Since 2003 I have lived in the borough of queens, flushing to be exact. I have been in a wheelchair since 2006, it’s funny how people really don’t notice certain things until they themselves are part of a certain sub group of society . But in recent years I have started to notice the rampant habit amongst the varied ethnic groups in flushing to put their children and older family members who suffer from mental illness and birth defects out on the street to sit on a wall or park bench or the worst let them wonder the block all day with no supervision as if to have them around is to admit some family failing.
Until recently the worst of it I thought was the 40 something hugely obese Hispanic man who sits on a wall all day every day outside his apartment building irrelevant of the weather with his boom box asking all who pass if they have a cigarette. But of late familiar faces from the last few years have started to be more and more on my horizon and one by one it is becoming apparent that a large number of these people with mental health issues some as young as 5 or 6 are left to the streets with no supervision of any kind. Today I was heart broken when a boy of Bangladeshi origin who was riding his scooter and was about 10 or 11 and obviously suffered some form of mental illness or defect suddenly threw himself on the school steps and went into hysterics, and and minute by minute the hysterics grew into a full fledged breakdown and no one was anywhere near to care or console.
I have been out as early as 6am and come home as late as 12 midnight and still these people were out left to their own devices.
What kind of parent or for that matter family leaves someone with obvious intellectual disabilities out on the street with not a family member insight let alone a qualified carer?. We fight constantly for the rights of the disabled and to get them everything they and their families need and my blog is inundated with questions of where and how to get financial aid so when I see this the other end of the caring scale I am left dumbfounded. Just two blocks from my house is a half way house and adult day care center for the mentally challenged that is accessible for all so it begs the question is it a cultural thing? is It part of the ethnicity that to ask for help is to admit they exist and to admit they exist is some kind of failing? I know that I Iraq Iran and Afghanistan and other middle eastern countries disabled both mental and physical are often kept out of sight and mind at home off the street with elders so why is it when they come to this country they seem to live by a open the door and hope they survive mentality?
Services might not be perfect but they are there, and as I have learned in just 6 years is grab them while they are there, there is literature in every language in new york available at every cultural center mosque synagogue temple and church so there really is no excuse, I work to keep families together but honestly neighbors if you don’t want them there are thousands of families around the world waiting to adopt special needs kids so love them or leave them for some one who will but stop this dump them on the street abuse system and stop it now.