Dear Sarah Sander:
I enjoyed your latest magazine very much, especially the picture of your Bar Mitzvah son. You surely have to thank Hashem that he has a mild degree of Down syndrome.
I am writing to you in reference to Rabbi Patkin's request.
I am the mother of a thirteen-year-old son with developmental delays. The experience that I got from this kind of parenting, and my opinion, is as follows: Just like my neighbor can bake four cakes in one day and I can't, every situation is different.
Just because I was able to keep my son home for thirteen years and my neighbor who has a ten-year-old son who talks more than my son, and is much easier behaviorally, has put her son into a group home, doesn't mean she's wrong. (Editor's Note: Is that the neighbor who is baking four cakes a day? Perhaps she should stop baking and tend to more important issues in life...Ouch! I'm sorry; I know that hurt.)
Raising a special child isn't the world's easiest thing. Having a more difficult special child or one that isn't so cute is even harder. Also, the father, siblings, mother, and the neighborhood/community have to adjust to this, which doesn't always work.
Even though I kept my son home, I still feel that some people can't cope and have to do otherwise.
This article first appeared in issue #12 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us