra Care is here.
That’s why we were founded about 30 years ago by a nurse who was looking to find a way to provide care for clients in their home. And over the years we’ve grown and my goodness in Minnesota at this point in time, we’re serving almost 10,000 clients from a very, very small beginning. And we provide those services under a whole variety of licenses that we have with the Department of Human Services, as well as the Minnesota Department of Health. And the goal is to identify what that client needs and then see how we can get some help for them.
Sheletta Brundidge: I already, Sue, have autism moms who are texting me in the middle of this interview saying, Lord have mercy, I’m over here at my wit’s end. And one of them says, how do you even spell Accra–I’m going on–she’s putting a K in and then can’t find it. Because I want people to know that help is out there.
You know, the one thing, Miss Sue, that I do all the time is I share our family story. I share our journey because I want other parents out there in the struggle like me, to have hope, and to know that things can and will get better. And whenever I get anything, whether it is a scholarship or information about a foundation, or services, or new therapy procedures, or whatever it is, that helps my children, I always like to turn around and share it to help somebody else.
Sheletta Brundidge: So for the parents who can’t even wait till we get to the end of the interview, because they’re spelling Accra wrong, and they’re trying to go online and get to details; Miss Sue, tell us how they can set up a meeting or get in touch with you all at Accra so that they can get an assessment and get the help that they need for their child with autism.
Susan Morgan: Well, first of all, Accra is A-C-C-R-A. So they can find us at AccraHomeCare.org. It’s dot-org because we are a nonprofit, and our focus is serving clients who are on medical assistance. Ninety-eight percent of the clients we serve are on medical assistance, though we do accept other pay sources.
And they can call us; our main number is 952-935-3515. There’s also a toll free number; it’d be that same number except it starts with 866.
Otherwise, they can go to our website and they can just click on Submit A Referral and they can enter very basic information and then we will call them back. So that actually has been found to be very easy for a lot of the families that we work with.
But I do want to say; you brought up a very important piece. Of all the clients that we serve, the most common diagnosis is autism. We serve a lot of kids–and not just in the Twin Cities, this is around the entire state of Minnesota. So we help them find whatever resources they need to make sure that their kiddos are well cared for; work with the counties in order to get those services approved. And really help them find some light in their day so that they can enjoy the time with their family and not have to be so stressed about wondering how to care for them.
Sheletta Brundidge: Let me tell you, Miss Sue, we got here to Cottage Grove, when Daniel was two years old, he’s seven now. And I didn’t find Accra until he was five, okay, he was diagnosed with autism when he was two. And he was my most severely autistic child, he still is. And again, I was working at 8pm to 4am shift, sleeping in the driveway, in the car, in a van. And then, you know, with the kids all day long until it was time for me to go to work again that next night. And, you know, just grinding and never have any relief and no family and no help. And for those three years, I never knew that Daniel qualified for a PCA until I connected with you and the folks at Accra.
And so then I’m like, why didn’t anybody tell me about this before? I could have had somebody in here, Miss Sue, for three years helping me with my children. And for three years, I did not have those services or those resources. And so they just went unused; the federal dollars that Daniel had to get a PCA went unspent.
But I tell you in the past two years, my children have done so much better. And people see the progress. And it’s because I had some help. I had the folks that Accra got me a PCA, making sure I had the resources and connect it to the services that I needed.
And people say wow, they just seem like your kids just got better over these past two years. Yeah, because I got hooked up with Accra. And they hooked me up with the people that I needed to get them in here to help my kids.
Sheletta Brundidge: And let me tell you something about, Miss Sue, your employees. Let me just say that they are amazing, because I can pull up emails where they’ll tell me Sheletta, you have, you know, $5,000 to secure your house. You were talking about Daniel’s a wanderer. And, you know, you have funding for him in the form of $5,000.
And I was like, well, why have I always had this? And I say yes. What would you like to do? I would like to put combination locks on all the doors. And I would like to get the upgraded Comcast security system with the cameras and the chirps on all the doors so that if I’m sleeping and he tries to sneak out of the house, I can hear him. Well, then, there you go. I don’t have to pay for it. Those are the kinds of small things that give me peace of mind, give me the security I need and also keeps my kids safe.
Susan Morgan: Oh, that’s such a huge thing. I personally have had to work with some–I’ve had the blessing, I should say, of working with some families who have had very similar issues. And until they found that they could, you know, install a security system in their home, they couldn’t sleep at night.
Sheletta Brundidge: No.
Susan Morgan: Because worried that their child might wander; and it has happened, more than once. And it’s so sad to see that when there is a very easy solution. Again, it’s working with the counties to get the approval for these services. And then Accra helps do the rest and helps find a company who can come in and install what’s needed. So again, that families can enjoy their kids and not have to worry. And like you, they can get sleep at night where you weren’t.
Sheletta Brundidge: Well, I just can’t thank you enough for the work you do for the autism community and the children and the families. Being an autism advocate and having parents look to me for help and resources all the time. Being able to point them in your direction is a blessing for everyone. Sue Morgan, the Chief Operating Officer at Accra in Minnetonka.
Accra Home Care is a proud sponsor of Sheletta Brundidge’s Taking Authority Over Autism podcast.