Unrest In The Special Needs Community or Why I Bristle At Give-aways On Blogs

Let me start out by saying first and foremost, I am NOT condemning bloggers who give things away on their blogs or who run sweepstakes.  I don’t know why they do those things and it runs counter intuitive to why I blog (albeit intermittently at best), but hey, it’s your blog and if you want to get in bed with manufacturers of products and be beholden to them to drive more traffic to your site, so be it.

This morning as I was going through my Twitter feed (an early morning ritual I go through nearly every morning) I ran across something from the mom who writes the “Love That Max” blog.  I’ve read her a few times (I’m nearly as bad at reading blogs as I am at writing my own) and I’ve enjoyed her.  Her headline, “The Mystery Of The Missing iPads” caught my attention and I spent nearly the better part of the next hour reading through every comment.  Was I surprised?  Sadly no.  Scammers are EVERYWHERE and they will prey on EVERY one (we’re currently looking for a new house to rent in the L.A. area and someone from Nigeria is telling us we can rent a 3bdr/3bath house in the Montecito Heights area of L.A. for $1400/mth, but first he has to have our names, current address, phone number, ss#, etc…..and won’t show us the house until he has that information…..oh, and he’s in FL he says–whatever).  We in the disability community are NOT immune, so I post the link to “Love That Max”‘s blog here as a cautionary tale.  When someone says you can win an iPad (or anything of any $$ value), go to the company’s website and see if they even participate in such giveaways to begin with (apparently Apple does not participate in giveaways of their products).   NEVER, EVER give away your name and address to ANYONE.  With those two items of information, you’ve effectively splayed yourself out like a filleted salmon for anyone with a modem and three minutes of time to find out ALL sorts of things about you, some of which can cost you a pretty penny when your identity’s been stolen.

It’s easy for me to Monday-morning-quarterback this whole saga because I never entered to win the iPad so I don’t have a dog in this fight, but if I’ve read this man’s story correctly, a couple of things DO stand out, and that is he cites upcoming surgeries for his daughter’s Infantile Spasms.  My son had Infantile Spasms (as do many of the iPad applicants) and to my knowledge there’s no follow up surgery necessary or mandated simply by having experienced Infantile Spasms.  IS is an infant seizure disorder that at the very least can cause developmental delays.  At worst, it’s deadly.  Our now 12 year old son has significant global delays due to six weeks of uncontrollable seizures, but we’ve never been led to believe a surgery would be in the picture. So, the next thing I would tell ANYONE who’s listening to some one’s pitch for donations (this man had a widgit on his site where you could donate money) is to know the rudimentary ins and outs of the child’s medical situation.  This man now has @$30k of money from all over the planet with which he can do whatever he wants.

Thirdly, if you’re on someones blog site, get to know the person before giving them any $$.  Are they transparent?  Have you seen pictures of them and their family?  Do they speak specifically about anything or is everything painted in broad general brush strokes?  As a writer of all-things-family I walk a fine line between being authentic in our daily experiences of homeschooling, life in disability (the good, the bad, the ugly), and how we live a life of fellowship with God  (all hopefully with as much a sense of humor as we can) and being respectful of my children’s personal lives and feelings.  I don’t want to embarrass them or use this forum to complain in anyway, and yet I do want to be “real”.  If you’re reading something by someone over a period of time and real stories arent’ being told, take note because that lack of information is speaking volumes.

Here’s the story:  http://www.lovethatmax.com/2011/07/mystery-of-missing-ipadsand-unrest-in.html

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