Thursday, July 21, 2011

How dare they?

This article, Dressing down for GQ -, contains the details about a highly offensive language in a web article posted at I went to see the article itself,here, and discovered that they had changed the offensive text, but there's no note and certainly no apology.
As one woman quoted in the Boston Herald put it, "How dare they?" How dare they say that someone with Down Syndrome is "ruined"? The rest of the GQ article is snarky, but no where else did they sink to the level of insulting people with intellectual disabilities. Of course, I must consider that they may have whitewashed other parts of the article as well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lost Wanderer

Today I had one of the experiences every parent dreads--a lost child. I am beyond grateful that we found him safe and sound in less than 30 minutes.

H. is a wanderer. He would gladly roam on his own with no strings, minders, leashes, fences, or other restrictions, but because he lacks danger sense and doesn't have the verbal ability to say where he is going and when he will return, we can never give him that kind of freedom. Until he develops those essential skills, we keep his movements under constant limitation.

This morning we we waking up from a restless night spent at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each child had awakened at some point during the night, but we had managed to get each back to sleep. We had discovered that we needed to keep the deadbolt locked in the room because H. could slip out the door if it wasn't locked. So when I went out to get coffee, Red Bull, and milk, Mike locked the door behind me.

When I got back, I knocked at the door and Mike let me in. I passed Mike the Red Bull, poured milk for the kids, and sat down, waiting for my coffee to cool. I noticed that H. finished his milk; I noticed the E. was still working on hers. Neither of us noticed that we hadn't locked the door behind me.

I let my attention drift to the cartoon on the TV. I did not hear H. open the door and I did not hear the door close. I think three minutes passed before I noticed that I hadn't seen H. bouncing through the room. "Where's H.?" I said to Mike. After the ten seconds it took us to determine that the door wasn't locked and he wasn't in the bathroom or closet, Mike said, "He's out." We got our keys, leaving E. watching cartoons, and split up to search our hall.

The panic didn't hit me until I had searched down the hall as far as the vending machine. Past experience with hotels and motels had told me H. was attracted to vending and ice machines, and I thought he would head there. When I saw that the hall was empty, and I couldn't see him down the other hallways that led off the central hub, I realized that my son was out of my sight, and I had no idea which way he had gone.

I started hyperventalating as I approached our room. "I can't find him," I gasped to Mike. "You go call security," he said, still calm. "I'll keep looking." I called the security desk and explained the situation. I went to the door, propped it open with a chair, and sat down.

Within about two minutes two security personnel were at the door to talk to me. One of them left to check the stairwell.

About two minutes later, Mike came back. We explained that H. would not answer to his name, and the security officer who was still at our door relayed that information to the rest of her team.

About three minutes after that, she got a message, which she relayed to us: "We've got him. On camera, heading to the central core [the middle of the floor where the hallways meet and the elevators are located]." The security team was still searching, but they had made visual contact.

Two more minutes went by, and then the security officer got another message. She didn't stay to explain it to us, she just left.

To get my mind off what was going on, Mike told me to get E. and myself ready, so I started on that task. While E. and I were in the bathroom, the security officer came back and spoke to Mike, then they both left.

I think five more minutes passed. I'm not sure. Then I heard Mike's voice and H.'s voice in the hallway, and I ran out to check. They were both coming up the hall. I had managed to not cry until that point, but as I ran the thirty feet to Henry I started to sob. I hugged him, and when I pulled back to look at him, he gave me a goofy, befuddled grin, puzzled about why I was so upset.

Mike explained that the security officer had taken him up to the fifth floor, where the security team had caught up to H. There was a team of five officers around him, one of them holding his hand, but he was totally unfazed. Apparently he had explored floors 10, 4, and 5, in that order, by calling the elevator and pressing the buttons for the floors he wanted to visit.

I have no thoughtful analysis to offer for this incident. All I can offer is a heartfelt thank you to the security staff at the MGM Grand.