Monday, January 22, 2007

Ashley: A Few More Thoughts

I finally got to watch our segment which appeared a week ago this past Friday on CNN's Paul Zahn Now. Thank you Robert and Alician S. for your support while living a similar journey and for being such great Furman Paladin fans!

I watched Dream Mom's segment for the first time. The night of the live appearance I only got to hear the the piece through an ear-piece in my left ear. I sympathize deeply with Dream Mom's plight and support her wholeheartedly in wanting to care, love, and support her son at home. She obviously does an excellent job and I am privileged to know about their story.

However her opinions about Ashley's parents and the choice they made are moot. First she has a son. Her belief of her son becoming a "man" are hopeful at best. Certainly his body is becoming that but unfortunately his mind is not. I hope I am wrong in my opinion but I saw enough to know that he will probably not progress mentally beyond that of a small child. I am also hopeful that Ben will progress into a young man as well. Certainly his body will mature just like Dear Son but the likelihood is that Ben will always have a mental capacity also of a child's.

Dear Mom was obviously struggling to lift and move Dear Son about. In her part of the program she says that they somehow manage but if you read enough within her blog
you will see that she laments the need for equipment and resources needed to handle a young man the size of her son. This in itself makes Ashley's parents wise in their choice.

Secondly the fact that her son and my son are male should give us pause before we chastise the parents of a female neurologically special child. Ashley's parents tell us that their little girl began showing signs of puberty at the age of six. From conversations with other parents, physicians, and even Ben's nurses that situation is not only common it is an unfortunate fact. I am not worthy to deem judgement against Ashley's parents given this truth alone!

So many issues come to mind when I really think about Ashly's situation. Cleanliness, increased seizures, the inability to communicate; these are factors that need to be understood and addressed! No one in the disability community has given you the entire scope of information needed to address The Ashley Treatment. Now that I've seen both stories I feel even more strongly about my opinion.

It is also unfortunate this story will die an unresolved death in the news. Here was a clear opportunity for the disabled community to make our situations known but we've now been replaced by news of the Duke lacrosse team. That my friends lets me know where we stand in society. Let us talk about sex and media contrived racism and thus shove Ben, Dear Son, and millions of others back where they belong.

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