Natalie Isaia, twenty-five, seems to enjoy the dinner and dance, though she mostly stays seated next to her father, Tom. Natalie, Tom tells me, had a viral infection just after her birth that "grabbed the high functioning part of her brain." When asked at what level she can read, he replies, "Zero. She can't tell 'A' from 'B' or '1' from '2.'"
Though she doesn't fully understand it yet, Natalie, too, will be moving into an ICW community. Tom, who owns Coffee Express, refinanced his house to buy her a condo in the same complex as Megan's. Kindhearted and a little sad, Tom is transitioning his daughter to ICW at the same time he is moving his ninety-six-year-old mother to an assisted living facility off Plymouth Road. He says the experiences are similar, because "they both need care."
"It's not about money," he says. "It's the reality that Natalie has to be with people her own age. I'm not letting her go reluctantly. At ICW she is going to flourish--more than she can if she stays with me."
Megan Carlisle's educational life was never mainstream. "We tried it once," says her father, Dick, an urban planning consultant, "but it was a disaster. She was always in some type of special program."