Ok. Here I go. I am tired of the profound sadness that is filling my head 24/7.
When I first heard about the “Ashley Treatment”, I was appalled. I checked out the family’s website. I was more appalled.
I have been reading insightful, articulate reflections* by fellow bloggers. My family and I have talked on and on and on about the situation. But, still, I had remained a little detached (not much!) and didn’t want to write about the topic. My interview project and my blogging have been fun, up until now. But, tonight, I have changed my mind.
Ashley has cerebral palsy. I have cerebral palsy. But, most importantly, Ashley is human. I am human. Ashley is me. I am Ashley. And you are Ashley, too.
Ashley’s “parents” are afraid that their daughter would grow physically to be a young woman. I am a young man. I have a severe disability. I cannot sit up by myself, I cannot walk, I cannot go to the bathroom independently, I cannot prepare meals, I cannot use utensils very well. I cannot wipe my own butt. I drool. I weigh about 140 pounds, I am 5’9” tall. I am uncomfortable spending a lot of time in my wheelchair, I prefer to lay on the carpet. My mom can no longer lift me off the floor; my dad can barely lift me off the floor.
I have been disrespected and mistreated at times in my life. My parents have always gone to bat for me and now, with me. What strikes me tonight about the “Ashley Treatment” and has brought me to tears is that the very people in all of society whom this child should trust, have betrayed her. When you grow up so dependent, so vulnerable, you need someone to love you wholly and unconditionally. The rest of society may disrespect you and put you down and make you think less of yourself and make you think you are not a human being, but your parents?! Your parents?! I am my parents’ child, they know that I am a human being. Not an angel, not a pet. And, I learn from them that as a human, I have human dignity.
Ashley’s parents have committed the ultimate betrayal. They have treated their daughter as less than human, not worthy of dignity. But the truth is, they have lost their dignity.