Disability Services helps Lawton Woman cope with PTSD

Published: May. 18, 2021 at 8:09 AM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - For 26-year-old Ember Malicoat, life hasn’t always been easy. Her childhood was filled with so much family chaos and violence that her father was eventually executed in prison, her mother abandoned her family and Ember and her sisters were placed in state run foster care.

In group and foster homes Ember found herself clenching her jaw at night, tightening her fists, self harming, having emotional outbursts and panic attacks and not knowing why.

“I was diagnosed with PTSD because of everything that had happened with my dad and my family. I was diagnosed with that when I was about thirteen or fourteen years old,” she said.

Until then, she said, she had felt completely out of control. Two years ago Embers’ PTSD diagnoses helped secure disability benefits for her from DHS’s Developmental Disability Services (DDS), where she met Lawton based community access coordinator, Latrisha Barnes.

“She’s amazing,” Barnes said. “From reading her chart to getting know her two years later ... you wouldn’t believe what you had read.”

The women said the difference maker is a combination of medication management for Embers PTSD, therapy and the right community support.

DDS Division Director, Beth Scrutchins, said most people don’t realize that the department covers mental illness in addition to physical disabilities. She said Ember is one of about 8100 Oklahomans currently receiving benefits through disability services and is an example of how success can be achieved when stigma is overlooked.

“For any of us, if we have support tailored to our needs we can be successful and that’s what this program does and that’s what we’ve been able to provide for Ember and she’s thriving,” Scrutchins said.

Ember works at a local McDonalds restaurant in Lawton where she was recently recognized as “Employee of the Month.”

To learn more about OKDHS’ Developmental Disability Services or how to apply for services visit

In Lawton, for 7News, I’m Nazarene Harris.

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