Sunday, December 05, 2010

We're Still Here

We haven't been posting for a while. There have been a number of reasons for our absence:
  • There has been going on in our lives some of which I plan to share in future posts both here and at Parenting A Complex Child.

  • Additionally, I have been anxious about what I call an internet stalker who has been harrassing me off and on the past couple of years. Pictures have been taken from my websites and used in inappropriate ways as well as other things.

  • Finally, at times I feel a little discouraged because it seems that we are not always practicing what I preach about methods because of Billy Ray's health.

Enough of that it is time to share again. I really do want to share some of the new ideas that we are having to try for Billy Ray so that you, the reader, can take any piece of an idea and rework it into something that might work for your adult child.

Additionally, we have been blessed with new readers for the blogs and books. Bookie Publishing in Seoul, South Korea has translated and published my last book, Parenting an Adult with Disabilities and Special Needs. They are making wonderful strides in their part of the world and I want to encourage parents all that I can.

So, I promise not to be so quiet in the future.

Until next time,

Peggy Lou Morgan

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Marriage Planning for Adults with Disabilities

Adults who experience disabilities have many of the same dreams that adults without disabilities have. Marriage is one of those dreams. Unfortunately, the same dream can bring complexities that might not occur for those without disabilities.

Based on contacts from parents since Parenting an Adult with Disabilities or Special Needs was published I wish I had dealt with the issue in more detail.

Finding that perfect mate brings up many issues by itself. Love, acceptance, and tolerance can be a challenge in any marriage; however, where one spouse must be able to tolerate or take on more than the average spouse it can become even more complicated. It is very awkward. Many people who don’t experience disabilities have made poor choices in spouses. Maybe things that were not obvious at marriage show up in later life and are not tolerable to one spouse. That can certainly be true for disabled adults too.

There is also the possibility of potential spouses who want to marry someone who experiences a disability for the wrong reason. We have all heard the horror stories about people who marry someone with special needs to take advantage of them financially. Others may genuinely want to take care of the person but once married it is not what they expected. Both situations can be devastating to the person with disabilities.

As parents, we want to protect our children and the tendency is to go to all extremes in that pursuit. Our objectivity in evaluating a proposed spouse might be compromised by our knowledge of our child’s needs. It might be harder to see the value of such a relationship to our adult children.

It is further complicated by laws both state and federal that impact a marriage. The Social Security Administration policies do affect marriage for a person classified as “Disabled Adult Child” for their purposes (usually drawing on a disabled or deceased parent’s claim). The adult child may lose all benefits including Medicare unless he marries another “Disabled Adult Child”. Even SSI recipients who are not classified as disabled adult children may lose a substantial part of their benefits if they marry.

I have heard of cases where a minister actually conducted a wedding and the bride and groom considered themselves “married” in the eyes of God but they were not legally married so they wouldn’t lose their benefits. I can only imagine the complications in those cases. Others have decided to marry anyway and lose benefits. The extreme poverty it brings further complicates their disabilities.

I have often thought that if Congress would only realize that Social Security
policies actually end up costing taxpayers more, maybe they would look at adding some flexibility. For example, if two people receiving disability benefits marry, they will lose part or all of their benefits. Suppose both were receiving funding for in-home support staff because it would not be safe to be alone but one support staff would be adequate for both. It also might be that they could help each other more and require less paid help.

Most states have their own laws about whether guardians can refuse a disabled person the right to marry even if it is not in their best interest. Thus, it is important to get legal advice from an attorney or advocacy center in your own area to determine how to adequately deal with the situation if it arises or, in the best-case scenario, to be prepared before it actually arises.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan

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Technical Glitches

I have been trying to follow the publicist assistant’s advice to combine the blogs for both of my books into one blog. However, I have been having great difficulty figuring out how to get the feeds to various places switched. For example, Wellsphere feeds one blog to their Autism community and the other to the Down syndrome community and they can’t feed the combined blog to both communities. I thought I had it fixed for Amazon Kindle readers but apparently not.

For now I am going to write posts of the two blogs and post both of them on the combined blog as well. Hopefully, I will get things switched at one point be down to one blog.

Thanks for your patience with me.

Peggy Lou

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Horror Continues

It seems the horror of abuse and even torture of children and adults who experience disabilities will never end. Just last week I blogged about the "Fight Club" Everyday there seems to be new stories. Yesterday my husband gave me a link about abuse in the public schools and Kev Leitch posted Autistic man tortured

I don’t think that we will totally eliminate abuse against people with disabilities anymore than we will totally stop the abuse and murder of vulnerable children or others who don’t experience a disability. However, there are things that will help protect our children.

I have often written about awareness versus what I see as true acceptance that will make a difference in the life of an individual. See Awareness that Brings Acceptance, The Awareness Controversy , and Community Bulding and Awareness.

I initially started what I came to call “creating a community” for Billy Ray because of difficulty we had in his acceptance in public environments such as stores and restaurants. I laughingly refer to it as creating your own Little House on the Prairie even in large metropolitan areas. You will have only so many stores, restaurants, recreational establishments, etc. that you go to with your child or adult child. That way your child and the people in those environments get to know each other better than if you go to new environments each time.

It takes times to establish those relationships (outlined in Chapter 14, Parenting Your Complex Child) but they bring comfort and security to both your child and those in his community. Thinking about this post while we were having lunch at Billy Ray’s favorite restaurant today, I looked over at the cook and imagined if Billy Ray and a friend were having lunch there and someone harassed him. I could picture him coming out of the kitchen to intervene for Billy Ray in a heartbeat because of the affection he demonstrates for my son. The same with the clerks in our local grocery store and BiMart because he is someone they know and look out for.

A recent interview question was about how parents can find the time to build relationships for their kids. It certainly can take time but it is vital to your child’s happiness and protection. Some of the effort can be done while you are doing things you would normally do such as grocery shopping. Building relationships with the neighbors is not only friendship for your child but they will be more likely to watch out for him.

The more people involved in his or her life the more likely that his community of friends will be there to protect him when you can’t be.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Parenting A Complex Special Needs Child , Amazon Author Connect and Lighthouse Parents

Parenting Your Complex Child, Lighthouse Parents and Peggy Lou

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Horrible Reminder to Plan for Protection of Your Adult Child

In Parenting An Adult with Disabilities, I talked about assuring that support would be there for your adult child when you can’t be. It doesn’t matter what level of functioning your son or daughter is. If they are living independently in their own home or some facility, they could be abused in some way and terrified to report it.

I walked through the living room in the middle of a piece on a Fox News program and then searched for the story on the web about the “Fight Club” at Corpus Christi (TX) State School for the Mentally Disabled. One of the commentators called it “human dog fighting”.

Disabled residents were forced fight each other by night staff at the facility and it was filmed on cell phones. One of the alleged ringleaders apparently left his cell phone at a hospital and it was turned over to police to find the owner. Police found video of the Fight Club on the cell phone. That is how this terror was discovered. I wonder how long this whole terror for the residents had been going on and would have gone on if the phone had not been forgotten.

According to the ABC News story “One resident is seen on the video trying to run away from his attacker and a large group of employees and residents tracking him through the halls. When cornered, he wails and moans and tells the employees, "I will behave."

This story is horrifying but is an important reminder of why it is so important to plan someone (or multiple friends) who can be trusted to stay involved and check on your adult child regularly when you can’t . Someone visiting the residents regularly would surely have seen bruises, etc.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Amazon Author Connect Blog, Parenting A Complex Special Needs Child and Lighthouse Parents
Parenting Your Complex Child, Lighthouse Parents and Peggy Lou
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Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Parenting an Adult with Disabilities or Special Needs Receives Award

I am so honored that Radical Parenting found my book to be one of the 50 best parenting books.

Until next time,

Peggy Lou Morgan
for a complete list of my sites

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Preserving the Parents' Expertise

Part of a question from an interview I did recently has haunted me. It suggested that some might feel transition planning was letting go in the sense of giving up on an adult. I decided to chat with you in a video blog today about that. I am pasting the video below. Depending on what feed you are reading this post on it may not come through. If not, go to my video blog page here .

Until next time,

Peggy Lou Morgan
For a complete list of my sites see

Monday, April 06, 2009

Joe Steffy, a Success Story

The story of Joe Steffy, who experiences the combination diagnosis of Down syndrome and Autism, is small business owner (Poppin Joe's Kettle Korn). See the full story here .

It is the classic example of what parents working with their adult child can accomplish. The parents did not believe the school district's assessment that Joe would never be able to be independent. Together they ascertained a future that would work for him, set about writing a business plan and getting a small grant.

I was anxious to share these links with my readers because it will encourage us all relative to what is possible for our own children and adult children.

By the way, I have just added the feed for this blog and Parenting a Complex Special Needs Child to my Amazon Blog so that you can read both at the same there.

Until Next Time,

Peggy Lou Morgan

For list of sites see