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Child Abuse and Disability - Time to ACT Not REact
Just a few days ago, a toddler was found in a hotel room in Hialeah, FL. The 2 1/2 year old was born with Moebius syndrome (congenital facial paralysis). The room? filled with diapers, feces on the floor, both living and dead animals. The baby "looked like a concentration camp victim", per Hialeah police officer. .... While the mom found online materials re: support for Moebius, it did not stop her from neglecting her son.
If children with disabilities are at increased risk for child abuse, then the organizations that focus on disabilities - need to do more than set up "medical advisory boards". While the medical information IS important, most likely the only people who search it out already KNOW how to search, and care enough to use the medical information.
Focusing entirely on the medical aspects of a disability negates another very real aspect of having a disability - the increased risk for abuse. When already struggling parents - victims of their own child abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc., find nothing that resonates with their own internal struggles (maybe feeling so guilty in having a baby with a disability, or spouse blaming mom for child's disability, or flat-out ignorance re: being a parent ... they are essentially left to their own conclusions.
As an adult child abuse survivor, an adult born with a congenital disability, I *know* the verbal and emotional abuse far surpassed any physical aspect of my disability. Yet, when no one "talks about it" (increased risk for child abuse among kids with disabilities), there can be no support. Reporting abuse among kids with disabilities is, at best, a big challenge - starting with the reality that it may not even be recorded in a report!
All these "medical model" support organizations for specific disabilities - need to "get with it" ... learn about child abuse among kids with disabilities and develop SOMETHING that essentially reaches out to a potentially struggling parent - a lifeline when parenting a child with a disability is just "too much".
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