People with Autism Especially Vulnerable
Perhaps like you, recently I read of an incident in Okeechobee, Florida, in which an 18-year-old man was recorded on video beating, choking, kicking, and holding a knife to the throat of a 16-year-old boy with autism. It made national news.
The National Institutes of Health defines autism spectrum disorder as "a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior." Due to lacking social skills, children with autism are at risk of being bullied or abused.
As an experiment, I recently Googled "autistic boy 2014" to see what I would find. Besides a number of internet "missing autistic boy" articles, I found many disturbing newspaper and TV stories about boys with autism being bullied or abused. (I placed "autistic" into Google because most media outlets still refer to children with autism as "autistic"; and "boy" because 80 percent of people with autism are male.)
Here's a sampling of what I found for 2014.
- In Maryland, two teenage girls faced sentencing after holding a butcher's knife to the throat of a 16-year-old boy with autism and luring him onto a half-frozen pond until he broke through. They refused to help. They recorded the incident on a cellphone.
- Two California parents were arrested for rooming their 11-year-old son in a large dog kennel.
- A New York City paraprofessional punched an 11-year-old boy with autism in a school cafeteria. Police, after watching video, charged the paraprofessional with felony assault, endangering a minor's welfare, menacing, and harassment. The boy had spilled water, and had not understood the paraprofessional's request to clean it up.
- A Michigan teacher verbally mocked in class a 10-year-old male student with autism stuck in a chair. She recorded the incident on her cellphone.
- In Texas, three teens robbed at gunpoint, beat, and knocked down a 17-year-old boy with autism.
- Recorded on video in a Walmart parking lot, a Florida man was arrested on child abuse charges for beating with closed fist a nonverbal, 13-year-old boy with autism.
- Also in Florida, and on video, a special education school bus driver was arrested on child abuse charges for repeatedly slapping across the face a 10-year-old boy with autism physically restrained in a harness while on the bus.
Remember, people of all ages with autism are especially vulnerable. If you witness an incident, do the right thing. Immediately report it.
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesToyota Camry Hybrid: Better than ever?Toyota decided to redesign the Camry a mere three years after its last major transformation. The 2015 redesign is very significant and gives Camry even more of an edge.
Father Trying to Build UnderstandingJoseph Hernandez of Auburn, Washington, knew before his son's birth that his son would have a birth defect, spina bifida. The only thing in doubt was whether Joseph would hang around.
Former Placer County Sheriff Sentenced in Sex CasePursuant to a plea agreement, Kenneth Skogen was sentenced to three years formal probation and must serve 150 days in jail and attend counseling for unlawful sex with a minor.
50 Days of the Dead: Peggy-OThe perfect dose of intricate guitar work over a smooth rhythm section to a Scottish folk song in this 1978 version of Peggy-O at the Huntington Civic Center in West Virginia.
Roseville's Blue Line Arts Gallery Highlights Student ArtistsRoseville CA--At the recent reception for artists and members, Julie Hirota, CEO, Blue Line Arts, introduced the results of the Prestigious Crocker-Kingsley Art Competition
Roseville Mail Theft Leads to Arrest of 34 Year OldRoseville officers arrested a 34-year-old man from Sacramento on suspicion of vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, and other related charges
New California Laws for 2015 (Part 26)New California laws for 2015 part 26 includes smartphones, health coverage, rape victims, prisoners DNA testing, cocaine, nonprofits, healing arts, student financial aid and more.
Flu Blamed in Death of Placer County ManPlacer County health officials confirmed today that influenza is believed to be a contributing factor in the death of a Placer County man.
Roseville Man Facing Felony Charges in Death of ThreeAaron Caudillo has been treated for his injuries at Mercy San Juan Hospital and has now been released from the hospital and booked into custody into the Sacramento County Jail.
Roseville Violent Crime Rate PlummetsThe violent crime rate in Roseville declined 28% in 2014, according to Roseville Police.
Roseville Mountain Lion Sighting ReportedA Roseville resident saw a mountain lion on the trail near Secret Ravine Parkway and Alexandra Drive
Permit for Emergency Temporary Homeless Shelter in AuburnThe Placer County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday during a special meeting to further the conversation about allowing a temporary emergency homeless shelter to be opened on county
NEWS: In Case You Missed It