“Bridge Over Troubled Water” was one of Brian White’s favorite songs. As with many autistic children, the first son of Richard and Margaret White enjoyed listening to music. “The music had a calming effect on Brian,” recalls Richard. “He would sit for hours and just listen to the music.”
From Brian’s earliest days, Margaret knew her son needed special attention but unfortunately, little was known about autism at that time and it was difficult to obtain the special attention that Brian needed. Public schools were not equipped to educate autistic children and there were no special schools or programs in the area.
Even the medical community was ill-equipped to care for autistic children and so when Brian was suffering from appendicitis, his condition went undiagnosed. Born in 1969, he died at the tender age of seven.
Fortunately, much research has been done on autism over the past 40 years and there are many treatment and support programs today for autistic children and their families. Interestingly, several of the programs for autism use music as studies have shown that in addition to its educational value, music for children with autism has a physiological benefit as well. It appears that young Brian may have been ahead of his time.
In loving remembrance of their son, and to help families of special needs children access available services, Richard and Margaret created Brian’s Fund in 2007. They, along with their children, will actively participate in the selection of the charity to benefit from Brian’s Fund. “It will help our family to help other families to access quality programs in Brian’s name,” said Richard.