Talk about setting the disabled community back to the times when forced sterilization existed.Â I learned of "The Ashley Treatment" by watching Nancy Grace on Headline News (CNN) this evening.Â Nancy was just about in tears doing this show on the girl whose parents decided to stunt her growth and prevent her from growing into a mature female adult.
The blog her parents have set up mentions that Ashley started showing signs of early puberty at 6.5 years of age.Â Seems large breasts run in the family.Â Ashley cannot walk, talk, sit or stand - her diagnosis is "static encephalopathy of unknown etiology".Â She is tube fed and basically stays in the same position that they place her in, which is on a pillow so they dubbed her the "pillow angel".
Â The blog states she can move her arms and legs and reacts to music, makes no eye contact and is in a special classroom that provides her with daily bus trips.Â Her parents note that she has the "same level of cognitive and mental developmental ability since about three months of age".
In 2004 they started a series of medical treatments at the Seattle Children's Hospital that the family called "The Ashley Treatment" as she is the only one that hasÂ been through this.Â "The combined hysterectomy, breast bud removal, and appendectomy surgery was performed without complications in July 2004."
The parents explain in the blog that it is easier to carry Ashley at 65 pounds, fit in a bathtub, plus the grandparents find it difficult to manage her at 65 pounds.
We hereby grant you permission to use Ashley's photos and to quote from our article as long as you clearly give credit to and include a link to this web site: http://ashleytreatment.spaces.live.com/blog)
I am not about to explot this child further by posting her photos online and am completely shocked and appalled by this treatment of a disabled child.Â Nancy Grace also mentioned that she has a family member who is disabled.Â
I can just imagine how the adult disabled community is feeling after reading and hearing about "The Ashley Treatment".Â It is like this family is ashamed that their daughter is physically and mentalled handicapped and wants to keep her childlike to make it easier on the family.
They claim they are loving parents, but to consider such procedures at such a young age and not give her the chance to grow physically as any other disabled person is just inhumane.Â How are people ever going to be accepting of the disabled community if families are acting like this and Doctors and Hospitals are willing to go to this length to satisfy a parent's need for keeping a child in the same physical state for the rest of their life.Â
I have not read the entire blog yet to see if Insurance picked up any of the tab of these procedures, but I sincerely hope not as so many people are in need of operations to stay alive and they have to endure red tape and approvals through insurance companies that this would be a travesty to have these treatments covered.
I am still in a state of shock over reading of this family.Â I have a sister who was born with a brain tumor and after several operations became blind as the result of removing the tumor.Â She was not developing and had to be given hormones.Â Last time I saw her was 12 years ago and she did not look like a grown woman, but that of a teenager or even younger.Â I believe she is about forty now.
I am also the parent to two children with autism.Â My ten year old is nonverbal and low functioning on the spectrum.Â He seems like a toddler with his behaviors and mental capacity.Â Last time he was tested they said he was below that stage, so I am just speculating where he is now, but that is not really important to me. I would never consider any type of procedure to prevent him from growing - all the men on my side of the family are very tall so I imagine he will have a growth spurt in a few more years.
An antipsychotic he used to take (Risperdal) causes weight gain, but he changed that medication due to other side effects and now takes Geodon.Â I have read on many of my autism yahoo groups of kids my son's age and younger who weigh over 200 pounds and the older kids are already at 6 feet tall.Â I doubt any of these parents ever thought about stopping their child's growth.
What about the adults with disabilities that are of the same condition as Ashley?Â Why can't society accept those who are different either in mental capacity or physical deformities?Â Why is it that communities do not want group homes in their neighborhoods? What do people fear from the disabled adults in this world?
Share your thoughts about this blogÂ after reading these excerpts:
"Ashleyâ€™s smaller and lighter size makes it more possible to include her in the typical family life and activities that provide her with needed comfort, closeness, security and love: meal time, car trips, touch, snuggles, etc. Typically, when awake, babies are in the same room as other family members, the sights and sounds of family life engaging the babyâ€™s attention, entertaining the baby. Likewise, Ashley has all of a babyâ€™s needs, including being entertained and engaged, and she calms at the sounds of family voices. Â Furthermore, given Ashleyâ€™s mental age a nine and a half year old body is more appropriate and more dignified than a fully grown female body."
The family goes on to condone this treatmentÂ by writing:
Â "Ashley has no need for developed breasts since she will not breast feed and their presence would only be a source of discomfort to her. This is especially true since Ashley is likely destined to have large breasts, given her maternal and paternal female lineage; for example, an aunt had a breast reduction operation at age 19."
Â " Large breasts could â€œsexualizeâ€ Ashley towards her caregiver, especially when they are touched while she is being moved or handled, inviting the possibility of abuse."
"To put our decision process in perspective, it is not uncommon for parents with children who have cancer or birth defects to pursue significantly more intrusive treatment (chemo or radiation therapy) or more involved surgery (limb amputations or face reconstruction), than what the â€œAshley Treatmentâ€ entails. We strongly believe that the benefits that weâ€™re seeking for Ashley are not any less worthy than these other unfortunate situations entail."