This week I am confronted with this issue for the second time in less then three months. It is one that just bothers me to no end. A professional would rather provide Hanna with a GPS system then the support services which she REALLY needs. Hanna needs an external brain.
"We will get her a GPS and then she can be on her own just like other kids her age". That is exactly how she put it.
This is wrong and will fail on so many levels that I do not have the time nor energy to list them all but here are a few of the reasons that cause concern.
Hanna is a nearly 13 year who functions at the level of a 4 to 5 year old in most areas, in some however she is far below that level. Would anyone ever expect someone who functions at that level to be able to go out into the world alone?
A GPS is not going to keep her from being picked up by strangers, raped, or worse. It is not going to keep her from sexually assaulting someone else either. This kid is very inappropriate in this area.
It is not going to keep her from getting lost. She can not even find the school which is about two blocks from home and we have walked there many times.
She will lose the GPS system either by accident, as she can not remember where she puts anything, or on purpose when she gets mad and does not want to be found. Unless it is surgically implanted it will be gone in no time. We are not going to implant such a device because it does not do her any good.
Their idea is to put the GPS on a cell phone. This kid CAN NOT under any circumstances be left alone with a phone. She will be doing all sorts of inappropriate things with that. I have no intention of being hit with bills for the crazy stuff she does and as her parents we are ultimately responsible for whatever she does.
A GPS is not going to help her make good choices along the way. She has the worst idea about who and what is appropriate. She can be talked into doing anything if she views you as a friend.
I am not being an over protective parent here. I do understand that when kids get to this age they are capable of riding their bike across town to the pool or to hang out with a friend. They can go to the store or attend a school activity on their own. I am the mom of four kids who have gone through this phase is life successfully. I did worry about them and all of that, but I could trust that they would pretty much follow the plan and return home safely. Hanna can not do that at all. She can not figure out what to wear in the morning, find something to do with her time without directly being told what to do, or toilet and wash her hands independently without direct supervision. How on earth can she full fill a task with multiple steps on her own.
Will this come up again? I am sure it will since in this professional`s view this is a way to save lots of money and money speaks very loudly around here. Is this kid`s safety and well being worth the money saved? Will Dad and I consent to a GPS for Hanna? Not unless it is provided in conjunction with the services she needs, not instead of them.
A GPS will only do one positive thing in this situation. It would help us locate her if/when she took off, but that is only IF all of the pieces happen to have fallen in place when she does it.