Last week our local ABC Station in Philadelphia reported a young man was found in the woods in a park located in West Philadelphia. He was missing for five days. He was described to be a victim of quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He apparently was left by his mother, covered with a blanket and a bible.
He was found by a bypasser who saw deer in the vicinity and attempted to take a picture of them. As he walked closer, he found, what appeared to be a package. He saw movement and ran, thinking it was an animal. Luckily he was smart enough to call the authorities.
This 21 year old man was left by his mother in the park. Allegedly she left him there so she could visit her boy friend in Maryland.
This story prompted outrage in the city. The young man was treated at the Children’s Hospital and surprisingly doing well. The doctors all know him because he is a patient and has been cared for by the staff for a long time.
The mother will be returned home and is facing attempted murder charges. The remaining family members are by the young men’s side at the hospital.
You all know I had a son with this condition. You probably believe I am outraged. I am, but I do not focus my rage entirely on the mother, rather the trained professionals who are caring for the son. It is apparent to me this mother is overwhelmed with the day to day care for her son which can be extremely stressful. I want to know why didn’t her family or the staff who cares for this man, pick up any signs that this woman needed help. I do not believe they had a clue.
Please believe I do not support her decision to abandon her son the way she did. However, there are resources she could have used, if she was offered support. I have to wonder what kind of support did she have, if any? Some people do not know how to ask for help. They may be too proud.
My point is there is not enough programs, information presented, professional social care and/or psychological care provided to parents today to help them make the right decisions before they are forced to abandon their child so tragically.
This is the reason I wrote my book, Our Special Child: Jason’s Story, to support the professionals who are working to help the special needs child. This incident tells me they are not doing enough to help desperate parents. Parents of severely challenged children need to be closely monitored to look out for signs of distress and emotional illness that are associated with the daily care of a child so dependent on their needs.