Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Being Invisible is Deadly; 19 Year Old with Autism Left on School Bus Dies.

“I feel like, we are nothing," she said. “They killed my son. Technically, they killed my son.”  Eun Ha Lee


It’s taken me days to respond to this horrifying event, because every time I think about it, I hear his mother’s words “I feel like, we are nothing," “They killed my son. Technically, they killed my son.”

The reminder of how vulnerable our kids are, and how easy it is to neglect them and how fatal the consequences can be, was just too much for me to take in.  When Lee’s mom through her tears said "We live in a tomb now." I felt her grief and all I could think was by the grace of God go I.  

Reading he was probably just following directions drilled into him over the years "Wait until someone comes to get you" hit too close to home because my son has been "trained" in the same way. Training that is good and often all we can offer, yet in this case may have been a factor in this young man losing his life, left me feeling vunerable in a way I never had before.

Again, families I say” be afraid, be very afraid”. Not because we want to live paranoid, but because the fact is our children face all the dangers any child faces in the world nd more. Dangers from all angles. Last week Nick started eating raw bacon! Raw Bacon and his aid didn't notice. Until that moment I didn't realize the degree of Nick's lack of food safety, which could have dire consequences. 

Our schools, systems of care and communities alike are all working to include the growing autism population and the truth is the process is not perfect, it is flawed and full of gaps, and who knows how long it will take to build infrastructures that support this population, if ever. 

As parents and caregivers we know the dangers don’t stop as our children mature, but persist keeping them are risk throughout their lives. So it’s on us to make this a safer world for our kids. I’m thinking the more I do know the better it will be when I am not here to watch over him. Don’t get me wrong, I know there is no way we can ever be sure our children are safe, typical or special needs. We can’t guarantee anyone’s safety, that’s in the hands of a higher power and it is a concern all families and caregivers share. The only thing we can do is take every precaution to keep them safe. We can learn from the tragic death of Hun-Joon Lee and double check all our personal protocols and the protocols of the people who serve and support our children. This way if any of us are met with a tragedy of this magnitude, and the fact is some of us will be, we will know we did the best we could and we will not add the weight of regret to our already burdened shoulders.


My prayers go out to this family. 
Donna 

www.nbclosangeles.com/.../Special-Needs-Student-Found-Dead-o...

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