Estimates show that up to 90% of females with an intellectual disability and up to 50% of males will be sexually abused.
I truly didn’t realize the numbers were so high.
I also didn’t know that Ped*phile websites often mention children with intellectual disabilities as ‘good targets’ because of their willingness to please. (There’s a special place in hell……)
Okay. That was terrifically hard to type. And the thought makes me want to grab Parker and run far, far away.
Unfortunately, these are just a few of the hard cold facts that parents of children with intellectual disabilities have to face…and face NOW.
I’m going to share with you tactics for making our kids safer from those who might harbor the thought of preying on them. They aren’t easy to read. And considering that this is a family blog, some of them aren’t exactly G rated. But if sharing these tactics help keep even one kid safe, then it’s worth it.
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 have cleaned up a couple because my Mom reads my blog and I can just see her passing out after reading a few of these. (Hi Mom!)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and hug Parker and make sure he knows just how much I love him. The images this post has put into my head are breaking my heart. It’s also instilling a deep determination to be more aware of any changes in Parker’s emotional behavior, which is also another thing to watch out for. Remember, sexual offenders can be found anywhere there are vulnerable people.
PS: All pics compliments of Google images.
PSS: On a happier note, did you see who won our AbleNet giveaway?