First of all, I want to thank everyone for their comments and support regarding the situation with the assault at school. I know that some things are going to come back at us (actually, they already have). The County Attorney's comment about "maybe it's time someone teaches her this isn't ok." is not the only one we've heard.
I wish lots of things for Angela. One of the things I wish is that she "only" had Down Syndrome. If she only had Down Syndrome life would be a bit easier. But that is not the card she (and we) were dealt. Instead she has a brain injury on top of a cognitive disability, which results in some pretty aggressive behavior, with zero impulse control. These things don't happen often, but they do happen. If it weren't for the additional problems we would not be where we are today. We would not have the day to day struggles that we have with her, she would have friends.
If you're reading this, and your child goes to school with my child, I want you to think about something. Please know I'm not asking you to pity Angela. I'm asking you to think about what her life is like from HER eyes. Do you know that Angela has not been invited to a single birthday party in TWO YEARS? Do you know she has NEVER ONCE been invited to an overnight by anyone other than one other child who is also disabled? Do you know that every Monday morning she goes to school and hears the other girls talking about the fun times they've had with sleep-overs during the weekend, and wonders why she's never been invited? Do you know she's has never once been invited to a birthday party by one of her regular ed. peers? Imagine what it feels like to be her. If I were here, I'd be angry and screaming for attention too. Instead she comes home and creates an entire school's worth of invisible imaginary friends, who just happen to be named after all the people in her class. Why? BECAUSE SHE'S LONELY! Imagine being so lonely at 11 years old that you have to create imaginary friends.
Don't get me wrong, I understand that she's the "forgotten one" when it comes to her mainstream peers. She's not in the classroom enough for her to be on the top of the invite list. Every week I hear from parents who tell me "My daughter comes home and talks about Angela all the time. She just ADORES her." while in the back of my mind I'm screaming "SO INVITE HER TO A DAMN BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!! BE A REAL FRIEND!!!!"
And at the same time there is another voice in my head that says, "Why would they want to invite her? They don't know what she's like outside of the classroom. All they remember is the time a year ago when Angela pulled their daughter's hair. They don't hear about the hugs Angela gives their sons and daughters every day. They don't know how Angela idolizes their children. They don't know Angela!!!"
So, tonight I'm crying for my daughter. I just want for her what every mother wants for their daughter, and I can't give it to her. I can't make it happen. I can't protect her from the world, and I can't change what she has. This is something I cannot fix. I think it's the worst feeling I've ever had as a mother.