Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Special Needs Adults are Not Trash

Warning:  this is a rant, and not my usual happy posting.  I was surfing the web this morning and I came across this article.   An Illinois woman drove her adult special needs daughter to another state, let her out at a bar. Then left her.  She left her and drove back home.

She. Left.  Her. 

The poor girl didn't have any ID, and she had a vocabulary of maybe 40 words. She didn't know her name or where she lived. 

Reading that story made me angry.  

I understand that it is a tough, thankless, never ending job to parent a child with special needs.  It is not easy being a parent of a 'normal' kid, but add special needs to the mix and the difficulty is often quadrupled. It is a battle.  It is definitely not a job for the weak or the faint of heart.   That your child is a special needs child, however, does not change the fact that you are a parent and that is your child.  You are responsible for that bundle of joy.  And make no mistake--no matter what, a child IS a bundle of joy.  Pure joyfulness.  Maybe not all the time, but that joy is there, if you are willing to look for it.  Every child, just like every adult,  has a right to be loved for who they are and cherished their entire life, not just when it is convenient or only when the child is behaving.   

I want to give this Illinois mother the benefit of the doubt.  I want to say that she had good intentions, and love for this daughter of hers, for at least 19 years.  But I don't know if that is true, because the facts don't support that.  Her mother didn't feel like caring for her any more, so she just dumped her.  Dumped her, like an evil, foul person abandons a dog on the side of the road. She dumped her without any identification in another state. If this mother didn't want to deal with her kid as an adult, she could have done it differently.

Every state has programs to help adults with special needs. There are group homes, there are advocates, there are work programs, etc., all created just for special needs adults.  The schools are responsible for beginning the conversation with parents about what needs to happen to make every special needs child as independent as they can be.  I know this because I give parents a packet of information at their IEP meeting that has names of agencies and phone numbers and whether there is a waiting list. We start giving these packets out at age 12.  My point is that the information, and the help, is there if you look for it. 

This woman, who was blessed with a child, dumped that gift like she was trash.  Right now I hate her a little for that.


  1. I sometimes wish it was harder for us to have kids. This makes my heart hurt. A lot.

    1. My only hope is that this girl never has any awareness of what her mother did to her. That would make it even more terrible.

  2. You hate her a little? Then you are a better woman than I am. Another state? In a bar? Because that seemed like a safe haven?


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