Friday, May 17, 2013

Smiling Manipulators

Editorial Note: This is an open letter that may or may not be real.  The names may have been changed to protect the innocent or the guilty.  The point is...children with disabilities are being manipulated by predators who may come in the form of smiling-in-your-face students who walk the hallways of their elementary, middle and high schools. 

We as parents need to be vigilant in talking to our kids about spending money, buying things, or giving away toys to people who are supposed to be their friends.  A true friend does not continually ask you to spend your money on them or give them things that belong to you. If a peer is asking you for money, and they have never returned the favor, chances are you are being used.  Real friends don't ask you for money, toys or gifts.  

Dear School Administrator, 

I overheard his conversation with my two sons and their friend, who also has a disability, the other night on our way to church.  The young man was telling my boys that he is being asked to buy a certain young lady small snack items, sending him back and forth to the lunch line first to buy cookies then later to buy chips to give to or share with her. After which she says, "Oh...You're so sweet! I love you."  He of course was thrilled by her show of affection.

Both of my sons are on the autism spectrum, however they could both see that he is being used only because this has happened to Red before with another young lady there at the high school.  I personally taught him the lesson of people trying to use him.  People with disabilities are often desperate for friendships and can not readily see that they are being manipulated. 

The young lady involved this time is the same young lady you had my son sign a "Stay Away Agreement" from.  This kind of manipulative behavior is despicable and shows the true character of this young lady who was a part of major drama for my son.  It makes me believe that a lot of the things that happened were over dramatized and that she did play a part in the going back and forth, yanking his chain, being his friend one day, and telling on him like she is deathly afraid of him the next. 

Red told me back then, that you guys are only listening to her ...only listening to the person without the disabilitiy and that no one cares about those who do have one.  This is a part of his anger with Assistant Principals at the high school.  

When my younger son, who is still in middle school heard this young man telling this story, he told him right away that he is being used.  "She is not your friend."  His  reply was that, "I had the money, so I didn't mind." 

I spoke with the Special Education Social Skills teacher about this the following day.  He said he would give a social skills lesson about manipulation and reading cues.  I also spoke with my sons tracking teacher because of course, he was upset that this young lady is continuing to get away with taking advantage of kids with special needs.  My son felt like it was his job to stop it, because administration would do nothing about it. I of course, told my son I did not want him taking matters into his own hands. 

I feel like this matter needs to be investigated. This young man doesn't want to get the girl in trouble.  In fact, as I said, he doesn't even realize this is happening.  My son tells me this kind of thing happens to his friends all the time.  It is the job of the administration to protect ALL CHILDREN, not just the ones who complain the loudest and have the cognitive ability to be manipulative.  When I think about the fact that I have turned my son's schedule completely around because of these kind of situations, with typical students, it really makes me angry. 

Students should be taught tolerance and acceptance of those with differences, instead of having those with differences be punished for their lack of ability to handle certain social situations. 

I will appreciate your investigation into this matter. 

Thank you,

A Concerned Parent