Archive for Raising A Disabled Child

Who is the Biggest Barrier?

Who is the biggest barrier when it comes to getting the best life for you child, family member or client with a disability? Would you say it is you or someone else? The fact is that you are the biggest barrier.

As a parent, guardian, family or caregiver, what is your role?

Your role basically is to be there for advice, support and fight for what your child, client or family member needs to get them towards a better future.

What are you doing right and wrong?

Right – Most of you in this room are fighting to get the best thing for your child, client or family member. You are there for advice and support. You will fight your butt off to try and make sure nothing really bad happens to them.

Wrong – We care so much about our child, client or family member that we hold on with such a tight grip because we don’t want them getting hurt or worse. We may think that we know what is best for someone without eve n discussing it with them, that it is the way it is. We don’t discuss with them what they want and what they think is best when it comes to their life. One ex ample is that you may think college is the best for them but they may want something else or think that college is not the best for them. The way it usually turns out is that it goes your way, you don’t even tale the time to discuss with them because you think that you know all the answers. The fact is that you are wrong.

We blame things on the school government and community when things go wrong but in most cases, you are the problem because you are holding on with such a tight grip.

How can you change to start getting your child, client or family member on a path towards success?

Start by loosening the grip. You may be so s cared that they will get hurt but you need to let them get out there and experience things, have failures and learn the kind of life they want. We /learn by getting out there, failing and going through things! Be there for support and advice but don’t try to run their life.

Let me give you some examples: I have been through many things as you heard in the beginning. I have failed many times and still fail at things but it has got me where I am today. My parents and family has been here to give me advice and support me in adventures I want to take in life. My parents did not put limits or boundaries on me. They supported me when I decided to go to college, move out on my own, start my own business, etc. They are also there for advice when I need them.

Be there but no matter how hard it gets, don’t give up! Squeak those wheels and let’s do this!


Get Involved in Your Child’s Life!

How involved are you in your child with a disability’s life or any of your children?

I am not a parent so I am not coming from a parent’s perspective but I am coming from my own experience. I am an adult with a disability but I used to be a child of course. I went into foster care when I was about three years old and in foster care, no one gave me the time of day.

I was told I was stupid and would go nowhere in life. I was usually told to just go sit in the corner and watch T.V.

Having no support, I basically had no life. My life changed at age 11 because two wonderful people came and adopted me. The Moon family treated me like any other child and knew I wasn’t stupid.

My new parents got involved in my life and wanted me to go places, me too. We fought the school to get me a regular education and when getting nowhere, I was took out and home schooled.

We fought VR to help pay for some of my college, worked to find a way I can move out on my own/be independent and much more.

The moral of it all is that because I had/have parents involved in my life, it helped get me to where I am.

I say help because you can’t live your child’s life, only they can! Talk with your child, find programs and activities that will improve their life, take them to important things and actually get involved. Having parents involved in the child’s life will do much for amazing things and not just for the child but you too and even others.

I found this story online that shows how having parents involved in a child’s life (school, skills, work, etc.) will do wonders. Check it out at

Your child is so important to you and I know you want the best for them, so get involved. You are going to have battles but you can’t give up, sometimes we have to squeak our wheels so many times before something happens but don’t you dare quit!

They Look Normal

Have you ever notice how we naturally tend to judge people without even being aware of it.  Maybe a guy walks by and we look at him and think “man why doesn’t he do something with his hair”?  Or maybe a woman walks by and we think “doesn’t she realize those pants look awful on her”?  I know petty as it may seem we all have done it or do this on a regular basis.  What about those times that we are in the store and we see a child that has an awful tantrum?  What is your first thought? “Those parents need to learn to get their child under control” or “If that were my kid I’d take them home and give them a good spanking or time out”.  Does this resonate with you?  Have you actually gone up to the parent and made a negative comment about their parenting skills?

We’ve all heard the saying “you should never judge a book by its cover”.  In life this applies  to people and situations more then you may realize.  Let’s go back to that child in the store and take a closer look at what might really be going on.  We have a mother that is taking her child to the store.  But what you don’t see or know is that this is a child with a disability.  Well how can that be you say because “they look normal”.  Ah here is the kicker….they look like any other child on the “outside”, but on the inside they are “wired” totally differently.  This trip to the store has over stimulated the child and all the noise, lights, crowds and waiting has caused this particular child to go into “sensory overload” and they are actually in physical pain over it.  All the child can do is meltdown to deal with it.  So the parent is doing everything they can to try to calm the child and get them out of the store.  I have experienced this first-hand as I have one of these children that “looks normal” but is wired differently.  And yes I have experienced the comments and looks from those “judging the situation” and my “parenting skills”.  I also work with children that “look normal” but actually have different disabilities even from my own child.  There are a lot of these individuals out there in our communities.

I hope that this blog post affects us all by nothing more than making us take a moment to stop and think when we witness something out in the community with a child, teenager or adult that may seem “odd” even though they may “look normal”.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe their brains are just wired differently.  This doesn’t make them any “less” than anyone else…just different.

Guest blog by Deanna Rouse an advocate and parent of a child with one of the invisible disabilities.

Florida – Rate of physical restraints in schools is alarming

From a post on

Can cameras protect special-needs kids from abuse?

A Fox news story from Texas.

More school districts and states are looking at cameras as a way to protect children with disabilities in our schools.

It is sad that we have to resort to monitoring or spying on teachers to ensure they do not abuse the children they are supposed to be caring for and teaching.

Previous 10 special needs of special needs parents

Great blog from a mom raising a child with a disability.  Check out her blog on

“As a mother to two little girls who have Down syndrome, I need parents of typically developing kids to know something.

I have needs.”

Read more.


Parents Sue Fort Bend Special Ed Teacher Accused of Abuse

Two Fort Bend County families are suing their children’s former special education teacher months after allegations surfaced that she put a child with autism in a filing cabinet, ripped another’s hair out of her head and behaved erratically in the classroom.

Julie Gosch, 47, who had taught at Juan Seguin Elementary since 2003, resigned this year. Two teacher’s aides who worked with her sent emails to the school administrators, alleging neglect and inappropriate and abusive behavior.

Attorneys for the families provided the Chronicle with what they said were the emails, which claimed Gosch called her students “retarded,” saying “you guys are losers” and taught the aides to “accidentally” hit the children.

After aides came forward in January, the Fort Bend Independent School District and its police department investigated the allegations. Officials said Gosch’s last day of work was Jan. 27, the day the aides came forward with the written statements.

Fort Bend ISD officials said the teacher has not been the subject of any previous allegations of abuse.

Read more.

Parents Blame School for Disabled Son’s Death

From Atlanta:

ATLANTA (CN) – Parents claim two special education teachers assaulted and battered their disabled son so badly he died from the abuse.
Ronald and Arthalia Hatcher sued the Fulton County School District, the Fulton County School Board, Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa, special education teachers Melanie Pickens and Katherine Dorn Durden, and 15 other Fulton County public school employees, in Fulton County State Court.
The Hatchers say their son Aaron, a special-needs student, suffered abuse at the hands of his public schoolteachers, Pickens and Durden.
“Aaron suffered from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other disabilities,” the complaint states. “As a result of his disabilities, Aaron could not walk or talk, and had other serious developmental issues and was unable to care for himself and required constant care and supervision.”
The Hatchers say they enrolled Aaron in public school to give him “as normal a life as possible.”
But they say instead of caring for him, Aaron’s middle school and high school teachers abused him physically and emotionally.
They claim Pickens confined Aaron in isolated places, physically restrained him and screamed at and berated him to punish him for “expressing himself,” and that Durden placed a homemade neck brace around his neck to restrain him.
“Unfortunately, the Hatchers’ trust was misplaced,” the complaint states. “Unbeknownst to plaintiffs, Aaron began suffering abuse within Fulton County schools as far back as 2004. From 2004 to 2007, Aaron was a student at Hopewell Middle school, where he was in defendant Melanie Pickens’ classroom.
“Ms. Pickens abused Aaron and other special needs students in her classroom physically, verbally and emotionally. Ms. Pickens’ conduct was investigated and her treatment of students was known to the school board. Nevertheless, plaintiffs were not made aware by the Fulton County School District of the abuse suffered by their son.
“Unfortunately, escaping Hopewell Middle School did not mean Aaron’s abuse would end. Aaron suffered still more abuse at the hands of his special education teacher at Roswell High School, defendant Katherine Dorn Durden. It was while Aaron was in Mrs. Durden’s class that the plaintiffs first became aware that Aaron had been mistreated at Hopewell Middle School.
“While in Mrs. Durden’s class, Aaron came home with bruises on his back and hands, making it clear that he was not being properly secured in his chair. Further, and without parental or medical consent, Mrs. Durden took it upon herself to twist and then constrain Aaron’s neck in a makeshift neck brace apparently because she did not like the way Aaron was forced to twist his neck in order to breathe. While a student in Mrs. Durden’s class, Aaron was repeatedly rushed to the hospital from school as a result of the abuse.
“Plaintiffs repeatedly sent messages to the school about Mrs. Durden. They requested that Aaron be moved into a different special education class and had meetings with the principal, all to no avail.
“Tragically, Aaron died on March 19, 2011 following the abuse he suffered at Roswell High School. Further compounding this tragedy, plaintiffs only found out about the earlier abuse by Ms. Pickens after Aaron’s death, despite the fact that the Fulton County School District had previously completed their own internal investigation which confirmed the acts of abuse against Aaron in middle school. Had they known, as school board personnel knew, that their extremely fragile son had suffered such abuse within a Fulton County school’s special education class, they would never have allowed him to enter Roswell High School, and Aaron might still be alive today. The teachers, paraprofessionals, medical personnel, administrators, and board members of the Fulton County School District repeatedly failed Aaron Hatcher and his parents, and the Hatchers have paid the ultimate price.”
The Hatchers claim: “Defendants knew or should have known that defendant Melanie Pickens had no training or other credentials equipping her to teach students with severe special needs and that she was routinely and systematically abusing the children in her classroom,” but failed to act.
They add: “It is nearly impossible to put into words the utter and complete terror Aaron must have felt as he was screamed at, isolated, and berated by defendant Melanie Pickens or how terrified he must have been when defendant Katherine Dorn Durden repeatedly cut off his airway with her homemade neck brace.”
The Hatchers seek compensatory and punitive damages for assault and battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, negligent hiring and retention, constitutional violations, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and Georgia laws.
They are represented by Jarrod Oxendine, with Oxendine and Sauls.

Original story

Keep squeaking those wheels.

More on “Scream Rooms”

From the West Hartford News.  A reporter who is the mom of a special needs student.

“They are essentially jail cells — most of them can only be opened from the outside — and most are smaller than a walk-in closet, painted white and with bright lights, the kind that only exacerbate sensory issues in kids with autism and other special needs. I’ve seen kids as young as 4 wailing away in the room as class is in session just a few feet way. (I wonder if it’s disconcerting to the other special needs kids in class.) For those with poor reasoning and coping skills, hearing others in the room creates constant anxiety that is bound to make them act up and get put in the room.”

Read the entire article.

The abuse of our children with special needs and disabilities has to stop.  We need to keep making noise – keep squeaking those wheels.




Keeping All Students Safe Act

Child In Florida School Being Restrained

Can you imagine we need Federal legislation to keep children with disabilities safe in our public schools.  That is almost unimaginable.

What is even more unimaginable is that the children need to be kept safe from their teachers and other school personnel.  Wow – sad but true.

Last year in Florida there were over 10,000 incidents of restraint in our public schools.  Nearly 5,000 were on students with disabilities in pre-K to 3rd grade.

If the states will not protect the most vulnerable children in our schools then I guess it is time for the Feds to step in and protect them.

The Keeping All Students Safe Act was introduced in the Senate by Chairman Tom Harkin this afternoon.  Chairman Harkin has shown an unwavering commitment to the safety and welfare of our nation’s children. This bill would promote the development of effective intervention and prevention practices that do not impose restraints and seclusion; protect all students from physical or mental abuse, aversive behavioral interventions that compromise health and safety, and any restraint imposed for purposes of coercion, discipline or convenience, or as a substitute for appropriate educational or positive behavioral interventions and supports.  Importantly the bill also works to ensure the safety of all students and school personnel and promote positive school culture and climate.

For more information on the Keeping All Students Safe Act.

Keep squeaking those wheels.  School is not supposed to hurt.