William Bedford

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William is a 29-year-old self-advocate living with Autism.  His journey to seek services began at the age of 5 when his mother noticed that while he was meeting many developmental milestones, his speech was delayed and his social engagement with his peers was limited.  William also experienced severe meltdowns and was unable to access the general education curriculum due to behaviors associated with sensory overload, reading comprehension, and the inability to engage with peers. At the age of 6, he received a late diagnosis of PDD NOS- Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not otherwise specified w/speech delay which was later discovered to be a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum.   Since William was diagnosed in the mid-90s services and supports were not as accessible and due to his late diagnosis, he was not able to engage in early intervention services although services were extremely limited.  He attended Chicago Public Schools through 8th-grade graduation and completed high school in the Bloom Township District where services and supports were inclusive of students with disabilities.