The parents of a child with any sort of physical or mental disability live a life-long sentence. As long as you have your child you're always be wondering what if they hadn't been born, or developed their affliction. What did my innocent child do to deserve this? What did we parents do to deserve this? Why my child? Why him/her? Why us?
You can ask all you want, but there generally are no answers. None that will provide comfort, anyway.
I speak from first hand experience. My younger brother at four years of age was diagnosed as mentally retarded. Then, with advances in medicine and diagnosis came new names, mentally challenged, trainable mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, then years later autistic and then he was tagged as having Asperger's Syndrome. But giving his condition a title didn't make life any easier.
Now 60, by brother is physically like anyone else his age -- you'd not know or suspect anything unusual about him -- until he opened his mouth. Then you'd realize that you were talking to perhaps a 10 or 12 year old child on an emotional level. Intellectually he's a savant. He read a Spanish/English dictionary one time through, and now knows every Spanish word and it's English meaning. He can't speak the language, but his memory is such that he remembers everything.
Yet just like in Rain Man, there are certain things he can and can't handle. Change is one of those challenges. He's Mr. Routine. If anything becomes out of the ordinary, he'll have a meltdown. Not physically a threat to himself or others, just a total emotional quagmire, lugubrious confusion.
Growing up he never had a friend. Never. And he was used and abused by the local kids. So anxious to be accepted, to be their friend and liked by them, he'd do anything they told him.
You can imagine the hurt and pain that resulted in -- both to him and those who loved him.
On one occasion the front bell rang. My mother opened the door and standing there, with dog poop in his mouth and smeared all over his face was my brother. While my mother went into shock, she saw the other kids scamper away, laughing and shouting "He ate dog shit, he ate dog shit!" as they fled.
So pain goes deep when thinking about the plight of any handicapped child for me. As I've gotten older, I've certainly learned to cope and be tolerant of others who aren't as enlightened as humanity requires.
My heart was crushed and empathy oozed when I read the Raw Story:
Parents of autistic teen arrested in undercover drug sting sue school district
Police used a mentally challenged, special needs student as a shill in a marijuana sting, then arresedt him. They played on the boy's disability... and for what?
If you don't want your stomach turned, don't go on any farther. The video is below if you have the fortitude to watch it. But in it you're going to hear how a 17 year old autistic boy came home from his first day in high school this year with startling news. He had made a friend in art class. A friend. Something he never had before. He was the happiest he'd ever been. And his parents, stunned by this news, had a ray of hope for the first time. Was their boy on the road to a seemingly normal life?
Over a few weeks, the two boys retained their "friendship". The new friend, according to the parents:
...pressured their lonely and vulnerable son with more than 60 text messages over about three weeks into buying half a joint from a homeless man.
The mentally challenged boy felt he was doing wrong but if it meant he could keep his friendship, he'd do it. The normal kid said they couldn't be friends anymore if he didn't buy a second joint. Reluctantly the challenged boy did buy the joint for his friend. When he handed it over, the normal boy slapped handcuffs on the autistic kid and arrested him. He wasn't a friend or even a real student. He was an undercover cop who used this autistic child in a sting, then arrested him for breaking the law.
The parents weren't even notified that their boy had been put into jail. They had to discover that hours later on their own.
Is this what police work has resulted to? This whole sting netted 22 students, most of them special needs kids. They were used. Want to see the disgusting whole story:
Since his arrest, the autistic boy has relapsed. He's regressed and all because the police in Temecula California and the school department needed to nab some non-violent, victim-less "criminals." These criminals are of their own making.
Is this what police investigations and sting operations are all about? If so, shame on them.
It's the crime against humanity that the police should be charged with. This boy and the others who were co-opted into this sting will bear the scars of this for a lifetime. Perhaps they'd never have lived full, productive, lives. But like my brother, who I love dearly, they'd have had a chance. Now who knows?