The IGNORANCE I Have Seen is Infuriating
A few days ago, it was reported that a 5 year old special needs student attacked a teacher and she had to be taken to the hospital with a concussion. I have friends that work in SPED and I have a child with special needs. I have been on the receiving end of assaults by my daughter before and after she was diagnosed with her moderate intellectual disability (I am getting her re evaluated soon after the last incident we had see: Another Altercation with My Daughter).
Here’s the story from NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/5-year-old-attacked-teacher-lacked-intent-necessary-prosecution-rcna19351
Let’s Acknowledge Some of the Ignorant Comments I’ve Seen
- “It wouldn’t happen to me because I’d be in jail”
- “That kid’s parents must abuse him at home for him to act like that”
- “He needs to go to a special needs school”
- “He needs to be put on meds”
- “His parents need to be prosecuted”
Notice that I said these are just some of the things that I have read.
As a Parent of a Child with Special Needs, Let Me Say This
I have been writing this blog for a very long time and I have addressed my daughter’s actions in the past. I am a 6′ 237 lb woman and I could easily take my child. But SPED teachers and parents have this thing called RESTRAINT. When we know what we’re dealing with, we have to restrain ourselves from fighting these children. We have to learn restraint techniques to hold them and stop them from hurting themselves or us.
My daughter is about 5’4″, 125 lbs but she is solid and I have her in Taekwondo so that she can defend herself but she has to know when it is appropriate to defend herself. She had no reason to defend herself against me, her mother, but she was triggered because she wanted a toy that I had no clue of at the last minute before the bus came. My inner soul told me I could push her down the stairs and stomp her BUT the MOTHER side of me and the MOTHER of a special needs child knew that I couldn’t do that so I got scratched up and kicked instead. My child is 16 and functions at the cognitive age of an 8 year old. Because I know this, even with the violence I have in me, I have to keep my wits about me.
Also, if you were to touch my child as a teacher, I might have to fight you and you don’t have a special need and you’re an adult. Not sure a teacher wants to lose their job over that.
To say that the parents abuse and neglect their child is a horrible generalization, especially if the child is ALREADY in a special education program. That must mean that something put the child in the program and that includes talking to the parents. My child has been in school since the age of 2 because she got kicked out of daycare and the provider said that I should have her evaluated by the school system. They put her in Early Intervention. She went to my elementary school but then, once she got to Kindergarten, they didn’t have a program past that so she went to another school that had a SPED program. I loved that school.
One week, I was getting calls every day because she was acting out. At that time, I had already gotten her a child therapist and psychiatrist. She was straight fighting the staff and even was taking her clothes off. At that moment, I took her to the psychiatrist and demanded that she get put on medication. The psychiatrist RELUCTANTLY put her on the meds. She was on them for a month and then I took her off because she became a zombie and lost a lot of weight. After that, however, she was fine.
In my thoughts of those incidents of her that week, I realized that she had just returned to school after they were out of school for TWO weeks because of a Spring blizzard we had. THAT was her trigger. And I learned to figure OUT her triggers by taking her to a child psychologist who talked to her and spoke about how to handle the things that might trigger her to have these responses. But, again, this is a PROCESS. The child in the story I am referring to is FIVE. We don’t know if the child has been diagnosed with autism or any other intellectual disability. We also don’t know what the parents have done prior to this happening. But I am not going to sit here and say that this child is neglected and taught violence off jump. You can’t do that.
Here’s how the process worked for ME:
- Kicked out of daycare
- Evaluated by the school system
- Placed in Early Intervention at 2
- IEP set up
- Moved to SPED school in Kindergarten
- IEP continued
- Went to Kennedy Krieger to get an actual diagnosis (the schools cannot diagnose your child. It must be noted that my insurance at the time tried to deny the evaluation but KK fought it and got it covered)
- Obtained diagnosis, shared it with school, updated IEP
- Went to SPED middle school
- Currently in SPED high school
It is a process. My daughter obtained at diagnosis at the age of 8. This child is FIVE. We don’t instantly have all the answers once we learn that our child has special needs and we don’t have all the answers when the child is diagnosed. We have to learn our child, their triggers, picking our battles, etc.
I have spoken on this a LOT (Having a Child with an Intellectual Disability WHILE Dealing with Your Own Mental Illness) and it’s not easy. But so many people have all the answers when they have never seen what it’s like to even work with children with special needs or live with them.
So let’s not blame the parents.
As far as the parents needing to put the child on meds, that might be the next step. My daughter is 16 and she might need to be put on meds but we don’t know yet. As a person that has to be on meds, I don’t want her to be put on them until she absolutely has to be on them because of her age and her mental development. She’s a teenager and… hormones. So she’s a teenager with the body of a teenager but the intellectual age of 8. That’s a lot for her so, I might have to put her on meds although the altercations we have gotten into were always caused by something.
The first altercation in her teenage years was over Doritos and continuing to talk when I was in a meeting. She even cussed me out. This happened when COVID first started (trigger). These things have to be LEARNED. They don’t come to us. It helps that I have a psych degree and try to think about what it was like to be a teenager. MY meds help too.
Now why do we want to prosecute the parents? I’m asking for myself. I mean, they could but they would have to prove that he parents really were bad parents. The child is FIVE. What about these high school students that attack teachers because they “don’t like” them or because they want to look cool?
With SPED, they need to be treated differently because they ARE different. The child was in a “cool down” room which already indicates that the child is in a program that fit his needs at the time. He was overstimulated and fixated on something. There isn’t a lot of information being given due to the child’s age (which is right) but the assumptions that can be made based on what we know is that the child IS in a SPED program already which means that the parents or caretakers already know that the child needs extra help. That’s truly all we know.
In The End
STOP speaking on what you don’t know. Unless you know that child and family, worked with children with special needs, or have a child with special needs, be quiet. You have no clue what it’s like. You have no clue what it’s like for the parents or caregivers either.
I hope that everything works out for that little boy, his family, and that poor teacher. A very close friend of mine has been hurt badly on two occasions by a child with special needs. It’s not based on her inability to be a teacher. Sometimes these children are extremely impulsive and just want to lash out because of something that we think is small. My daughter lost some beads on the bus one day, came home and took it out on the world as if that was the only set of beads in the world. In her mind, they were. We have to try to understand these children or we’re just going to go back to the past when we knew nothing and stuck the children in orphanages where they were left to starve to death.
Do some research on that. It’s horrible. We, as a people, have come a long way when it comes to people with special needs, young and old. Come with us and learn more before speaking. Go on Reddit or Google images of some of the things that kids with special needs such as autism have done to things and people. I have a girl. I have friends with boys that are bigger than them and I truly feel for them. They can do some real damage so don’t beat the parents up. They’re likely already beating themselves up already. Please do better.
Please Watch This Woman’s Story
Just watch this and understand how much parents have to think about and go through with special needs children. She mentions the fact that she has to think about what she’s going to do when her child is 180 lbs and starts to fight her and her husband. We have to abandon our dreams for our children. We constantly worry about what the child will do (they will always be our child) when we die. We care about our children. This is not an easy process and people have to stop vilifying the parents AND the children when you don’t know what is going on.