"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Thursday, January 27, 2011

But What Does It Mean?

Deaf and hard-of-hearing children are neglected, abused and otherwise maltreated at a rate 25 percent greater than others, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York directly correlate childhood maltreatment and higher rates of negative cognition, depression and post-traumatic stress in adulthood.

The researchers found 77 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing respondents indicated experiencing some form of child maltreatment, vs. 49 percent among hearing respondents. In addition, respondents with more severe hearing loss indicated an increased rate and severity of maltreatment.
I found the above report interesting.  Even though I wasn't sure exactly what it meant.

I mean, yes, it's sad. And pathetic.  And wrong.

But what exactly does it mean?

What does focusing on the abuse of children who are deaf and hard of hearing, as opposed to those who have other forms of disability, really tell us?

Sadly, I'm not surprised to find these children are maltreated at a rate greater than 25% than others.  But when we compare them to their "hearing" peers, are we also comparing them to their hearing peers who are mentally challenged? Physically challenged?  Those with ADHD or autism? 

Are they abused amy more or less than children labelled with other disabilities?

Does it really matter?

Has anybody done the studies, published the statistics showing how much more children with any form of disability are likely to be mistreated?

I'm certainly not promoting any us v. them division in the disability community.  I guess I am just wondering why a study was done which focused on this particular disability as opposed to some different disability. Or all types of disability.

That and just what people propose to do about it.  If abuse of any child is a crime (as well it should be), can these perpetrators be sentenced for a "hate crime" when their abuse is perpetrated against a child (or an adult) with a disability?  Should they be?

Just some rambling thoughts of a mother/lawyer on yet another snow day in Nova Scotia.

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