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COMMUNITY VOICE

A story of which children the government helps and which it will not

Friday, August 15, 2014 - 12:01 am

I want to acquaint you with two mothers who both face similar unimaginable challenges.

Let’s call them Mary and Wilma. Both are raising severely mentally handicapped sons. Mary’s son is a young adult; Wilma’s is 15 years old and attends high school.

Mary’s son can become quickly agitated and quite violent. Because he is restricted in what he can do for himself, Mary still has to dress and feed him and attend to matters he cannot do for himself. When he was still attending school, he was prone to attack other students by punching and biting them. It was not unusual for Mary to be called to school to help calm him down, and if he didn’t calm down, she was forced to take him home, which hindered her from holding a job.

She has not been able to have a steady relationship, and having any free time for herself has been almost impossible. And she is the target of his violent behaviors. He has repeatedly attacked her, leaving bruises, cuts and bite marks. It is difficult for her to both love and fear her son.

Unless he is sleeping, Wilma’s son needs constant attention. Being severely mentally handicapped and unable to speak, he communicates by grunts and other sounds so that only those who are always around him are able to comprehend what he is trying to convey.

Wilma’s son can also become extremely aggressive. But his violent reactions are expressed differently than Mary’s son’s. Her son will throw his own bodily fluids and waste at anyone, including Wilma, his brother and sister, his teachers and classmates. Because he only attends school a few hours a day and receives home services, Wilma cannot work outside the modest home she and her family now reside in. She is aware that as her son gets older and as bigger and stronger, the challenges in raising him now may pale in comparison to what the future holds.

Wilma’s other children do not get all the attention they deserve because of what their brother requires.

Despite being worn out beyond their years due to their sons’ extreme special needs, there is something else that Mary and Wilma have in common. Each has petitioned the government to get their sons placed in an institution that can provide the long-term assistance that will sustain their children. Each has come up against a brick wall every step of the way.

Because Mary’s son is older, she has experienced a futile effort. She was told by the government her son would be placed on a two-year waiting list before being considered. That was five years ago, and still there has been no progress. In the meantime, Mary carries with her a fear that her son will one day kill her in her sleep.

Mary and Wilma have given all they can in providing for their sons, to the point where they have given up any hope of having anything resembling a normal life. In Wilma’s case, it means robbing from her other two children what should be a safe and enjoyable childhood.

But here is the irony. A government that cannot provide long-term care for two severely handicapped young citizens seems willing to overcome any obstacle to provide for 60,000 illegal children who have stormed our southern borders, as well as for the millions of other illegal immigrants who live free here.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform reports that illegal immigration costs taxpayers $113 billion a year, while taxes collected from illegal immigrants only amounts to approximately $13 billion a year. This includes $52 billion spent on public education. In addition, there will be even higher expense since predictably the ACLU is suing the government in order to make sure each of those 60,000 children wwill get representation paid for by the taxpayer.

Throw in the costs of immunizations and continual medical services for these children, as well as providing for their staying far into the unforeseeable future and you wonder why America can’t offer priority to its own citizens first.

Bob Rinearson is a resident of Fort Wayne