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The Bully & The Brat… And One Mama That Is Fighting Back.

As some know, my son has a lot of problems mentally and behaviorally (which stem from the mentally disabling aspects). And for YEARS he has been bullied. But only primarily by one particular boy.

Now another boy is in the mix. As is a girl as of late, and where this morning’s call to come down and intercede is rooted. Because my son completely shut down on his teacher and the student teacher (or whatever his area is).

So we got myself, the teacher, my son and the other person who was TRYING to handle things together and got the complete story. We (as in my son and I) talked about what he should have done (again), versus what he didn’t do. And what he wouldn’t let the adults do to rectify the situation.

Yes, my boy will be punished (at home) for how he mishandled all this and not cooperating with his authority figures, and for not coming to the phone to talk to me as requested, resulting in my having to go down there.

But the girl is also in trouble for starting crap and calling my kid names and making fun of him.

Hell, I’m so classy and I’m so awesome, I have the balls to not be ashamed of leaving the room and crying in front of the teacher. Again. I’m just sick of this BS. Add in embarrassment and the fact that once more, I felt like I failed him, and it’s a mess of reasons behind why I broke down.

And people are wondering WHY our youth are offing themselves?

Gee! Let’s take a look at how them bully kids are being raised in a home of intolerance and no teaching of respecting those that are different from themselves in terms of disability (of ANY nature). It’s not just the teen and pre-teen GLBT group.

Then, opportunity knocked on my imaginary door… Have (one of the few of them) bullys in room, take a chance. That’s how good I am. I don’t have to talk TO you, for you to know I am referring to you.

Let’s hope my conversation with the brat being present sinks in. It was dealing with the one boy that has picked on my son for YEARS in this school. And now, they are BOTH going to the same Middle School next year.

I even made certain the little demon heard about MY OWN problems with being made fun of as a kid.

I KNOW he listened because if I turned to glance at him, he turned his eyes from me like he wasn’t paying attention. And he now knows I will NOT tolerate it, am utterly sick of it, and this is DAMAGING my child.

Believe me, bullying today is on an entirely different level than it was in my days as a kid with physical differences. I would NOT want to be a kid in today’s society.

Judgment

Those of you that have a child with Special Needs knows exactly what I speak of.

It can be judgment from a stranger (most usual form). Or from a friend. Judgment can happen even with families.

Judgment is defined as… (via dictionaryreference.com)

noun

1.

an act or instance of judging.
2.

the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
3.

the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity: The major was decorated for the judgment he showed under fire.
4.

the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.
5.

the opinion formed: He regretted his hasty judgment.
    The type of judgment that we are talking about today is within the definition of choice numbers ONE, and of FOUR.
    Although, the basis of judgment more often than not, is primarily upon choice number ONE.
    Because most “outsiders” will not know (even within the family circle) TRULY what life is like for our children, or for us as their parents and their caregivers.
    My son, even at almost eleven years old, is a “safety risk”. He has no “I better be certain it is safe” button. He has a “‘wow, that’s cool and I want to go to it’ button”. He can only see what he wants. Not what it takes to get it. Including safety. I worry every time he wants to walk to school (which is not even five minutes from my home). Mainly because the section of road we live on is high-traffic early in the morning. But I have to let him be independent. If I see him crossing the street in the wrong manner, then after school, when he gets home (via the bus), we have (yet another) talk about safety when crossing the street.
    I have had him walking with us in the mall, and he suddenly is far back behind, because something caught his eye and he ran off to check it out.
    Because of things like that, and because of an incident at a huge Theme Park, over in the water area, I for a good while used harnesses on my child. I never have had to do so with the two girls. But then again, they don’t have the problems that he does, and they are really good about listening, staying close and asking to check something out or to go somewhere.
     The times that I have used the harness, be it a wrist one, or one that straps around the chest and over the head, I have gotten “the look” of disgust and judgment. And I say, KEEP ON JUDGING! You have no idea about my child. You don’t know the dangers he can get in to. You have no clue as to how fast he can honestly be.
      To judge ANY parent, based solely on what you see, and nothing on what is known (which in most cases you don’t due to not knowing the people at all), to me is demeaning and rude. And it’s something that sadly, millions of us mothers and fathers must endure every single day. Because people just don’t understand. Some don’t WANT to understand. Some cannot begin to. Not until they sadly have a situation like I have had. And we aren’t talking about a grocery store or a neighbor’s house.
      My son ran off from us at a Theme Park that has a Water Park built in. We were in the section of the Water Park for the younger kids, playing laughing. Back then, my youngest was a baby. About eight months old at the time. In one moment, when both my husband and I turned for a brief second, he was gone. We called and called for him, only to find him nowhere. That’s when panic set in. Next thing I know, we have Park Security, ourselves and a couple of strangers helping us to look for my son.
       Thankfully, he was found (by Dad) not too far off, in the other section, waiting for the huge bucket to dump water on them (Dad took him there a bit before and played with him and had the bucket splash them). He wanted to go back to the bucket area, but told no one, and just took off. He just got it in his head that he wanted to go back, but forgot the step to get his wish. Instead, he (literally) ran with the thought and took off.
        Hence why the next year, we placed him in a strap harness. It helped us, and it kept him safe. Back then, if it were on the wrist, he surely would have been slick and removed it, only to jet off to God knows where. It was a safety tool. Not an abusive parenting tactic. Abuse would be to NOT do it, and let him run off to anywhere he felt led. With no worry of what COULD happen to him. That’s abusive.
         These days, we are no longer using the harnesses. But I tell you what… IF there EVER came a time to need one, you can safely bet that I WILL indeed use one on him. It’s better than him being kidnapped and have unimaginable speaks of horror possibly done to him. My child is TOO trusting and has no boundaries where his social interactions and self are concerned. So, he is an easy target. Personally, I refuse to take that chance. Even at his age.

At almost eleven years old, even a wrist harness may be embarrassing for him to wear, and for us to have to use it. We will I’m sure get nasty stares and a few finger points and snickers. But it’s worth it when I KNOW my son is safe.

Retard!… That’s So Retarded. *Let’s Change.*

“That’s so RETARDED!”

“I feel retarded for saying/doing that.”

“What a retard!”

Have you ever heard someone, or heard yourself say any of the above statements?

How about, “I’m sorry, but your child is retarded.”

When you say things like “I’m/that is so retarded” or “what a retarded thing to say/do”, you are not just cutting down those that have said or done something out of the so-called “norm”. You are hurting those with in the Disability Community. Especially those that have cognitive/mental delays and/or brain injuries. You are implying that they are stupid. Even without aiming the R-word directly at them.

Yes, there is a medical definition of “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded”. But now, as a move and as a means to help end the use of the R-word, medical professionals have become known to now use the terms “mentally delayed”, “mentally handicapped”, “mentally disabled” or “cognitively delayed/handicapped/disabled”. Where in those latter terms do you see “retarded”? Nowhere. And that is a GREAT thing!

Take my pal, Holly over at Holly’s House; Not A Perfect Mom’s Blog and her little girl, Brooke, who has Downs Syndrome. Brooke is what you would call “Retarded”, but that word is NEVER used. She is cognitively delayed, but perfectly cute (and sly) in every way imaginable. And like Holly, I deplore the R-word. And I think it shows one’s ignorance when a person uses the term in a way of means to cut themselves or someone else down. Intentionally or not!

When I was little, I required a trache to assist me with my breathing due to other health issues with my lungs and airway. I had that thing in my throat a good chunk.. no my entire childhood. Had it removed 17 days before my 13th birthday. For years I was ridiculed, called names, mocked and made the butt of my peers’ jokes. And…

I was labeled “Retarded” by children and adults alike. Especially the adults that knew NOTHING of me, except my appearance out in public.

For years, I had to fight that R-word label. Seeing as I was NOT cognitively/mentally disabled. And even if I was, would that really and honestly be a “good” name to label me with? I didn’t think so either.

Please spare me the “Politically Correct” crap. I really don’t need to, or want to hear about us parents of Special Needs kids (or being a currently or formerly disabled person ourselves, possibly) getting all so-called ‘uppity’ over a “word”.

Maybe if you had to wear the label for a day, or even a week, and see how it feels, then rest assured, you would change your mind in a hot second, my friend!

So, join me and take the pledge to “Spread the word to end the Word”.

Go to R-Word; Spread the word to end the Word and tell everyone that you want to help us collectively say “this is wrong and it needs to stop!” today. I did.

Special Needs Parent of the Month (February, 2012)

Welcome to the “Special Needs Parent of the Month” post, where MONTHLY, I will feature a Special Needs Parent. If you are interested in being considered as a featured SN parent in a future posting, please email me at melmom2angels@yahoo.com.

This month’s parent is Holly. She is a sweet, very energetic, hilarious and a bit of a potty-mouth (LOL!) lady. She wears her heart on her sleeve. And she has a pretty full plate. In her own words, she will tell of herself, her family, and her life with having a disabled child.

This is Brooke.

She’s my fourth child, my second daughter, and the only one born with an extra chromosome….

Brooke has Down Syndrome.

But please, don’t feel badly for me-or for her. Don’t make that cutesy smile and give me a look of pity mixed with wonder at how I do, especially with four other children…

Because Brooke? Is absolutely fantastic and a joy to have in our family…

I’m not going to pretend she’s exactly like our other children, because she’s not…

There is a developmental delay with Brooke. We just had an evaluation last week and she’s about 6-9 months behind her typical peers…not horrible, but still something that needs to be addressed so that Brooke can the best life possible…

So we do therapy. Brooke has physical therapy once a week for an hour, and occupational therapy and speech therapy twice a week for 30 minutes each. Is it a pain in the butt? Sometimes. Is it inconvenient? Sure, there are days I’d like to not plan around it…but we love Brooke, and we want her to thrive…so we go…

And Brooke loves it! She gets a kick out of people applauding for her, in fact, she expects it now no matter what task she does, so getting constant attention and love for doing puzzles or pointing out pictures in a book is right up that chunky girl’s alley!

But life isn’t all about therapy and trying to make her better…I’m a firm believer in letting her be a regular child.

Brooke plays with her brothers and sister. She pushes her babies around the stroller. She throws the ball. She colors on the walls. She claps and dances along to The Wiggles. She gives hugs and kisses. She throws her lunch at the wall when she’s not happy with what I’ve made.

Brooke is more like your child than different…

So what if she’s going to need a little bit more help learning? So what if she doesn’t have as many words as your kid does right now?

Brooke will catch up…

And we’re going to do anything we can to help her have an amazing life…

Because she’s worth it.

I’m a shameless self promoter by the way…read my blog at Holly’s House-Not a Perfect Mom’s Blog and check me out on my FACEBOOK LIKE PAGE too. And if you really love me, follow me on twitter. And uh, I hate to admit it, but I have a Google + page too #hangsheadinshame. Warning: I have a potty mouth….

Special Needs Parent Monthly (#1)

Welcome to the kick off of a NEW blog series, where MONTHLY, I will feature a Special Needs Parent. If you are interested in being considered as a featured SN parent in a future posting, please email me at melmom2angels@yahoo.com.

First up is Robin. In her own words, she will tell of herself, her family, and her life with having a disabled child.

basic info….stay at home mom, married 16 years in Feb., I enjoy reading, photograghy and word games.

have 2 sons Derek 11 and Jacob 13..

life as a special needs parent well, I don’t sleep much lol. it’s a struggle to balance my time between my sons since Jacob needs so much of my time. Jacob was dxed at 2 years, he was a good baby, well a great baby…only cried when he was hungry. Everyone was jealous but in the back of my mind I was worried. He was To good! He didn’t regress, he just reached milestones late. He didn’t babble, point, or “play” like other kids his age. He started PT at 8 months, Ot and speech at 18 months and early intervention at 2.

He is in the 8th grade and I’m going to start home schooling next because he will be going into high school and I feel like he will benefit more from one on one and I can pay more attention to the areas that of important to Jacob. He LOVES music, football, water, and food. lol which is a challenge because he is on the gf/cf diet.

He’s a good dancer. He has severe IBS and when he is in pain he becomes very aggressive. He doesn’t know his own strength. He gives the best hugs in the world! He has a lot of sensory issues and likes deep pressure and massage.

He likes to be petted on his arms some times which gets us strange looks in public. lol Doesn’t bother me, I’m outspoken if people are rude I let them know about it.

Autism is just part of our family….you learn to adjust your life accordingly. Jacob is non verbal so I am his voice….and I have a big mouth (hehe)!

"Invisible No More" (video)

Take a journey with these people and their stories of having hidden/invisible disabilities of varying degrees and ailments.

This is an introduction to those that have been willing to come to the forefront and be the “face” of the Peoples with Invisible Disabilities Community.

Pete Monfre

Lauri Cohen

Andrea Fabry

**DISCLAIMER;**

I own NOTHING. These videos are provided through a YouTube channel for the Invisible No More Organization. And are solely for educational purposes, only.

Spanking a Disabled Child vs Not Spanking & Punishment In General; SN vs NT Kids

I’m a spanking parent. I have spanked my son as needed through the years. Of course, he is of an age and height that I have been able to find other means of punishment (like taking toys/games/computer time away). But the youngest who is 7 years old, though a rare thing, still gets spanked IF the “punishment fits the crime”.

I have a friend on FaceBook who had been faced with a dilemma. Her child is three years old, disabled, and has yet to be diagnosed with Autism or any other mental delays. The other day at a family function, her husband had spanked their daughter for BITING, as well as hitting. And not a child, but another adult.

Her husband works a lot at his second shift job and only really sees the child on the weekends.

Mom isn’t much on spanking, but Dad is. And when the little girl bit and hit the adult, the Dad got a hold of his daughter and spanked her for her actions. Needless to say, Mom wasn’t pleased with how he handled the situation. She said it was more about the embarrassment of it happening in front of the family than anything else.

After hearing (or shall I say, reading) everything, I stated that the Mom can’t really be mad at him. If he isn’t able to be there due to working a lot, then he hasn’t had the time (or maybe even the energy) to be TAUGHT (by her) of what works best with their daughter. You cannot just “assume” he SHOULD know how to help handle her, when he isn’t there a lot of the time to learn by watching, listening or hands-on.

She needs to (calmly) approach him when they are BOTH free to get together, and talk with him and teach him what works best with your child. If she doesn’t take the time to voice to him what works/doesn’t work, then he won’t know the BEST options of how to punish/redirect/handle his child.

In time, she will learn the differences of when it’s her daughter just being a typical kid getting in to trouble, and between it REALLY being the disability showing through.

But even for as long as I have known the lowdown on my kid, I STILL have moments of wondering which way it is really swinging. In the end though, I try really, REALLY hard to NOT use the “he is disabled and has a lot of problems” excuse with him.

He is treated, talked to, and (most of the time) interacted with on the same level as his sisters. As in, he gets in to trouble just as much as they do.

I don’t let my kid use his disabilities as an excuse 100% of the time. If I do/did, then HE would think that he can get out of trouble ALL of the time.

To me, he is just as “normal” as his nutty sisters are. He is just more matter-of-fact and sensitive emotionally than the girls.

I sometimes get HIGHLY embarrassed due to my son’s actions, reactions and behaviors. No doubt. But even then, you cannot always “excuse” their behavior on their disabilities.

You have to learn and KEEP a balance between typical kid and disabled kid. Or else, they WILL grow up to think that they can (some literally) get away with murder.

And don’t EVER be embarrassed to defuse a situation (such as biting and hitting someone) in front of others. I have done it on many occasions and WON’T be afraid to do so in the future, if need be.

You just need to find that balance, and the key to successful behavior management where child’s concerned. Because they are unique individuals, and what works for me or any of the other parents, may not necessarily work for YOUR child, and you BOTH as their parents. There MUST be a middle ground that is firmly established.

Believe me when I say that I have had to (literally) peel my son off of one of his sisters as he bit them and used them for a punching bag. Seriously injuring the baby when she WAS a baby (bruises and a bonked head from being shoved off a toddler bed). Over NOTHING at all. Just got it in himself to start beating the holy hell out of her.

I don’t care if a person spanks or not. When it comes to hitting and biting, you MUST take care of the problem RIGHT THEN. Not later in the day. Be it if the child is one year old or 15 years old. Biting and hitting, especially an adult, or a child YOUNGER than the one doing the hitting/biting, is a huge “no-no” that has NO excuses.

In that instance, wrong is wrong. No matter the reason. No matter the mental capacity. No matter if the child is “normal” or “disabled”.

My philosophy is, if my “normal brained” girls are NOT allowed to behave in a certain manner (hitting, biting, stealing, cursing), then neither is my “mentally challenged” son.

How is honestly fair for me to excuse the actions of the one, and not of the two? That can and will build up resentment in his sisters against their brother, and against me if I was to excuse everything on the basis of his diagnoses.

Every single day it is indeed a struggle to find THAT balance between “normal childhood” behavior, and “disability-driven” behaviors. Some things though, should be no-brainer behaviors that no matter the mental capacity, should NEVER be tolerated or excused due to said disability.

And like a fellow group member had stated, not everything will work with everyone, nor will everyone believe that corporal punishment should be utilized. I say if used CORRECTLY and in the right situations, it CAN be an effective tool.

But not every offense deserves having a spanking. Just like not every offense deserves a month-long grounding.

I think a lot of my views stem from my own childhood. I WAS a disabled child. And my dad treated me as a normal kid. My mom on the other hand “babied” me. And she did it so much, to such an extent, that it really did tarnish my childhood, and made me resent her later on in life, for YEARS. Even after she died.

There is a time to use the “disability card” (my name for it), and when NOT to. Most times, it was just me being a kid. But to her, I did NO wrong, even when it was clear that I WAS in the wrong. So, I never got in trouble (if I did by her, it was VERY rare) unless my dad was there. And then, I got what he felt I deserved. Yes, that did include a spanking here and there.

The more I recall it all, and the more I think on it, I truly believe I got myself in to trouble, especially around my dad as much as I did, was because I THRIVED on it. I felt like a “normal” little kid.