When I grew up one of my best friends had an aunt and uncle that lived by us. There were a dozen kids in their family, one was the same age as us, all of their kids were fairly close in age a year or two apart. One of their oldest daughters was severely developmentally disabled, she would never mentally progress past maybe a four or a five year olds level of intelligence. In other aspects of her life she was more like a two or three year old, mannerisms, behaviors, etc. She was a nice person, a sweet spirit, she wasn’t ever violent, she was just severely developmentally delayed and always would be. There wasn’t any explanation as for why she was born this way, she just was.
The family excepted her and loved her and did the best that they could. Well a few kids later they had another daughter, she started to exhibit some of the same behaviors and mannerisms. I can only assume that they took her to see some Doctors, and that the Doctors told them that she had the same thing as their older daughter. So now they had two daughters with severe developmental delays. The two daughters spent all of their time together, they were always together.
The older sibling was a little bigger because she was older. The younger of these two started to become violent, as a teen if she became irritated or angry she would get violent, break things. This was something that the older one never did. The other kids all grew up went to college, got married and moved on. These two sisters stayed with the parents as long as they could take care of them. Eventually the Mom passed and the Dad couldn’t take care of them all on his own anymore. They moved them to the State Developmental Center.
There were major problems there, the younger of the two sisters could do things that she shouldn’t have been able to do. She could unlock doors, and take things apart. Things weren’t adding up, she was becoming a danger to herself and others. The staff couldn’t keep up with her and also couldn’t understand how she was able to do some of what she was doing. It even lead to investigations as to weather members of the staff were doing some of these things, cameras vindicated them. The cameras also raised more questions about her.
To provide her with the best care they decided to re evaluate her. The Doctors found that she was way more intelligent than they ever thought, she wasn’t ever even developmentally delayed in the first place. In fact she was actually a genius. Her intelligence was at the extreme end of the the spectrum, just the opposite end that anyone had ever thought. The problem was behavioral, one of the most extreme behavioral disorders ever recorded! She had always been left with the older sister who really was so she imitated her behaviors. Since she was really delayed she acted like it, the younger one imitated this. It was so far gone it was past the point of return. The Developmental Center was not the right place for her, she ended up at the State Mental Hospital. That is where she lives today. This family loved all of their children, they didn’t know that this was what they were doing. This wasn’t what they wanted for her, but it happened.
Those Doctors were wrong, wrong in a big way about the younger sister. She could have been anything, she could have done anything with her life. She could have been a Mother, an Astronaut, Teacher, Doctor, Lawyer, anything. She is none of those things. Doctors aren’t always right, sometimes the most convenient explanation isn’t the correct one. Kids will imitate their siblings, that part is normal. This family had one daughter who was severely delayed so to make the assumption that they had another one wasn’t so far off. Problem was it was the worst thing. This is a true story. It is an extreme example of what can happen, I saw it happen. At the time it all seemed like she was just like the older one, she really wasn’t she just took on all of those behaviors. When she was sent to school she was sent to a special school with other kids with delays, she acted the part and fit in. I don’t know if there was a time when this could have been reversed, if there was an age of going past the point of no return. I do know how it all turned out though. A cautionary tale…