NYPD Support Group Raises Awarness, Fights Stigmas During Developmental Disabilities Month
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — March is Developmental Disabilities Month, and the NYPD is out to raise awareness.
NYPD Officer Vincent Tieniber of the Transit K9 Unit has an 11-year-old daughter, Hailey, with cerebral palsy. He and several other officers run an organization that connects police with the community affected by special needs – and he is also fighting to defeat stereotypes and stigmas about those with disabilities.
“My daughter, she’s 11 years old. She was born with cerebral palsy. Throughout her life, she’s been to a lot of therapies to get her to where she is today, where she’s a thriving young girl; to interact with the rest of the community,” Tieniber told WCBS 880 Producer Neil A. Carousso. “She looks like a typical child. She goes through her daily regimen where some days are better than others. But we’ve had a great support group I have within my command, as well as my family members, things go very well on a daily basis.”
March is Developmental Disabilities Month. Here's a photo of @NYPDTransitOfficer Tienibar with his daughter, Hailey. She was born with Cerebral Palsy. Join us in raising awareness and fighting the stigma of people who have developmental disabilities.#DDawareness18 @nyc_cares pic.twitter.com/1BW0FGt80G
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) March 8, 2018
Tieniber and several other officers run a support group called NYPD C.A.R.E.S. – Cops for Autism-Related Education Services. He said the group meets monthly at the Police Academy, “and we talk to each other and give us what each other needs to help our everyday lives as police officers, as well as parents, for those kids who have special needs and need our help.
“And we also interact every once in a while with the community, and take our police officer hat off, and talk to other members of the community as parents, and see and talk to them, and it helps a lot for a parent by talking to another parent who goes through their everyday struggles, to understand that they’re not alone,” Tieniber said.
He explained that the general public needs to know that when it comes to a person with special needs, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
“If a child has a rough day – in my daughter’s case – just the way she looks typical, and sometimes she does things that not a typical child would do. Instead of staring at that kid, you know, maybe ask that individual if they need help, and maybe speak to the parents, ‘Do you need help or anything?’ or, ‘Can we help you?’” Tieniber said. “It goes more in the long range if we can help each other instead of putting each other out there and, you know, ‘Oh, that’s his problem not mine.’ You know, we help bring more younger adults together if we help them instead of dividing them.”
He said people should help each other, and step in and offer help if they see someone struggling.
“Give them a hug, or just say hi to them. As a special needs child… they just want to be like everybody else. They want to be included in anything,” Tieniber said. “Just say hi to them, and most of the time you’ll get a big smile. They want to interact with the community. So as a community, we should all get together and help each other.”
NYPD C.A.R.E.S. is focusing all month on members of the NYPD and within the communities they serve wo are affected by a disability, diagnosis or illness.