Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beating Up Autistic Kids

I just read a story from Texas where teachers are hurting children with special needs in the name of discipline.

On the Facebook forum I answered questions from a concerned parent: I do not have an autistic child but ... My children attend a school that does have autistic and other special needs students. What is the best way to handle a situation where a student with special needs does harm someone else or does bully or spit on someone? I know it happens but do not know what parents of special needs children think is proper procedure. If my son spit on someone or bullied someone or hit someone they would be disciplined and possibly suspended and I am wondering what is acceptable punishment for special needs students. I am sorry if this upsets anyone but I really want to know?

I said: "I have my methods that work very well, however I will probably upset some 'gentler' folks. I use what has been termed in the past as 'tough love'. Bottom line I don't let them get away with anything. It probably helped that I had 4 NT children in a first marriage. I treat our 6 ASD pumpkins like I would an NT child and do not let them get away with bad behavior because they are 'disabled'.

At our school they use a two hand to one arm hold on a child to guide them away from a situation and to a classroom set aside for children having problems. An aide or teacher is there to help direct their emotions away from things harmful or disruptive.

For a school to allow a child to be physically harmed in the name of discipline is criminal and arrests and jail time need to be given. If a parent did the same thing it's abuse and the state steps in. School districts and teacher must be held to the same standard. If I can help in any additional ways please let me know. That goes for anyone else reading this too."

What do you think?



Mom26children said...

Our oldest daughter, Caitlin, came home from school when she was 6, with bruises from restraining.
Funny thing...there was no restraint in her IEP...
Teacher got a slap on the wrist and leave without pay.
This is a very long story, but to make it short...I am so sad this is still happening.
Thanks for the story.
It has refueled my fire.
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes.

furious said...

The abuse of autistic kids and other kids with special needs is horrible. I told my kids school that they cannot restrain my child. If he is running around the school as he used to do they can follow him at a distance to make sure he is safe. He also has been known to go under tables or desks. When he was in kindergarten they used to pull him out and remove him. This made him tantrum and get aggressive. Now at the school he goes to they just wait till he is ready to come out. Hiding under a table doesnt hurt anyone after all. Any missed homework he can do after school or for homework. There are very few instances where I feel restraint is appropriate and it should never be sitting on someone like in that article. I know the proper restraints but that is not one of them.
Furthermore restraining a child should not make any marks.

*Jess* said...

I believe hitting or spanking children or adults is abusive, period. Whether they have special needs or not. There are much more effective ways to discipline and to teach children, especially with SN.

Dadof6Autistickids said...

Thanks for the comments guys. We need to spread these type of stories around EVERYWHERE to get some awareness out there that this is happening.

Or sadly the next time it may be your child.

Rita said...

Unfortunately, it happens a lot. But here in SC, our autism forum finally got word of something being done in one school's case:


Even the principal and asst. principal were arrested for not reporting earlier concerns/incidents (they handled it "internally").

I hope this sends a message to educators everywhere that practices which physically or emotionally harm our children will not be tolerated. And I hope it spurs administrators to provide training for handling situations in more positive, proactive ways.

furious said...

Omgosh, Rita, I cannot believe some of the comments about the SEA that abused the autistic child. I went to your link and people are actually defending her saying she was dealing with a difficult situation. Parents have their children taken away for abusing them and yet so called educators should get off scott free because it was a difficult situation. I dont think so, I hope they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Dadof6Autistickids said...


Thanks for the link. We KNOW how hard it is to handle Autistic children. I don't care how 'good' a teacher was in the past.

It reminds me of the interviews of the neighbors of the discovered serial killer: "Bob, was such a nice guy. Always doing good at the PTA, girl scouts, boy scouts, church and helping little old ladies cross the street."

I only hope that educators across the country are taking notes and are planning for lots of training to insure these type of problems stop now before we hear of something worse.

Anonymous said...

Schools punishing special needs students like normal people is wrong because they throw tantrums and that's part of their disability. I had an aide to help me control my emotions in school. If it wasn't for that, I probably would have ended up in a special school or even institutionized. I have autism and I experienced that myself. I served a few detentions and got paddled a few times for misbehaving at school and I agree that schools should serve up different approaches for disciplining special needs children like putting the student in a quiet room or something like that. If I was a parent of a special needs child, I would take him or her out of the school, if he or she was getting abused really bad like excessive punishments, etc. That story gives the parents of special needs children hope regarding school discipline. I am not a parent.

MommyToTwoBoys said...

Unbelievable! I have tears in my eyes. I am so nervous about my 3 year old's future in the school system. This does not ease my fears at all. I lose my temper with him all the time, but this is insane. We look to these professionals for guidance and hope they teach and love our special needs children. As a former public school teacher I am outraged!

candice said...

I believe (and my years of experience accompanying my autistic son in sunday school has backed this up) that if you inform the children who are exposed to your child about the disorder they are actually kind and understanding. I have seen children as young as 4 and 5 illustrate this. One boy, not knowing I was Ryan's mother, said "I hate that kid," because Ryan didn't have to sit in the circle during story time but was allowed to stay under a table nearby. I explained to the little boy that Ryan has autism and that means he is scared sometimes and doesn't know what is coming next so he needs to go under the table to feel safe. The little boy stopped his rude behavior immediately and was gentle towards Ryan. Other children have done similar things, even children who used to bully my son stopped and turned loving once his disorder was explained to them. However, I know that there will be situations where a child may become aggressive. I would train the other students to move away if the special needs child has hit or spit on them. Move away and do not further instigate aggression. If you try to cage, block, or hold someone who is melting down it can lead to further escalation of the meltdown. Understanding that the meltdown is NOT BAD BEHAVIOR, it is COMMUNICATION that something is wrong is a big lightbulb moment for many of us who deal with children on the spectrum.

Modern Mom Redefined ((Kelsi)) said...

I agree, this is so wrong in so many ways. I'm a special ed student teacher and see kids get restrained all day long. Friday I tried a new approach. A student who MUST draw before he works and meltsdown when this routine is changed was needing to take an assessment. I told him that I'd help him finish if he helped me once we were done. Wouldn't you know... no restraining AND no meltdown, and we got the work done faster than ever with actual effort. It's amazing how a different approach can make such a difference! I just wish others thought this way, too. Maybe it's the fact that I have my son (who also has Autism) so I treat my students like him. I don't know, but I agree 100% with you that there are other methods. I just think it's about compromise and choices...

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Brian Cadenhead said...

im 21 years old and i have autism my parents heavily abused me and i was horribly abused growing up by friends and family even so much to were id tell my mom i had been raped and she did nothing except beat me and tell me to stop imagining things. i cannot describe how empty this makes me feel on a daily base constantly. i also suffer from a mental illness now because of all the severe torment growing up. im 21 now a man and still going through it daily. to be honest i can remember at age 2 wanting to kill my parents what child thinks that? i ask myself this every day. please if you're reading this never hit you're kid to the point were its wrong. i beleave in spankings for kids but only to a point were the child understands if he dose not understand then that causes severe trauma to a kid. and to those who think this is some joke i imagine killing daily i have severe depression and every day i want to start killing the people who did me wrong including my family.

Brian Cadenhead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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