I know it feels like I come back around to this regularly...but this is something that every parent should be aware of. And parents of kids with special needs, even more so:
In 2011, I addressed the legitimacy of my deep-seated paranoia about protecting my kids. I spoke of the statistics and the importance of watching your child and communicating with them, and responding if the unthinkable happens. HERE
Just this March, I went on a complete tear about abuse and what YOU should be doing if your Down Syndrome "Awareness" is really "Real". How it's YOUR voices and your conversation with your kids and your votes and your phone calls that make a difference to protect those that need it desperately. HERE
I want to reiterate that it is YOUR voices that must be heard when things happen to children that no child should suffer and NO ONE should close their eyes to. Like HERE just this last September in Florida.
This morning, another friend shared her own path in dealing with the statistics and the consequential responses, at The Bates Motel...and she referenced this really excellent list of things that you can do to protect your child. Typical and those with special needs.
Praying for Parker originally shared the list:
"1. Start early. Introduce correct terms for body parts. This way a they can report clearly if someone engages in sexual misbehavior.
2. Introduce body privacy. NO ONE is allowed to tickle or play around with the private parts of your body. To counter any attempts at or*l s*x include the mouth as a private body part. NO ONE is allowed to put anything part of their body into your mouth.
3. Make it clear that if someone breaks the rules about body privacy, YOU (the parent) need to know about it.
4. Teach your child to stand back and hold out their arms and say – in a BIG LOUD – voice and say, “NO! STOP THAT!” “IT’S NOT ALLOWED!” Practice saying NO! assertively.
5. Practice distinguishing secrets to keep and secrets that must be told. Children and adults with intellectual disabilities often think they can tell good secrets but have to keep bad secrets cause telling a bad secret might make someone feel bad.
6. As sex abuse is about power, work to empower your child with independence in dressing and toileting.
7. Develop and practice problem solving skills. Role play different situations and how your child should react in them.
8. Bear in mind that if your child lacks physical affection, approval and attention, they become more vulnerable to predators.
9. Develop social skills. Personal space. Eye to eye contact. Make sure your child knows their phone number and address.
10. Often children with special have already developed a passivity to adults, especially to caregivers and other professionals. Teach your child it is okay to stand up for themselves.
11. With non-verbal children consult a speech therapist for communication symbols for sexuality.
These aren’t my ideas. They are from another Mama who is working with Dr. Freda Briggs, a renown abuse prevention expert on strategies to keep our kids safe from predators."
I certainly plan to add several of these to my own running education of Elise. I hope you will too.