I've always wondered what my brother in law, Bil's life might have been like if only he had been born today instead of in the 1950's.
An autism advocate once told me "don't dwell on the past. Only think about the future. What's done, s done." But, nevertheless, I wonder.
What if my mother in law's concerns about her son had been addressed and not ignored?
What if her son had been evaluated when he wasn't staring to talk, instead of blaming her for it? Or when he showed other behaviors that weren't anything like what her older children had done, at the same age.
What if the United States, in the early 1960's, had Child Find?
" Child Find requires school districts to have a process for identifying and evaluating children who may need special education and related services, such as counseling or speech therapy.
Even infants and toddlers can be evaluated. They could then receive
help for learning disabilities and developmental delays through the
government’s early intervention
programs. These programs help parents find out if their young children
are on track. Then, if needed, the programs can connect families with
appropriate services early in the child’s life."
But Child Find, and IDEA (guaranteeing children with disabilities, a Free, Appropriate, Public Education) did not exist. And Bil did not get the help, the therapies, he needed. Instead, he got bullied. And, although he tried to go to college, he quickly floundered and had to leave.
He spent years and years working for less than minimum wage at a sheltered workshop.
He's never had a romantic interest.
He's missed out on so much.
So here we are now, as he approaches age 60.
I can't help it. I don't take that advocate's advice. I've always wondered. How could things have been different? What contributions might Bil have made to our world?
I just can't help it, although it does neither him or me any good.
Come join Corinne, at Everyday Gyaan, and post at #FridayReflections.