During the last few weeks in the news, there has been an increase in stories featuring children and adults who have cerebral palsy being horribly abused or their rights being limited. Finding the right words to portray how I feel about these issues aren't easy for me, but abuse needs to be addressed and seriously worked toward finding a better solution. People that abuse or take advantage of people with disabilities have some serious issues that should not ever be ignored.
Let's start with Alex Scott who is 44 from Virginia who has non verbal severe cerebral palsy, and he takes time to eat his food. The group home where he has lived for twenty years is denying him access to live there anymore until he has a feeding tube according to the Washington Post. His family and medical team doesn't believe Scott needs a feeding tube but just patience in feeding him. Scott has been in the hospital since because he doesn't have any place to go.
Having a feeding tube installed is a surgery that includes risks, uncomfortable times and recovery. But most importantly, Scott enjoys food and eating. Once a feeding tube is in place, eating orally is no longer an option. Also, this surgery isn't necessary. As a person who has severe cerebral palsy and takes longer to eat, this situation is very scary to me. I don't think anyone who has a disability should be forced into a non medical surgery just to make a caregiver's job easier. This is a human rights violation.
I also, unfortunately, just read a horrific case of a father who murdered his four year old daughter who had cerebral palsy. Her murder happened in 2015, but he just pled guilty to her murder. Her death is obviously very upsetting and tragic. Four year olds can't defend themselves to begin with but having cerebral palsy on top of that makes the situation even more disgraceful that anyone could harm her let alone kill her. But the most frustrating part, in my opinion, is that the father had already been investigated and known to abuse. So, my question is how was he ever allowed to be alone with his daughter in the first place? I would think that one incident of abuse would prevent anyone from being alone with any child.
There has been several different cases of abuse and extreme neglect of children and adults who have disabilities including cerebral palsy. I believe that society has a way of honoring those that care for people who have disabilities that sometimes without realizing it, it can devalue the person living with a disability. If abuse happens, society somehow tries to justify that the caregiver or parent was under stress or felt hopeless. However, feeling stressed or hopeless doesn't give anyone a right to hurt someone, abuse someone or kill someone.
Society needs to take the attitude of the "hero" caregiver or parent and focus on the unit as a team. The child or adult who has the disability is an individual with feelings, intellect, and rights to safety as anyone else. They need advocacy that if abuse is suspected or documented then it's time to help and not wait until someone dies. Punishment for abuse or murder doesn't need to be less because the victim has a disability. Value of human life needs to be put back in its rightful place.
If you suspect abuse, please do something to help. Don't look the other way or try to forget. This is about someone's life, and they deserve a safe environment to live.
Originally posted by Jessica Grono at http://cerebralpalsynewstoday.com