The other day when I picked Dominic up from D11 at lunchtime to run him over to Alpine for his afternoon therapy, I had the most interesting chance encounter with a random educator. No idea what this ladies role is, but she clearly has interacted with Dominic at school over the last couple of years.
She started the conversation by saying she'd noticed how much Dominic has grown this year, and we kind of chatted about how thats what they do when you feed them, etc. Then she said that she'd specifically noticed he was attending better and talking more and that she was so pleased to see it. I could tell she was weighing her options on what she said next, tho. And that was when she shared with me that she has a 37 year old developmentally disabled daughter, who doesn't speak. She told me that she's so proud of her daughter, because she's learned how to be physically appropriate (like crossing her legs when she sits), and she independently rides the bus each day to her community based day program. That she can't work because her fine motor skills aren't there, but she stays busy. I just shook my head and told her I didn't have any idea how she did 30 years ago what I'm doing now, when the programs and support networks and awareness just weren't there. (to say nothing of the internet. I'd've been completely alone without the internet in the beginning of this journey)
And then Dominic came out ready to go.
I wish that the older generation of SPED parents were more readily available for the younger generation to turn to. They had to fight battles that paved the way for the ones we fight now. They got IDEA passed.