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“I Thought Arizona Was Rated High for Disability Services, But That Is Wrong.”

Tyler Stumpf wants to live in the community. He wants to work with animals. His mom says Arizona is not helping him do that.

Tyler Stumpf in his bedroom in Phoenix, Arizona, in October. (Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star)

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The Arizona Daily Star worked with us to write this story. They are part of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network.

Tyler Stumpf is 31 years old. Tyler and his mom moved to Arizona from Iowa last year. His mom’s name is Melody Linderwell.

Tyler wants to work with animals. He is a janitor. His mom helped him find his job. They were not able to find him a job working with animals.

Tyler has Prader-Willi syndrome. He was born with it. It changes the way he thinks and how his muscles work. People with Prader-Willi can’t always tell when they’ve had enough food to eat. Other people can help them not eat too much.

Tyler’s mom talked to the Division of Developmental Disabilities. She said they told her Tyler can get the help he needs.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities is also called DDD.

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Tyler’s mom says Tyler has not gotten the help he needs from DDD. There are not enough people to help him. Tyler’s mom thinks that is because people don’t get paid a lot of money to do this job.

Tyler’s mom can get money from DDD to help Tyler at home. Helping Tyler is her job. This job is called caregiving.

Tyler’s mom said this job makes her feel stuck at home.

Tyler’s mom does not make much money for this job. Her job does not have any benefits like health insurance.

Tyler’s mom makes $12.54 an hour to help Tyler. That is more money than Tyler makes as a janitor.

DDD is supposed to help Tyler find a job and a place to live. Tyler’s mom said it has not helped Tyler.

Tyler and his mom both want him to live in a group home. Tyler’s mom is looking for a place for him to live.

Workers at DDD said most people are happy with the help they get. They did not say anything about Tyler.

This summer, Tyler’s mom needed DDD to say she can keep her job helping Tyler. No one at DDD answered her messages.

Tyler keeps getting new case managers. A case manager is a person who works at DDD. It is their job to get Tyler what he needs.

Tyler’s mom said, “In a year we are on our fourth case manager and did not get notified when they were changed.”

Tyler’s mom asked for a case manager with more experience. Now Tyler has a new case manager.

The new case manager said she can keep her job. She now gets paid more for her job helping Tyler.

Tyler’s mom said this is not enough help. She said, “I thought Arizona was rated high for disability services, but that is wrong.”

Rebecca Monteleone translated this story into plain language.

What’s Your Experience With Intellectual and Developmental Disability Care in Arizona?

The Arizona Daily Star and ProPublica are investigating services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here's how people with disabilities, their families, friends, caregivers, teachers and medical providers can help.

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