What is the latest on Sharisa Kochmeister? an update interview with her father

Sharisa Kochmeister

Provided by the Kochmeister family

By now many of our readers will be familiar with the case of Sharisa Joy Kochmeisters, who was removed from her family’s care against her will. Her human rights were removed and she was subsequent placed into an entirely unsuitable care facility for patients with Dementia. Sharisa had her own legal guardianship, but has had it taken away by Jefferson County Colorado.

Until now the exact details of what  happened to Sharisa, to start this dreadful chain of events and now placement in a host home with intermittent contact with her family, has been limited.

We have been in regular touch with  her father, Jan Kochmeister, who is desperately campaigning to get his daughter back to the family home and her human rights reinstated. The family has been granted a couple of visits since August 10th.

Jan last saw Sharisa on Monday August 17th, four of her friends also made the journey to see her. Jan updated us as follows:

“I saw Sharisa on Monday, as did four of her friends.  She is happy and healthy looking, says the people in the host home are “nice”, but expressed her “dire need for an attorney” and her desire to return to her “own home” immediately.  

She had positive interactions with my wife and me, and very strong interactions with her friends.  We are waiting to see what the next step will be”.

For those unfamiliar with Sharisa’s story, she is an autistic woman aged 36 with complex health needs. She has a genius IQ and communicates via communicational devices. She is an advisor on Panel of Spectrum Advisors for Autism Society of America. Sharisa also has an honours degree in Psychology and Sociology, having studied at Denver University. She was featured in the Autism documentary ‘Loving Lampposts’ and is a well known figure on social media.

Jan explained to me that Sharisa requires constant supervision and went on to say:

“She also needs a trusted person beside her to ease her communication,  Sharisa has been a tireless and award-winning  advocate for the rights of all people with disabilities for the past 24 years, and has assessed people with communication difficulties/needs and presented keynotes, panels and trainings throughout the USA and Canada.  She’s past president of AUTCOM – The autism National Committee, past member of the Colorado Disabilities planning”.  

I asked Jan what happened that day?

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  1. my son Curtis was placed in an instution when he was 18…he is now 31…it took all of those years to get him out…..someone in this community decicded because he is non verbal and had behaviors that he needed to be locked up and that he was dumb and had no idea of what he wanted or even needed…… I finally got him back in our town…but they will not allow him to come home…he lives in what use to be called a group home……he cant even live in a host home….his option is the place he is in or an institution…..I feel as if he was stolen from me….and with out money for a good attorney I cannot get him back…..

    • Planet Autism says:

      Sabrina can you not get a private independent assessment of your son and take legal action? There must be charities out there that could help fund this if money is an issue.

  2. This is just an absolute injustice. Nightmarish. I hope that Sharisa is allowed to return to her life soon.

  3. Dena Payne says:

    I can think of only one reason to learn how to communicate verbally. To teach the “verbal” to use the other 93% of their communication skills. But, no they think there is something wrong with them because they are unable to use this 7%?! As long as one thinks there is something wrong with them they should not expect others to not agree with them.
    I for one am excited as more and more of these teachers come forward, I know they will prevail! They must start asking for the environment they need to be as they are and stop trying to fit in with what is not for them.

  4. alice niedelman says:

    i cant believe another injustice to sharisa. omg. we think of you often and speak to many about sharisa and what she has been though in her life. i know you parents are watching over her. they always worried about her.. good luck with this latest issue with sharia\sa and may her life become a very happy one.. best regards alice and steve

  5. Danny Melvin says:

    Dear Mr. Kochmeister,

    I am outraged as Hell about what’s happened to Sharisa. Did they determine that she’s non-communicative and/or mentally incompetent by simply taking away her devices? I have written an article in my newsletter after interviewing her, and I may have some old transcripts from communications that we’ve had. There must be plenty of evidence of the work that she’s done. Let me know if I can provide you with any assistance.