General Question

raven860's avatar

How can I help my brother?

Asked by raven860 (2163points) November 12th, 2012

My brother was born with a below average brain/skull/head size and we were immediately told by the doctor about his condition. What it means is he is a bit slower than the average kids when it comes to his education but he is otherwise a good and reasonable kid. He is now in high-school and quickly turning into an adult. My parents tried to do what was practical for us in terms of his education but schools within our budget cannot provide us with a plan that caters to his needs. He currently attends special education classes that truly don’t challenge him best and he mostly learns things for everyday life that any adult could teach him ( managing money, using public transportation, counting change etc).

He has an idea about where he stands in society but I feel it may be tough for him to accept or a serious blow to his ego in the coming years when he realizes his life might not be as normal as he would like ( I don’t believe so but I feel like I must prepare for such).

The main concern is what his future can be in terms of a career or a job. My parents have long thought of starting a business ( like a Subway or a Burger place) to help him out but I am not sure how viable that would be with mortgage and all. I just wanted to know from you guys if you knew any learning centers that could help him or any ideas for career paths he could take with which he could help himself. Also, what do you think I can do for him?

All your responses are much appreciated.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

Shippy's avatar

Have your parents thought of home schooling? I’m not sure how it works in your area or country but could this be a possibility for him and your family? I would imagine that being challenged or disabled in some way does tend to make a family place limits on the person.

In reality though, there are no limits. Just limited thinking. Since the world is filled with various types of people, from so called able bodied to disabled, or even the aged for example. These people do find each other, they find love, friendship and companionship. Friendship is important to every one and also helps us affirm ourselves in greater society. I would imagine this would be important to any human being. Not just those that are a little different.
Also check on your labor laws, some huge corporations have recommended slots for people who are disabled in some way. There should also be workshops in your area where skills can be learned, and later turned into employment.

I think the best approach is to treat him just like anyone else. The brain is a strange organ and does grow new areas, if pushed. Learning never ends.

zenvelo's avatar

You don;t say how old he is, but the school district has a legal obligation to execute an IEP (individual education plan) that meets your brothers needs and then to follow it. It may mean going to a different school or getting him independent help, but it is the school districts responsibility.

There are a lot of support groups locally and nationally to help you parents through the maze of laws and help, and support from people going through the process. And you can also get some help from a specialized skills assessment that can evaluate your brother and determine what is best suited for him in the future.

Ask his doctor for references. I only know about all this because I have friends with a child with Down’s syndrome and I saw the battle they had getting a good education for their son.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Does your brother have splinter skills or specialized skills? If so, how are those being nurtured and developed.

Ideally, your parents and any family members or community mentors willing to assist would develop any gift your brother has, enough so that he can have a job that allows him to utilize his skill set.

A fast food restaurant tends to be a poor choice for kids that lack social skills, or the ability for urgent change. Lunch crowds tend to be noisy, the food is stinky, there’s the need to make change….All of this can lead to someone with needs to become easily overwhelmed.

gailcalled's avatar

My niece has a special-needs son; the state of NY has an obligation to provide him with extra help. My niece knows what strengths and weaknesses her son has.

Has your brother been evaluated by his doctor?

zenvelo's avatar

I was speaking to a woman who does job coaching for people with disabilities. She goes to where they are working about once a month or so, and spends the day seeing how they are doing and adapting.

Her observation with working in fast food places is that the management is generally poorly skilled to handle or direct a person with disabilities; often the manger has low English skills themselves.

raven860's avatar

I don’t think he has had an evaluation done or his skill set has been recognized. It may be a long-way from a ‘skill-set’ but he does have this ability to remember everyone’s phone numbers and addresses to the point that when we ( people in the family…which happens often) forget, we depend on him.

Also he has common sense and is responsible. What I mean is he can take care of a baby ( unlike some teen who reportedly bounced a baby off a sofa for the fun of it). Lately he has been working for a cafe and serves customers coffee. I haven’t seen what all he does for myself but I think it is going okay. If you were to meet him, you wouldn’t think he is abnormal unless you engage in conversations which require extra detail.

He is 17 years old and will be 18 in May. When he was in middle school and my parents were fighting to get him better classes, the principal of the school said “what would he do by in learning regular classes”. We took him out and put him another school which apparently had a better program for him. In high-school he was given an opportunity once to enroll in regular class by taking Biology but he ended up getting a D by a few points and ( due to some poor management by the instructor) and was not allowed to participate in regular classes further on. There may be other details my parents have not told me about for that incident.

Anyway, although not homeschooling, he attended Huntington Learning Center for a few years ( costed us near $80k) over the years. It was basically for math and English but now we have stopped that since it was not very cost-effective anymore. He currently has a tutor come in and teach him math for an hour two times a week along with the life-skills classes he is taking at school.

He will be attending community college from August onward of next year. I am thinking he should take classes like History cause it is more about memorization than critical thinking.

gailcalled's avatar

My sense is that having him take liberal arts courses like History will not give him career or job skills. It will be similar to taking a mainstream Bio course and simply frustrate him even more. History requires remembering vast amounts of data and using critical thinking and analytical skills.

Try to match his skills with suitable jobs and then find courses that will train him.

Can his doctor find someone to give your brother a career inventory evaluation?

It seems as though you are being a loving sibling but without proper data.

Judi's avatar

The “I” in IEP means that he should have a program “Individualized” for HIS needs. Your parent’s need to fight for him in school. He is entitled by law to a free and APPROPRIATE education.

janbb's avatar

A friend of mine whose son has a similar problem has been working for years at a local supermarket. He seems to enjoy the job. He did go to community college for two years and enjoyed the socialization but it did not change his marketability. Of course, your brother may be higher functioning than that. I would try to find a place where he can make friends if that is possible to do.

gailcalled's avatar

@raven860: What state does your brother live in?

We have a local community where developmentally disabled folks of varying ability live.

Many of them work at our supermarket doing check-out, stocking, loading and unloading, housekeeping, etc. I have seen the same faces for several years.

Strauss's avatar

I ‘m not sure if a residential school is something you’d consider, but if it is, you may want to check out The Hunter School. I’ve heard great things about it, and they have a very good philosophy about so-called disabilities.

edit for typo

YARNLADY's avatar

He needs to have his skills, abilities and interests evaluated by a professional career counselor. That will give him the basis to make choices for his future.

hearkat's avatar

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation may also be a good resource. They are administered on the County level, and usually are located near the Unemployment office. It is an agency created for the purpose of helping people with disabilities to gain employment.

rojo's avatar

Please be aware that even when (or if) you get an IEP done, you have to fight tooth and nail to get it implemented and, even more important, stay on top of it constantly to insure that they follow through. At least, that was our experience.

YARNLADY's avatar

@rojo Your experience is the same as I have heard from many parents.

Response moderated (Spam)
raven860's avatar

Wow, so it has been 1.5 years since I asked this question. Just as an update, he was actually hired through a job fair and works at mcdonalds. He does not particularly like it but he is proud of having that job. He did it all on his own and was the first one ever in the district’s program to be hired…. hence we are very proud of him. He goes to college and it still is the same old rubbish life classes but I think it is better than what was present before. We are going to do another evaluation of his abilities soon.

hearkat's avatar

@raven860 – Thanks for the update! Even if he’s not happy with the job, it’s great to have some experience to put on applications for other jobs.

raven860's avatar

@hearkat yup, he will have had that position for a year in a few months.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther