I am a 52 year old deafblind Asperger. Which is old enough to be 'educated' (or rather dumped at) a special school. It wasn't my parents fault. They just acted in good faith to bad advice. They also removed me from 'special school' four years later when they realised how bad the standard of education was there.
Fortunately these 'special schools' is a thing of the past. Most of the children who went there would be educated in mainstream nowadays. Which is a good thing for most disabled children.
But not deaf or hard of hearing children, who are often still expected to make do without being taught sign language. Just as I was. Just because a certain Samuel Howe wrote a book stating that the deaf should NOT be taught together or with the use of sign language and certainly NOT be permitted to marry. He went so far compare the deaf to prisoners who would pick up bad habits if they were allowed to mingle.
This is the man Alexander Graham Bell took his policy from. He is the reason deaf education still isn't very good. He believed speech set us above other life forms. He was wrong. Literacy is. Yet literacy is sadly lacking when a deaf child is orally taught to the exclusion of gaining good literacy skills.There is only so many hours in a day and when most of those hours are spent in speech therapy literacy skills are not given the attention they need and the dismal education standards of a lot of deaf children reflect this failure . Th literacy rate among the Deaf was actually better before Milan where the Deaf were stripped of their rights to communicate via sign language.
As a baby I am told I spoke at the usual time before stopping altogether at the age of one until the age of 3. Only this was more due to autism than deafness. I wasn't tested for deafness until I was about 4 and I was told that I had a 40 decibel hearing loss. I was enrolled at a mainstream primary school but it was considered I wasn't doing too well so I was transferred to 'special school'. The school report that decided the matter was kept and later used to diagnose me with Asperger syndrome at the age of 30. It's very unfortunate that the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome is gone. Because Hans Asperger was born in the wrong time and place where failure to comply got you shipped to a concentration camp but he did do his best for his patients and he never joined the NAZI party. He was struggling to keep the NAZI at arms length. (Neurotribe by Steve Silberman has a chapter covering him).
I consider Ivon Lovaas a much more shady character. He was also the guy who introduced ABA as well as conversion therapy for homosexual children. Whilst conversion therapy (that implied torture NOT discussing one's problems) is on the way out ABA is most regrettably in use. There is a school that still electrocute there autistic pupils
Luckily I wasn't subjected to much of that. The first teacher I had at special school was awful. I was sent to the corner with the other 'naughty' children every single day for not eating my dinner, and other such 'crimes' . some of which I wasn't even aware of. Luckily I didn't have to put up with her for more than one year. The others simply left me alone. I was ignored but at least I wasn't being punished like I was that first year. I have heard horror stories about partially sighted children being locked in the dark and other such abuse. On the other hand I also heard bad things about mainstream and blind people who think their specialised education at schools for the blind were better.
After a brief stay at a mainstream primary school and 3 years in a mainstream high school where the better teachers wrote on the blackboard for me. I had to leave when the bullying got too bad.
The next school was a partial hearing unit who had an oral only approach. I did better socially because there were other deaf kids. They were mainly hard of hearing but we all could have me benefited from sign language. Having to struggle to decipher lip patterns and faulty sounds most of us could pick up. This is why I feel the Deaf and hard of hearing NEED sign language. Sign language is also beneficial for autistic children too. So learning baby signs from the start would have been best.
I am afraid I cannot remember all that I was subjected to but that only happened later. (Read 'shouting at leaves' by someone who remembers all the details of her past since mine is a blur of bad dreams and VERY strong feelings against ABA.)
For me it was just a question of being told by my parents: "we believe you are Autistic now stop behaving like one." And your brother Charlie's death was a good thing because he was disabled. Not the sort of thing you tell a disabled child to make them feel welcome!!!!
I also had an aunt called Chantal who also had an under active thyroid, learning difficulties and mental health issues. Nobody ever specified what they were except she hit people, broke things and was in the habit of going about without any clothes on. When mother spoke about her it was in the same way she spoke about a dog my grandparents once kept who bit people. I was advised to keep away from both of them. I was never around to witness any of her tantrums since mother was quick to bundle me off to a great aunt whenever she had any.