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Should we be vetting the professionals who work with our kids?

Posted Dec 09 2009 6:17pm
I first heard the word "vetted" during last year's presidential election. It was used describing the background checking (or lack thereof) of Sarah Palin, once her teen daughter's pregnancy hit the news.

Recently, I came across an online discussion between women who have terminated for Down syndrome. They were discussing the thought processes behind their decision and lamenting the fact that they were unable to share their decision with people for fear of judgement. It was a fascinating discussion for me, until I came upon the post from a woman who works in special education. She shared that a colleague of hers really helped her make her decision to terminate by reminding her that, not only was she doing what was best for her family, but she was also doing what was best for society. Yikes!

It's disturbing that someone who works with people like my son would choose termination for her own pregnancy, but that doesn't necessarily disqualify her to me. I realized a long time ago that a 90% termination rate means that I likely interact with women all the time who've aborted their baby with Ds and I'll never know. But, to have the mindset that those with Down syndrome shouldn't even be members of society and then to work in special education absolutely blows my mind. Unfortunately, it got worse. She went on to say, "People don't condemn others for putting a sick dog to sleep. It's considered humane."

I cannot possibly believe that this woman and her colleague will have the best interest of my child at heart when they don't even feel he should live! I can't imagine that they will really work to help him meet his goals and his full potential.

How many people like these women work with children or people with special needs? Today, I read about a child with Ds who had been repeatedly "put in time out" in a bathroom, with the lights off by her special education teacher. The TA finally reported it and the family discovered the atrocity as authorities were trying to sweep it under the rug. I have always said that some people should be hanging wallpaper for a living and I think that applies here.

Throw in the former special ed teacher I met in Panera a few months ago who asked me, "Wouldn't it be great if we all had Down syndrome...and were able to beat the crap out of someone and get away with it?" and I'm starting to get a bleak picture of Eon's school career.

I have decided that I'll be doing a little vetting of those I let work with Eon. I will be asking direct questions to determine underlying belief systems. I want to know that those I allow to help us are truly for him.

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