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How do we protect our children with special needs?

I came across this story from the St.Paul paper about a teenager with autism who was lured into a very dangerous situation. This is one of my greatest fears having a child with autism--that she could so easily become a victim like this boy was. What do you think the answer is? Or. . . is there an answer to be found?

Here's the link to the story. 

This is so frightening to me when I think about my child's future.  In case you're interested, here's a link to the journal I wrote about the story.

Answer Question

Asked by jsbenkert at 4:01 PM on Jan. 16, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • I just read your journal and although I didn't leave a comment, in my mind I am going wow! I would be scared too, for someone to take advantage in any way. I guess being such a parent would add on extra precautions being taken to prevent this from easily happening and being in the know in everything in their lives in order to try to protect them.

    Answer by older at 4:07 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • I feel your pain & concern. I have a developmentally delayed son & that is one of my biggest concerns too. We have done a lot of role playing about certain situations. (ie if someone offers him drugs or a stranger approaches him w/ a ques.) He does pretty well. We also make sure he's not out in public alone. He is either w/ a family member or close friends. (he's 21 y/o now) He has a cell phone in case of emergency. Then you have just have to pray/have faith that he will be safe. Wish I had more answers for you, but that's what we've done so far. I cant wait to see if more ideas come up with this one. Thanks for asking it. :)

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 4:37 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • My son has ADHD and can be easily distrwcted. I do worry alot about him luckily I do tell him often about dangers but thats like telling him to pick up his socks and than he never remembers. As a mom we worry when your chilld has special needs you worryand want to protect them more. I am always with him now or he is with anoth adult. when it comess time that he spends time away I will still try to make sure that it is a safe place.

    Answer by 21lisa72 at 4:42 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • There's no blanket answer because the abilities of each child are so different. All you can do is try to make sure you have realistic expectations of your own child's abilities, and do what you can to work around them. I have a cousin who will never be able to live totally on his own. No matter how much they work with him, there are some social cues and concepts he does not get, and it's enough of an issue that he wouldn't just be taken advantage of, he would essentially be volunteering for it. There may have been a time when he was younger that his parents worried about him being out and on his own, and instead now that's adjusted to worrying about "after they're gone".

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:51 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • BOTH of our boys have autism, and of course we're VERY concerned for their futures--especially after we're gone.

    All ANY parent can do is teach our children EVERYTHING we can in terms of safety, responsibility and independent living skills, help them to get and keep jobs, teach them how to manage their money, and in our case, establish a clear line of executors and guardians who will look out for and help them every step of the way! Ideally, our children will marry and have someone they love looking out for their best interests. They will be financially secure by then and will each have a mortgage-free home, but if need be we'll establish very specific annuity trusts that will provide them with an "allowance," so they will never be without, or taken advantage of!

    We don't yet know HOW impaired they will be as adults--our goal is simply to make autism something they manage, but that doesn't define or limit them.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 5:02 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • We also watch our children like hawks...we go everywhere they go, and don't ever "drop them off" and leave. As they get older we'll continue to re-evaluate the situation and adjust accordingly.

    My husband and I want the very best for them and will stop at nothing to help them achieve what every other parent of typically developing children wants for theirs. The therapy program that we are actively working in now, has independence, problem solving and self-help skills at it's core. If we can teach them the tools to survive in the real world, I feel that they will be fine....but I will ALWAYS worry about them!

    It's so hard NOT to hover over steps! :o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 5:06 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • In reading the responses, it would seem that I should have posted this in the parenting section. However, as it pertains to a story out of St. Paul, MN, and there seems to be a culture of victimizing those who are "different", I wanted to post it here.  Perhaps it's simply a matter of the media making the stories more readily available, and incidents like these aren't really any more common than they used to be.

    Aside from the role of the parents to provide protection for our children, is there anything else that can be done to help prevent these sorts of crimes? How do you feel about punishment for those involved in crimes against those members of our society who have special needs? Should it be any different or more severe when committed against those who are victimized because they are perceived as easier targets?


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 5:45 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • How do you feel about punishment for those involved in crimes against those members of our society who have special needs?

    That's a slippery slope. Granted, I oppose typical "hate crime" type provisions on principle anyway because it makes one victim more important than another. You would need to have some measure of exactly which point on the spectrum or which combination of conditions makes one more likely to be victimized than another. My cousin, who would be easily victimized, has just as many (albeit different) symptoms as a teen I know who would be more likely to be the aggressor than the victim. While I'd hate to see someone "excused" for harming my cousin, I'd also hate to see someone punished more severely because they gave in to the constant antagonism of the other boy.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 6:44 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • I do have one child with ADHD and Aspbergers. One with ADHD, and one with Jacobsen's Syndrome. And yes, I do think anyone found guilty of a hate crime, ANY hate crime, should face harsher punishments. Not just crimes against special needs people, though. And I'm not talking about when someone is defending themselves, either. Which my ADHD/Asp. kid had to do. His teacher wouldn't do a damn thing to stop bullying after he and I went to her about it. He defended himself.
    I read the story, and your journal. I also responded to the journal. It's scary raising kids. Even more scary when they are special needs. I don't know how we can protect them any more then to teach them. Unfortunately, when they are out without us, they just don't always remember what we have told them. Add a 'friendly' face to it, and it could turn bad fast, like for this kid.

    Answer by Raine2001 at 8:56 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • This is just heart rending to read a story like that..having two children with special needs I fear for them both. My son has Aspergers and on the playground in first grade he thought the kids were bullying him when they were trying to play a simple game of tag. I worry his lack of understanding in social situations could lead to real trouble later on. daughter who globally developmentally delayed and has never spoken...I worry that someone could possibly take advantage of her or molest her. I've heard several stories and it makes me wanna keep my eyes open that much more.
    How anyone could pick on someone so defenseless is just beyond me..often these children are so lonely that they'll take the abuse for so called "friendships" in school. I just hope I can do what I can to make sure nothing happens to either one. Even with my son in school all day I know something could happen to him, I just hope it never does.

    Answer by Heathercurlz at 10:01 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

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