All of our loved ones have unique stories on how they arrived at Shapiro and made Shapiro their home. Many of their stories reflect the painful process of finding the right placement to address their needs. Every story highlights the devotion, commitment and dedication of the Shapiro staff who work with a challenging population but find a way daily to help each individual reach their potential.

From about the beginning of puberty, Aaron had increased struggles with anxiety. His struggle increased as he grew older, but we managed. Aaron made it through these hard times and graduated from Andrew High School in 2008. It was during this time that his/our life began to unravel.

He was enrolled in the ‘Transition Program’ the fall term of 2008. This is when his fears really took their toll on him and us as well. He began to display aggressive behavior, striking staff as well as his mother. His behavior was spiraling out of control. On one occasion in the fall of 2008 we had to take him to Ingalls Hospital. On this occasion he became so agitated that the hospital security had to intervene. For a brief period of time after that incident, however, we saw a slight improvement; a tenuous reprieve so to speak.

Unfortunately in hindsight, this was just the “lull before the storm”. On Friday, March 13 th 2009, our lives changed forever. We had company over and Aaron, agitated with all of the people in ‘his space’ struck one of our house guests.

That night, nobody in our house slept! The first thing in the morning, we arranged for an ambulance to take our boy to Ingalls Hospital. They really did not know what to do with him and for reasons that would take too long to explain; he was taken to, and admitted into Hartgrove Hospital in Chicago.

Here he languished for the next four and a half months, for that hospital staff could NOT help him because they didn’t know WHAT TO DO WITH HIM EITHER! During this time there were numerous insurance nightmares, which would take too long for elaboration. However, there was a ‘light and the end of this tunnel’. Unfortunately our ‘light’ became even a bigger nightmare.

We were happy to discover our Aaron qualified for admittance into the system and was placed in a CILA. Better yet the CILA was only about three miles from our house! He had a rough start beginning with him being literally dumped at their by two hospital staff member whom he trusted and bonded with! Add this to adjusting to unfamiliar people and surroundings and probably feeling sad, lonely, and deserted by his own family.

However after his rocky start, things fell into place. He found a routine and was going to work every day. The staff and clients at the work shop liked him and he began to enjoy going to work. He called his mom and dad on their cell phones and left messages saying he had a good day. Wow! So imagine our disappointment to learn that things were unravelling again.

For various reason again too numerous to elaborate on, his/or CILCA experience was another nightmare! He wasn’t eating or bathing. He would not come to the phone when we called; would not come to the door when we knocked.

This situation continued to deteriorate for the next several months. Finally he was once again hospitalized, this time at Kindred Hospital in Chicago. We attended a meeting with the staff at this facility as saw Aaron for the first time in months and were shocked to see he was emaciated! Our son had lost about one hundred pounds.

It was at this time an emergency intervention team helped him and arranged his admittance in this wonder facility, Shapiro Developmental Center. He was a wreck when this staff took charge of him and he had a rocky start (He’s good at those as you already know!). Over these past few years his condition has steadily improved and our troubled, terrified little guy is finally becoming a happy young man, happiness is one thing we are all entitled to!

10/20/72 – Ramon Adii Rainey born

10/1973 – Ramon’s parents separate, mother and son go to live with her mother

10/1974 – Ramon’s mother notices delayed speach and increased activity

12/1975 – Ramon’s goes to Davis, CA to live with Uncle in order to get more attention

02/1976 – Ramon attends University of Cali. – Davis Day Program. The Day Program recognizes Ramon has special needs, but not able to diagnose

06/1976 – Ramon returns home to Chicago to live with mother

07/1976 – Ramon attends Pritzker 3 month residential program. Diagnosis: delayed speech and motor development. He showed great progress from the structured environment and behavior modification in this program.

10/1976 – Ramon returns home with no program in place, and he immediately regresses Ramon attended Davis School for the handicap ( day program) on South Jeffrey in Chicago .he was excluded from this program because of his behavior problem.

03/1977 – 01/1978 – Ramon attended Kaleidascope School (day program) in Maywood, IL. This program got Ramon’s behaviors under control and referred him to the Michael Reese Dysfunctioning Child Center.

02/1978 – 09/1978 – Ramon attends the Michael Reese Dysfunctioning Child Center, where is learns sign language and gains some control over behaviors, but with various changes (teachers, bus driver, baby sitter) Ramon has a lot of regression and he is diagnosed with mental retardation.

09/1978 – 11/1981 – Ramon attended SouthWest School in Chicago, which was run by the Chicago Association for the Retarted. Ramon had many up and down years at this program until he was excluded from this program in 1987 because of his behavior problems.

11/1981 – 07/1987 – Ramon went to live at Topel House a group home run by MARC Center of Bloomington, IL. Ramon’s behavior problem was treated with medication such as thorazine, which led to a lost of more speech and motor skills. As Ramon aged out of this program, an appropriate program was sought, most applications were declined because of his behavior problem.

01/1994 – Ramon spent a month in the psychiatric unit of the University of Chicago in order to get his medications adjusted. At this time the medications had him throwing his body on the floor. After adjusting his medications he was discharged to Jacksonville Developmental Center in Jacksonville, IL, a State Operated Facility.

03/1994 – 03/1996 – Ramon resided at the Jones cottage at Jacksonville and after one year Ramon was off all psychotropic medication.

03/1996 – Present – Ramon is transferred to Shapiro Developmental Center in order to be closer to his family. This is where he currently resides and has finally found a certain amount of peace and contentment in his life. Ramon is non-verbal, severely profoundly retarded with infantile autism and he needs all the structure and expertise that is available at Shapiro Developmental Center. If Ramon was placed in an inappropriate setting he could regress all the way back to his childhood behaviors.

Perplexing to neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists and with a history
of being dismissed from two group homes, my daughter’s future looked
uncertain and bleak. There were numerous visits to the E.R. for “maladaptive” 
behaviors and self abusive injuries. She experienced month long stints
in neuro-psychiatric hospitals that left her more troubled than she was upon
admission and experiencing seizures no longer controlled.
Since February 2019, Jennifer’s life has experienced a miraculous turn-around.
She is peaceful, happy and thriving! All credit goes to the Shapiro Developmental
Center in Kankakee, Illinois. Shapiro maintains excellence in all the disciplines
required to meet the unique needs of a developmentally afflicted individual like
my daughter. Shapiro is self-contained for medical, behavioral, psychological,
social, dental, ophthalmology, pharmacology. Referrals off campus are made if
During these pandemic times, Shapiro adheres to the highest standards dictated
by the Illinois health department. The strict measures have allowed the campus
to hold down the spread of the Corona virus.
I thank God every day for Shapiro and for the dedicated, caring staff.