* Mark Brown…
Rick Bruno was in another room last fall when his wife Jean shrieked “Oh, my God, no” in a way that led him to think there must have been a death in the family.
Instead, Jean had just opened a letter from Easterseals informing them that the agency would soon be closing the program that for the past decade has been a lifeline for their autistic 32-year-old son Danny.
“It was like getting punched in the gut,” said Bruno, 62, a retired Tinley Park police officer who now works stadium security part-time.
The closing becomes final on Wednesday, when Easterseals finishes winding down two adult day programs that previously served 44 individuals with developmental disabilities.
The day programs — one in Chicago and the other in Tinley Park — have provided an intimate, structured environment in a school-like setting for adults 22 and over who face a variety of intellectual challenges.
Easterseals says it could no longer afford to operate the programs because of the low reimbursement rate paid by the state of Illinois, which has resulted in a statewide shortage of frontline caregivers to staff such facilities.
For the Brunos, the closing of the Tinley Park program set off a desperate search for another that can fill the special needs of their son. So far, they haven’t found anything.
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