Dear Prudence, part deux
Two actual emails … re: last post …
I am the single father of a severely disabled nineteen year old daughter. I happened to write a post on my blog the other day about offering advice to others within “our” community. Within the comments was a link to your column and the above referred to question.
I must say, many of us disagree with your take on it. The “neglect” is never defined, nor really described, and the act of calling social services often *does* “harm” families such as this one. Paying less attention to a child (and this is hearsay) is one thing, there is no claim that the daughter is dirty, not clothed, not fed, not loved, etc. No evidence of anything, really.
I responded in a blog post, if you care.
And her response …
Thank you for writing. You are obviously living this situation with dedication and devotion. The letter writer described a situation in which a 9 month old baby is left alone for most of the time in a baby-proofed room because the son needs constant tending. If the letter writer is correct, then the family needs intervention because a child raised that way is at risk for reactive attachment disorder. Obviously the parents are dedicated and loving people, but from the description they sound overwhelmed and worn out. It is not reasonable or realistic for two people to provide 24-hour care, 7 days a week, ad infinitum. They need the kind of help that might be available from public and private agencies. CPS is dedicated to making families function better, not tearing then apart. Yes, there are horror stories. There are also horror stories about parents who should have been reported, and weren’t. There are also stories in which CPS didn’t do enough. Then there are the times they assess the situation, make contact with agencies who can help, have a case manager for the family, and make things much better. Let’s hope that happens in this case. Surely, at the very least, the parents need some respite care and the chance to regularly devote some time to their daughter. You suggest in your post that the neighbor do some research about available resources and then sit down with the family to go over this. But the neighbor is not a trained professional, and the parents don’t have to take any helpful suggestions. Sure, it would be nice to organize the whole neighborhood to step up and give this family relief, but there is no mechanism to make that happen.
I do agree I should have taken issue with the line about keeping the disabled child at home, and it was a failing that I didn’t.
Thank you for writing.
Again, Prudence appears to be completely ignorant and naive regarding the care of a child with special needs, the availability of private and public services for families of children with special needs and the herculean efforts it takes to literally fight for those scraps in our current economy. I want to point out that I learned about this ridiculous question and answer session through the brilliant Jeneva Stone’s blog entry which I hope will be read by everyone. Here’s the link:
You can’t fix stupid, especially if it’s tainted with self-righteousness. Just for kicks, does anyone have any idea of Prudence’s credentials? Is she a “trained professional”?
She’s decided the baby will end up with RAD? What a pathetic travesty. I must say, I’m wildly unimpressed with Slate’s
Double X. What Stephanie says above is generally true, but the problem is that we’ve GOT to fix stupid! And I wish there were a way to protect that hardworking family from their neighbor’s meddling.
1st prudence can’t see that there is NO evidence that said child is left in room all day or otherwise . When neighbor stops by and gives 9 month old attention she likes it ( don’t all 9 month olds crave attention 24/7 ) well at least the ” normal ones” ? Yes a disabled child takes a lot of ones time ..it’s like having a infant for years . So having said that. Based on prudence beliefs we should call in the family a services on anyone who has twins I mean how the hell can 2 parents take care of 2 infants . And only the dad works ? The mom gave up a carreer for a family ? Screw it just lock her up she is a danger to her kids.. When I posted the story to FB said ” I should e mail said prudenc and have her spend 1 day with this child. .. And I bet she ain’t woman enough”
The post you refer to here and in the previous post (about offering advice to others within “our” community, and the comment that led you to the Miss Prudence advice column) seem to be missing from the blog.
Agree with your takedown of Prudence. It looks like you got about the same stock answer as Jo (but it does sound like she read your blog post.
“It is not reasonable or realistic for two people to provide 24-hour care, 7 days a week, ad infinitum. ”
Ha ha ha! What is it then if you are only one person – a single parent. Not reasonable or realistic? Then again, I’ve never been known as a reasonable or realistic person.
Prudence has absolutely no clue. If she is reading these comments, I invite her to come spend 24 hours with my family. Hell, I might even be able to work in cooking dinner for her, reasonably and realistically that is.
I too had to laugh out loud at the bit about no parent being able to provide 24/7 care. Funny, I’ve been doing that for nearly eight years with no respite care and little help. My kid may not be what some would call “severely” disabled, but then again, I don’t know how Prudie and the neighborhood busybody would define “severe.” I do know SD and many other parents on here have been successfully doing it for years, and CPS has never had to intervene. I’d love to know what firsthand experience Prudie has with caring for a disabled child. My guess is that it stops with her chasing down a mom pushing her kid’s wheelchair and calling the cops because the kid’s shoelace was untied.
I’m not convinced Reactive Attachment Disorder exists. But if Prudence had her way somebody should pony up $7,000 to hire an “attachment therapist” to put the nine-month-old through a woo woo process called “rebirthing.” That should solve things nicely once she’s put into foster care.