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By Geoff Metcalf
"… the conduct of public affairs for private advantage." - Ambrose Bierce
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as with previous disasters, inevitably we hear horrific stories of those who attempt to exploit the suffering of others for personal gain.
Nature may require parasites and vermin to clean up the decay and corruption of biology. However, the parasites and vermin who prey on the suffering of victims is beyond contempt.
Although the current news cycle may be focused on the havoc wrought by a hurricane, there is another form of parasite and vermin who suckle on vain hopes and fears.
I am investigating one specific arena of exploiters and frankly am seeking your help, advise and input.
Families with autistic children face huge challenges daily. They suffer very palpable emotional, physical and financial burdens that are huge. That they are sustained by perseverance and love only compounds the sins of the charlatans and incompetents who feed on their hope.
These families need help and help is available. However, in addition to the drains on hope, and money and the frustrations of reality the ubiquitous discord in the force families of autistic children face other dangers.
The systemic dysfunction of some bureaucracies Not knowing what they don’t know Bureaucratic malfeasance and/or incompetence Shameless non performing service providers Collusion between private and public sector vendors
Autism, like Cerebral Palsy, and AIDS is a broad umbrella and encompasses a very wide spectrum of challenges.
For example, Aspergers kids can be very bright and excel at intellectual tasks. However the counterpoint is they suffer numerous social interaction problems. Some families with autistic children face the gut wrenching reality that eventually, inevitably their child will have to be institutionalized after years of struggling to keep the family together. It is not unlike paddling up river but at a slower pace than the river that fights you.
Reportedly, only some 20 percent of parents actually get the services they need and are entitled to receive.
Part of the problem is they don’t know what they don’t know. The more egregious part of the problem is too often they specifically are not told, OR they are intimidated into accepting what they get regardless of the quality (or lack of quality).
Several families report having been forced to sign inappropriate and unfair ‘parent agreements’ which restrict their involvement with their own child’s program.
Some vendors providing service are great. Others are not. Among those in the ‘not’ category there are reports of vendors colluding with government agencies to provide minimum or non existent service and actually bullying parents to accept less than they are entitled.
Such behavior exceeds even the smarmiest example of abuse of power. I hope to explore in greater detail the good the bad and the ugly of service providers and government agencies. And I am seeking your help. I am asking you to share any information (personal, rumor, or urban legend…I am assembling a team to help vet data and sort the wheat from the chaff). We want to learn what is right and what is wrong.
For decades I have been saying, “It is not WHO is right or wrong but WHAT is right or wrong that counts.” In this case we want to find and recognize the good and bad players among government agencies and private service providers.
Individual families have already accomplished some level of success in compelling various government institutions to comply with the requirements of the Letterman Act and assorted rules and regulations.
Families for Early Autism Treatment is an organization that was founded in 1993 by parents and professionals trying to improve early intervention services specifically in and around Sacramento.
F.E.A.T has been doing a lot of heavy lifting and has realized some tangible results.
We hope to give voice to those families already suffering to at least get what they are entitled and hopefully expand the outreach into areas not yet tapped. In order to do this we are asking that YOU share this information with us so that we may share it with the community.
It is reprehensible that families in need, families struggling to keep families and marriages together are challenged by the very government agencies created to assist them. That there are private companies exploiting and victimizing families is beyond contempt.
Please help us help………….
Note: Please email any and all input to
About the Author
Federal Observer Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. He is a veteran media performer with an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site.
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