Dear parents, guardians, and interested disabled readers who are either parents themselves or plan to become parents,
Recently I came across an article about an Ohio teenager whose phone was confiscated for whatever reason, and she called the cops because she believed, at the age of seventeen, that the phone was her property. WEll, without disability and common problems with elder and guardianship abuse, the girl was written off as a brat. Well, there is a serious epidemic among white privileged children, those who get more than they give, and that’s no joke. But here’s a summary of something that happened to me, and before you write me off as entitled or bratty, remember I lived in a small town in Florida whose residents were divided by color of skin, mostly the blacks living in the De Leon area, where shootings would occur. I was also deemed incompetent for fraudulent reasons, and my life was completely ruined.
I was dropped out of college at nineteen, one semester of general education gone because of a parent’s desire to disable me further, prevent me from going to a proper university and earn a real degree. My parents decided, that because they didn’t like something I said, they’d take away my cell phone and laptop and Internet privileges, leading to isolation, false imprisonment, and later, a trip to Rehab and the psych ward. I remember especially after sometime in March, I was admitted to Wuesthoff Medical Centre, a psych ward in Rockledge, Florida, and had to stay for three days. So they didn’t let patients withdraw, but the main thing was that by the time my parents were finished mocking my relationships with others, taking away phone “privileges”, and not allowing me to bathe without supervision, I was tired of life. I couldn’t have lived without noticing that I couldn’t talk to people, couldn’t write or email my feelings, and was censored all over the place. Well, I’d like to say that all that monitoring drove me insane as a nineteen-year-old.
Fast forward to 2007, and I met a young man on the students email list. My parents were again wanting to intervene, and they claimed that the phone was their property and they didn’t want me to talk to him. They claimed it was all about safety, but you can imagine that after the ordeal at Wuesthoff I was just about livid with phone usage taken away. It was also forced upon me earlier, not allowed to call a certain black man in Titusville whose name was Orien Henry. I was told I would never see him, but it gets better. After I met my first boyfriend, my parents refused to allow me to speak with him privately. They hacked into and targeted my email filters, making my boyfriend’s emails get deleted. Well, I stumbled into college knowing all this, and I took down the filters, changed my password, and I never let my father or mother into my email again.
After many failed attempts at getting the parents on board with reasonable service provisions, and after having been falsely accused of wanting sex with a man whose name I can’t mention here, I altogether left my family in Florida through a legal channel. Because I didn’t want to be isolated or told who and what to say anymore, I swore I’d stay in Denver, which now I do have an apartment and a significant other.
The truth about my isolation was that my brain had to think. I was in a silent reading and writing period, taking in any drop of rain that fell from the ceiling of my imagination. I was frequently censored in the things I wrote, so I wrote things that my parents wouldn’t suspect, hid the writing away, and was regretably told that I couldn’t write what I wanted to write. During my isolation, my brain went numb. Time was short, and I honestly wanted to die. The only thing I could do was walk out of my family’s home, but I ended up hospitalized. There was no support for independence at LaAmistad, where I later was for treatment. There was no social support because even that could be labeled a “privilege.” Social supports are not privileges, rather they are vital to disabled adults in isolation. Isolation in and of itself could lead to early death among adults, and teenagers who are isolated and made to live among people they despise because the people bully the teens are also at risk of early death.
Before you write me off as entitled, the isolation I just summarized was not proper punishment. It was a parent’s desire to prevent me from growing into the person I became. The aftereffects of the isolation can still be felt, but when I was in the training center in Littleton, I had to play catch up with relationships, sexual contact, and other such things I’d been denied as a teenager. Now, I have a sexual partner, we live together, and we are struggling to find employment. Here’s the big thing: because I was isolated, I absolutely cannot get a traditional job, and the odds of getting a job are too highly not in my favor. Employers want well socialized puppies, not isolated sick ones. It’s a sad truth in the job market, but it gets worse. I don’t want to be in a position where I can’t care for or bond with another human being, so having kids is questionable. I don’t want a social worker visiting my hospital room because of blindness. I will not talk to social workers unless they understand that I am the mother of the child, and potentially I would never abuse the child. Isolating a disabled adult is not okay, got it? Isolating a disabled and marginalized teenager is also not okay. It is also not okay to name call on social media, right? In the thread I was part of, a young man commented that parents and guardians have a right to take phones from a child or dependent if it isn’t in their best interest, or worse off, safety. But that’s too broad an interpretation, as when I was isolated and told not to use my phone or pc, I already felt that I was being abused. I had no resources to call EMS services if I had a real emergency, or worse, I couldn’t do mental health self care.
Finally, if you are suicidal or isolated, please call 800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741-741 and you will get a crisis person on the line to talk. If you are found incompetent to own your own phone, make sure your guardian or court appointed Conservator gets Hell, real HEll, if something bad happens to you. You may want to go to the police station, tell the cops yourself that you are suicidal or facing isolation because of a court appointed guardian, and you will likely have to talk to your local adult protective services. Make sure you do NOT bring your cell if you are facing injury or isolation, only run and find a domestic violence shelter for people with disabilities.
You can also learn more about isolation and elder/dependent abuse in the state of Colorado by going to http://www.faceus.org
Carrie Kasem, daughter of the late Kasey Kasem, also has a group that does work on behalf of elders/dependents who are isolated or abused. Her group can be found at
Thank you for reading. P.S. Thanks to Mr. Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post, a link is coming. This is an article we worked on together to bring light to the Shutdown mess. Thanks also for the support of this blog, and I will be forever grateful for the advice on ignoring the haters.