Heads Up to Parents of Special Needs Tweens

Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)





When puberty and curiosity intersect in a special needs child’s life it’s imperative that we pay attention more than ever before, to what our children and grandchildren are exposed to.

I would like to share a story of someone I know personally…no gory details, just a clinical view of what was discovered, discussed, and diverted.

Roy, eleven years old, received a tablet as a gift. He was curious about his “not-a-toy,” (suddenly making its presence known, in his words, “…all day long.” )

His mother downloaded a few games he wanted to play and secured the WIFI connection with a password.

Being autistic, Roy’s biggest distraction is all things technological. He is always looking over his mother’s shoulder when she is on her phone, or paying precise attention when the librarian has difficulty setting him up in computer lab at school.

Roy did not have permission to peruse the Internet without adult supervision. However, he discovered the Internet when he learned how to bypass password requests by selecting safemode.

Two months later, while doing a Google search history, his mother found things she could not “unsee.” Often these were accompanied by ads for hotels, etc.

Roy had gone behind her back, despite her warnings. She felt betrayed.

His mother chose to teach him many life lessons, starting with a talk about how his curiosity could have put him and his family and friends at risk of horrific consequences.

Then she handed him a rake and told him to rake the leaves in his yard, and not to leave one leaf behind.

The wind was blowing that day.

151112 IMG_1467E

Roy seemed very irritated at the impossible task ahead of him. He asked his mother, “What if I miss one? What does it matter if some get away?”

She replied, “Think of the leaves as children who were not caught by their parents, but were kidnapped and never seen again. The leaf you don’t get could be your little sister/brother, or one of your friends.”

At first his anger was fueled by the fact he was caught. After realizing how it could have exacerbated to a life threatening situation, he was angry at the people who could not control their spirit and gave into their selfish desires over the welfare of trusting children.

He worked hard and got most of the leaves up by dark. He wore orange and had peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and dinner. He had breaks, but not many.

He was heartbroken to learn prisoners don’t get fun snacks or quiet time to curl up with family to watch kid movies and read bedtime stories. He didn’t get a lot of “attaboys” either.

He decided he didn’t want to be a criminal.

Determined to reclaim the life he almost threw away. The next morning he rose early, dressed to work and asked permission to clean up the rest of the leaves, now that he could see better in the light. He took the initiative to be a better person. When he was through, his mother suggested he look at all the leaves he had raked as children he saved by his decision to control his own spirit over selfish desires.

He didn’t have an understanding of betrayal. When he asked that it be defined, he was told that would be like someone kicking his leaves back out into the yard and telling him to start over.

Punishment wouldn’t have taught Roy much, but would have made him angrier and part of the problem.

Through discipline and understanding, he was able to do something positive to change his life and the lives of many others, on purpose. He became part of the solution.

I share this in hope of helping other parents to be alert, aware and active in showing our most precious resource that we love them. We do this by not shutting them out with our technological distractions, but by giving them what they need to know before someone else shares what they don’t need to know.



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April 1-30, 2016     Benefits the

Blackburn Center Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

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Child Abuse Issues: https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/category/child-abuse-issues/

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com. My novel site is www.intertwinedlove.wordpress.com.
This entry was posted in GUEST WRITER, Parenting, Special Needs Children and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Heads Up to Parents of Special Needs Tweens

  1. Pingback: Blackburn Center Fundraiser: April 2016 | Carolyn's Online Magazine

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