Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Escaping from Peter Pan's Prison"

hat tip on this BOTH to Title Varies Slightly and the Curt Jester

I linked directly to this article by Anne McDonald over at MercatorNet who writes about Ashley X. It's a must read.

She writes:

"Like Ashley, I, too, have a static encephalopathy. Mine was caused by brain damage at the time of my breech birth. Like Ashley, I can't walk, talk, feed or care for myself. My motor skills are those of a 3-month-old. When I was 3, a doctor assessed me as severely retarded (that is, as having an IQ of less than 35) and I was admitted to a state institution called St Nicholas Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. As the hospital didn't provide me with a wheelchair, I lay in bed or on the floor for most of the next 14 years. At the age of 12, I was relabelled as profoundly retarded (IQ less than 20) because I still hadn't learned to walk or talk.

Like Ashley, I have experienced growth attenuation. I may be the only person on Earth who can say, "Been there. Done that. Didn't like it. Preferred to grow."

Unlike Ashley, my growth was "attenuated" not by medical intervention but by medical neglect. My growth stopped because I was starved. ...."

She questions Peter Singer's assessment of Ashley X and the assessment of children with like disabilities:

"When Singer wrote that, "Ashley is 9, but her mental age has never progressed beyond that of a 3-month-old. She cannot walk, talk, hold a toy or change her position in bed. Her parents are not sure she recognises them. She is expected to have a normal lifespan, but her mental condition will never improve," he has accepted the doctors' eyeball assessment of Ashley without asking the obvious questions.

What was their assessment based on? Has Ashley ever been offered a way of showing that she knows more than a 3-month-old baby? .....Any assessment of intelligence that relies on speech and motor skills cannot conceivably be accurate because the child doesn't have any of the skills required to undertake testing. To equate intelligence with motor skills is as absurd as equating it with height." Via MercatorNet.com

She states it is unethical not to provide Ashley with a way to communicate and urges those around her to do so.

She writes:

"Only someone like me who has lain in a cot year after year hoping that someone would give her a chance can know the horror of being treated as if you were totally without conscious thought."

Words from Anne, assessed as having an IQ of less than 20 based on methods used before Anne was provided with a way to communicate.....

No comments: