Megan started at Lawton, then went to a special-needs program at Clague, and then on to a high school program that, Dick says, was another disaster. After a dispute with the Ann Arbor Public Schools, Dick and his wife, Barb, moved Megan into a Washtenaw Intermediate School District program, housed first at Pioneer and then at Chelsea High School. Megan took a taxi out to Chelsea with a couple of other kids.
"She was in John Cooper's program [at WISD] for a number of years," says Carlisle. John and Nancy Cooper "really understood what the kids needed. They had a work component, focused on life skills, and had a unique aspect of their program where they rented an apartment and had the kids live in the apartment for two or three weeks at a time. That's where the seeds were planted [for ICW]--right there."
But the Carlisles' first attempts to let Megan live independently were difficult. They rented an apartment for her, first with one roommate, then with another, and then bought a condo for her at Georgetown. "That was our experiment," Dick says. "It was ... challenging.
"Everything you think that is supposed to happen with a [young adult], it's not," he explains. "You're still dealing with the responsibility of taking care of somebody.