I often wonder what would have happened to my brother if he'd have had different parents. I doubt he would be anywhere near as able as he is nowadays.
Many parents would have listened to the doctors who were describing him as a lost cause, and treated him accordingly. Thankfully mine were determined that, even if the best of his ability was minimal, he would attain it. And in the end Nick did more than this - he excelled.
Case in point; when we were trying to place him in his current living arrangement, he was considered at first glance to be too able to qualify. It was only when he was fully assessed that it became clear that he was in fact profoundly disabled.
The reason for this confusion was down to Nick's demeanour. He had been brought up in a household where he was encouraged to behave appropriately, to speak properly, and to use a full vocabulary. All of which served to conceal many of his limitations.
It took many years to get him to this point though.
When we were told he wouldn't walk my mum started working his limbs and tapping his reflexes until he slowly began to crawl.
When we were told he wouldn't talk, my mum used a method found in speech therapy where something sweet like yoghurt or sugar is placed around the mouth to get the person to exercise their tongue. This worked tremendously well, and Nick's tongue went from lolling about at the side of his mouth to being much more controlled. Then by constantly speaking to him, reading to him, and playing with him, we got him to talk.
Eventually he could walk, run, play sports and chatter endlessly - something that my family are collectively very proud of.
It was around this point in his development that my jealousy of Nick dissipated somewhat. I think this was because my parents cleverly turned a situation where I could have felt left out, into a situation where I was fully involved as they enlisted me to help them look after and develop him.
I remember fetching nappies and baby wipes for Nick, and being given the unusual job of throwing soft toys at him to get him to blink and react. It sounds bad when you say it, but it really helped to make him more aware of his surroundings and fine tune his reactions.
All of this caused me to feel very responsible for Nick, and I have remained fiercely protective of him to this day.