Archive for Down syndrome

Parents & Courts Condone and Encourage Child Bullying And Harassment


Levi Null

So this is what society has  come down to. Encourage bullying and terror.

Say you're blessed enough to become a parent. Sadly, your child is born different -- with a disability. Perhaps autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourettes or one of many other afflictions.  Wish, will and pray as you might, you hope that by the time they reach school age, they'll be well enough to attend. To be as much like one of the other kids as possible.

You get to the point that you believe this will be a solution. Perhaps integration into a social environment of school peers will be the panacea. At least, you figure your child will be protected, be kept safe.

But what happens when you realize your prayer isn't answer and hope is not a viable option? You find yourself up sh**s creek without a paddle. You've been deserted. And not just by the kids (who we know can be cruel) but by the teachers and the school officials as well.

How do you stand by when you report your child's abuse to the school and they side with the bullies? How about when they even blame your abused child as bringing it on himself?

Then you, as the heartbroken parent find you're faced with public ostracism over Facebook, blaming you for your child's behavior. Does this seem fair? Just? Right? How do you think you feel when you find the bully kids posting videos on the Internet of  their abuse which also shows teachers in the background witnessing this harassment and just turning their backs?

The cherry on this disgusting sundae comes when the parents of the bullies defend their kid's offensive actions on TV news, and they get hundreds of responses, applauding their support of their bullying kids.

Watch this story of 13 year old Levi Null, from the Melcher-Dallas school district in Texas.

The message here is that sadly, ignorance and inhumanity is passed down from generation to generation. What we do as parents matters. As the parent of both a boy and a girl, I know how hard it was to reprimand them, and I did it sparingly but judiciously. I did it to make them better children. But not doing anything or worse, condoning such bad behavior leads to a total deterioration of society.

Just over a month ago I reported on a 12 year old girl, Rebecca Sedwick in a post on how cyber bullying led her to climb up a grain silo and jump to her death.

HERE'S AN UPDATE on this related story. The two kids who drove Sedwick to her suicide were suspended from school but just yesterday, the court made their determination on any charges, reported by the New York Daily News:

Charges against two Florida girls accused of bullying a 12-year-old former classmate to her eventual suicide will be dropped, local authorities announced Wednesday.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd confirmed Wednesday evening that two of Rebecca Sedwick's accused cyberbullies, 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw and a 13-year-old girl, will have their charges of aggravated stalking dropped.

Is this the fair signal to send in addressing an epidemic of harassment and bullying?

Parents condone it. Courts refuse to condemn it? Buckle your seat belts. We're in for the proverbial bumpy ride.


Video Mid Day Distraction- Dog determined to make friends with boy with down syndrome


Awwww. His mom says he has a problem with physical contact, but the dog doesn't care. Via. Longer version here.


Seeing A Movie Twice Took His Breath Away, Permanently


Police judgement

Can police judgment be trusted? Are they capable of making good decisions? We know they get away with murder, literally many times. Generally this is the result of an active pursuit when their lives or the lives of others are on the line. They train arduously for these situations and have to make snap decisions. Sometimes innocents get hurt.

Just a year ago, in trying to apprehend a murder suspect, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said nine innocent bystanders were wounded in the Empire State Building shooting had been hit with police gunfire. It was a dangerous situation and stuff happens.

But since when does sitting in your seat watching a movie justify police coming over and killing you?

Sound outrageous? Ask the family of Ethan Saylor, of Frederick's County, Maryland. He was a victim of Down's Syndrome. But that's not what killed him. It was three off-duty policemen. The unarmed, handicapped man had gone to see a movie with his caretaker. While the aide was going to get the car after the film, Ethan wandered back into the theater and sat down, to watch the movie again.

What happened next is horrific. According to WUSA, Channel 9

Twenty-six-year-old Saylor and his aide went to the movies in January to see Zero Dark Thirty. They bought two tickets. When it was over, the aide left to get the car, Ethan went back inside because he wanted to see the film again. He did not have a ticket for the second showing. That's when three off-duty Frederick's County Sherriff's deputies removed him.

As we now know, he died after a hand-cuffed struggle and fall.

What made these three OFF DUTY sheriffs take it upon themselves to harass and ultimately kill this obviously handicapped man? They used the same kind of judgment that is being rightfully vilified as the reason NYC's 'stop and frisk' laws are being struck down or put on hold. It's profiling. And it's wrong. If Ethan Saylor wasn't a down-syndrome man would these cops have harassed him?

Here's how wrong it is -- an innocent man is dead. And his killers? Off Scott-free. And as it turns out,

Now, we are finding out, he may not have even needed a ticket at all. Maryland Delegate and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Heather Mizeur is fighting for justice for Ethan, "It turns out that under the ADA laws, a caretaker doesn't need to have a ticket with someone with a disability at a movie theater anyway, so the two tickets that were purchased for Ethan and his caretaker would have been sufficient for him to stay a second time."

I'm not against the police. I'm against their occasional brutality and abuse of power. I've been a victim of it, so I know what I'm talking about. I also know that most of the abuse doesn't get reported for fear of retribution. So anytime I hear of the police being given even more discretion in how they behave, and the lack of criminal oversight, I'm concerned.

I hope you are too.

Ethan Saylor's family needs help -- not money. They want justice for their late family member. And you can do something about it. They're circulating a petition just asking for a full investigation. Unarmed man. No threat to others. Harassed because he's handicapped. No punishment for the three officers. What's wrong with this picture.

If you're incensed the way I am, join me and sign Ethan's Petition.

I want us to support our police. In general they do a great job. Let's not condemn all for the evils of the few. But doing nothing invites you to be next.


"Sarah Palin...wears Down syndrome as a badge"




My pals over at Palingates emailed me with a link to their story about the difference between SchlepKid McShowMom and other parents of Down syndrome children.

The email went on to say that the other parents' stories induced tears while renewing their "sadness for poor little Trig." They asked if I'd share their post, which I will do gladly. Actually, I'll provide excerpts. There 's a lot there, and you should pop over to read all of it:

Readers of Palingates send in many links of interest and one of them took me to a little gem of a blog, written by the mother of a child with Down syndrome who's roughly the same age as Trig Palin. Catherine Just is a photographer from LA and she has documented her pregnancy with Max, his diagnosis and his progress in delightful photos and videos. Coincidentally, Max was born on the 8th month of Catherine's pregnancy. [...]

Catherine went beyond "talking" about Max. She and her husband Jerry took action. They wanted information, joined support groups, got in touch with other parents in the same situation in order to figure out how to meet Max's needs, how to offer him the best opportunities to fulfill his potential. [...]

Sarah Palin never says anything about support groups or how she counts on the help of Down syndrome organizations in the great state of Alaska. Considering that Trig gives her the credentials as a "super mom" and that she loves to blow her own trumpet on any possible occasion, it seems very odd that, apart from the usual platitudes, Sarah doesn't say anything that would show real commitment to Trig's progress. [...]

We heard about Trig's haircuts, how he applauds each new day, how he needs protecting from Andrea Friedman and the Family Guy team. We followed the saga of the desecration of the iconic image of mother and child love when Eddie Burke's face was photoshopped into a picture of Sarah with Trig. In Going Rogue we learned that her sister Heather is the nurturing one, that God must have chosen the Palins for Trig because he knew what he was doing, that Trig will forever be the dependent little brother to his siblings.

What we have never heard was how much she values networking with other parents, what wonderful work the Down syndrome groups in Alaska do for the families dealing with a child with special needs and how they helped with Trig or how much she owes them for their support when she felt overwhelmed.

Sarah Palin made a donation of $1,000 to the National Association for Down Syndrome on the last possible day before her Pac report was due. That's how much the "You'll have a friend and advocate in the White House" DS mom did for the cause. That money was donated to her Pac by her followers, it didn't come out of the reported $12,000,000 she raked in from her book, TV deals and speeches in recent months. [...]

Catherine pointed out to me that actor John C McGinley, who plays one of the doctors in the series Scrubs, is the father of another Max, who also has Down syndrome. John was just as overwhelmed as any other parent when he learned that Max had DS. Did he say Max is an adorable miracle and stop at that? No. He and his wife tried to learn everything they could about the condition, joined groups, used his fame to promote events to raise money and awareness about DS; John C. gave numerous interviews and wrote articles where he pulled no punches regarding the irresponsible use of the word "retard." [...]

A bunch of unknown people do their best for their children and hope to raise awareness about their conditions, share what they know with others, giving tips and linking to helpful organizations. [...]

Please note that I refer to parents of children with special needs simply as parents of children with special needs. They don't like to define themselves or their babies by their diagnoses. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, wears Down syndrome as a badge, using Trig and his condition to serve her own skewed agenda. That's why I refer to her as a "DS mom." She likes to point out that she "chose" to have Trig, knowing he was going to be born with Down syndrome. So did many other parents. The big difference is that they saw the child first and the condition was secondary in their choices. Some other parents were not aware of DS before the birth of their babies, but again, they fell in love with their babies, not their diagnoses. They see themselves as parents and don't feel special because their children are a bit different.

Sarah Palin is the most famous "DS mom" in the country. But apart from parading Trig all over the place in inappropriate attire, spouting some soundbites in her speeches and giving a token donation to NADS, she has done absolutely nothing for children with special needs and their families. She uses her Facebook page to attack people and not much else. [...]

What's stopping her from creating a Facebook group dedicated to sharing stories about Trig, how he's making progress thanks to early intervention programs, giving links to resources, having a forum where other parents could tell their stories, talk about their triumphs and their struggles?

If she would put a fraction of the energy she uses to attack people (in a very aggressive manner) into promoting a group dedicated to children with special needs instead, she could make a greater impact than all the little known blogs put together.

There is very little to add (other than the parts I left out).  Palingates is right on target. McShowMom's heart is divided equally between what she needs... and the special needs of her child.

That's all you really need to know about her. Talk is cheap, and SchlepKid McShowMom talks a lot.