August 6, 2018
By Paul Marks, Special to

Robert Embardo is a 29-year-old guy in a Red Sox cap who weighs upwards of 300 pounds. Approaching with a slightly unsteady gait, he greets visitors with a left-handed handshake and a nod. But he doesn’t say much, even to his mother. The word he uses – the only word – is “key.”

That’s because Robert, who has autism, knows that unlocking the closet where the household food is kept gets him what he wants when he arrives home from his daily visit to Resources for Human Development in Wallingford. When he tears into a loaf of Italian bread, it doesn’t last long.

“He’d eat it all if I didn’t stop him,” his mom, Peg Embardo, explains. She works a part-time job as a church secretary, but her life, the routine of every day, involves managing Robert’s needs. It’s something that was easier to do when her husband was alive, she said, but now it’s mother and son and a life that relies heavily on state-sponsored social services.

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