For his entire life, the man affectionately known as “Mr. Rick” has been selflessly giving his all to help others. His empathy, understanding, and compassion have combined with his natural ability to make people smile to form the perfect mix of tools for him to use toward his goal of making this world a better place. He has endured many hardships in his life, and while some might use them as a crutch, Mr. Rick has used them as motivation. Over the last decade, Mr. Rick has turned his efforts toward helping children with disabilities. After many years, he is now writing this emotional and educational book in an attempt to use his experiences as both a precautionary tale and a guideline for the future. “Mommy, I Wish I Could Tell You What They Did To Me In School Today” has enabled Mr. Rick to become a voice for the voiceless.
The Unthinkable to imagine
In an article entitled, “Abuse of Children with Intellectual Disabilities” by Leigh Ann Davis, M.S.S.W., M.P.A, she wrote, “One in three children with an identified disability for which they receive special education services are victims of some type of maltreatment (i.e., either neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse) whereas one in 10 nondisabled children experience abuse. Children with any type of disability are 3.44 times more likely to be a victim of some type of abuse compared to children without disabilities. (Sullivan & Knutson, 2000).”
what parents need to know and do
In my opinion, web-cams should be installed in every classroom, hallway, cafeteria, therapy room, gymnasium and outdoor play area that is utilized by students. Parents of the school children could be given access codes that would allow them to monitor their child at any time of the day via their computers. School staff would be more apt to always treat special needs student with the dignity and respect that they deserve and are entitled to if the staff know that parents may be watching. If a school staff member mistreats a child in any manner, they must be held accountable.
In a further attempt to create much needed awareness, I wrote a song entitled “Mommy I Wish” which was inspired by the true life experiences of a non-verbal special needs child and the abuse he faced while attending school. The song, sung by 16 year old Shelby Labar, has been utilized in a video that graphically demonstrates the need for changes in our schools. (Photographs of children with evidence of abuse suffered at school were submitted by parents from all around the world and were used in the video.) You can watch the video below.
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Richard S. Stripp, Sr