Michael Eskdale is a former student from the Peace School of Hope, now an employee at Swan Industries, the Association’s woodworking shop.
Michael is very family oriented, so much so that until recently, he has considered his 96A Ave group home "just a place to eat and sleep" until he can spend time with his family again. Karen Reinitz, Supervisor at the residence says that Mike is much happier since the new cat arrived in the group home. He takes a great interest in the cat, looking forward to caring for it at the end of his workday. Only the house cat is allowed to sit in “Mike’s chair” in the residence.
Association staff know Michael as a comedian, who loves interaction with peers and workers alike. He often teases residential worker Lloyd Amundson, greeting him with a “Hello Grandpa” when they meet.
Michael was born the youngest in a family of six children. He was born without a visible handicap, but the family noticed early on that he was having difficulty sleeping. This was their only indication that something might not be “right” with him.
As Michael grew through his first year, his mother Betty began to notice differences from other children and “pondered these things in my heart.” It was a nurse who suggested to Betty that she have Michael assessed by a physician and she remembers how shocked she was to hear him refer to Mike as “a little moron.”
Betty remembers that when he was young, Mike would always be flitting around “ like a fly in a bottle.” His siblings were very accepting of him and Michael stayed home with the family. Mike progressed with daily routine, just as with normal school. Success for Mike required daily consistency with constant reminders and encouragement.
Every weekend Michael visits with either his mother Betty or one of his brothers and sisters and their families. As a result, all his nieces and nephews know him very well.
Michael is now forty four years old and has lived for fourteen years in the Association’s 96A St. group home. He loves to travel and stay active. Camp He Ho Ha, a summer camp for the handicapped, has been a very important part of his life for many years.