More behind the curtain!!!
My brother is one of those individuals. Unless you meet Greg it is really hard to understand what shapes his disability, but I will try to explain things to the best of MY ability. When Greg was small he had a severe delay in speech, many people thought that he would never speak, he was even entered into a ASL program. Eventually speech started to develop, but it was garbled..now, most people think he is from a foreign country, as while he is understandable, it is also 'not normal'.
He has graduated high school, a horrific time for my parents, where it seemed as though they had constant fights for services. He graduated high school at a second grade or lower level for reading and math abilities. He learned to tie his shoes when he was 14. He doesn't know his left from his right. He has no friends. There were many tests given to Greg and because of the language, reading, mathmatics barriers, he scored as MR.
But, this young man is exceptionally bright. He has full awareness of his life, the people in it, and his disabilities. He has a outstanding knowledge of military history, so much so that he picked out a Higgin's (sp?) boat that was floating in the harbor the other day. How many people out there know what a Higgin's boat is, and what it was used for?
In High School, he got a job at the local grocery store bagging groceries. He hated it. In all honesty, who would enjoy bagging groceries for an entire 8 hour shift? But, my parents reinforced the notion of not quitting etc. etc. and he stayed on. After graduation, my parents were in contact with really the only agency which tries to help individuals like Greg find jobs etc. They couldn't understand why he was unhappy with working at the grocery store "but, Greg, it is a great job...you should be happy you have a job." I kid not.
But Greg and my parents didn't give up. He just got a job at the local hospital working in the kitchen area. He doesn't prep food, he doesn't serve food, he washes tables. He actually does like this job, but for this job, they want him to have a job coach. A 4-year-old knows how to clean his/her place, but Greg needs 'coaching' on it, he hates her. Here is the real kicker, they hired him, made him train for two full 40 hour weeks...but now he has no shifts assigned to him. None this week, 3-4hrs. next week, and 1-4hr. the following week. Was this a pity hire?
Overall, my point is this. Something has to be done in this country so that all people, even groups of people we don't normally think about have a fair shot at doing something fufilling. There is no state support, and there are no real agencies out there. It is like we have given up on these individuals, or don't just don't completely understand their situations. Happy with bagging groceries for the remainder of his life? Please, who, in all honesty, would be happy doing that forever? All I know is this, it is very disheartening the struggle that families have to go through, the services they are denied, and all the money they spend. When my parents get too old, the caring of and helping with my brother will be handed to me. I am quite ready to accept the challenge of helping him find a meaningful path in life....I just wish there was some support in place already.
I know this mainly has to do with the lack of funding in every state...it is just sad. Please let me know what you think..if anyone has more information to share, by all means. It would be great to get some kind of discussion going.