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The Chicago Incident and Being a Special Needs Parent. A Call To Action For My Sheep Dogs!

Posted by on January 7, 2017 at 10:35 PM

As I watched the video if the young man with developmental disabilities tied, gagged and being assaulted I cried. I cried for several reasons. I cried because it is hard to watch. I cried because it isn’t fair. To be honest one of the main reasons I cried so hard is I know that could have been my son.

When someone asks me what I am afraid of my answer is different from most people I know. What I am truly afraid of is what happened in that video, or worse happening to my son. As I have taught first responders throughout the country I have always tried to show them (police and firefighters) what it is like in my world as a parent of a child with special needs. I am honest. I am brutally honest, but it needs to be said. My biggest fear, my biggest worry is what happens to my son if I or my wife is not there to protect him.

What happens when I die? What happens when my wife and I can’t care for him anymore? This is the question in the minds of every special needs parent all the time. The truth is we don’t talk about it. It’s there trust me. It hits us at different times and different places. Sometimes it hits out of the blue. I hate that feeling, that pressure which is always there, of who is going to continue to protect and fight for my son when my wife and I are gone.

This is where you come in. I am calling for a call to action of all my fellow sheep dogs! We need your help. Watching that video has shown and I assume many in the special needs community how vulnerable our kids and loved ones truly are. You can help! Use this horrible incident to focus your departments or agencies on reaching out to your special needs communities. Show them; show us that you will help protect our children. Show them that you care about our kids as much as the next kid. I don’t expect you to raise my son when I am gone, but just do your part to protect him.

I am always re-assured when I see the positive stories of society taking care of a person with special needs. I couldn’t have been more proud when I saw on the local news the story of two LAPD Officers. Officers Hodgen and Prentice are my heroes. These two officers were dispatched to a death call and once they arrived they notice an adult female with developmental disabilities who was the daughter of the deceased. Looking beyond they couldn’t just walk away. The realized she relied on her mother for her daily necessities. They got involved. They were not afraid. They didn’t find something “more important to do”. They not only physically helped take care of this woman, but they set up a Go Find Me account and have since tried to help care for this woman. It is my hope when I die it is these two officers or someone with their same character who responds to my death call and sees my son.



Before my son was diagnosed 12 years ago I didn’t know anything about the special needs community. I knew I wanted to protect them. I knew I felt bad for them. I knew it would be easy for me to offend them. I also knew I didn’t understand any of it. I wasn’t going to tell anyone any part of that.

When I watch that video of that young man frightened. I see my son in that corner with nobody to defend him. I see a fact that we as special needs parents have known is a reality for far too long. Our special needs communities need to have relationships and communication with our public safety agencies. Our public safety agencies need to have a relationship with our special needs communities.

We need to bridge that gap!

For the public safety agencies I ask are you doing all that can be done to bridge this gap? Have you provided credible and realistic training for your officers? If you haven’t let this tragedy spring board those talks.

For the parents, have you done your part? Reach out to local public safety and help them bridge the gap.

I am confident that those who committed this horrible act will be held accountable. I also know regardless of who is President, the color of his skin, his parent’s beliefs, his parent’s income, where he lives and all that, my son needs to be protected.

My son needs a sheep dog!


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