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 HeadlinesSmart & Final in Roseville to Occupy Wise Buys SpotRoseville, CA -- Smart & Final, a non-membership warehouse grocery store is preparing to open shop at 1159 Roseville Square, which was previously home to Wise Buys.
Roseville City Council Blasted by Police and Firefighters UnionsROSEVILLE, CA - International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1592, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39, Roseville Police Officers' Association and Roseville Police Association
Child Support Awareness Month in Placer CountyPlacer County Department of Child Support Services is taking its show on the road this month in recognition of Child Support Awareness Month
Roseville Celebrates National Night Out TonightOn Tuesday, August 4, neighborhoods throughout the City of Roseville are invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide
California Statewide Fire Summary (8.3.15)California Fire Updates 2015: There are 21 active fires across California, well over 9,000 firefighters battling them
Roseville Police Make Arrest in Parking Lot Robbery CaseRoseville detectives have identified all five people involved in the robbery of a woman in a parking lot last week.
Hyundai Elantra Hatchback: Affordable, stylish, roomyThe 2015 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback certainly belongs in the discussion when car shoppers are out there searching for that just-right hatchback.
Roseville Gas Prices Drop: Find the Best Deals HereGas prices in Roseville have eased slightly this past week and industry professionals are expecting gas prices to continue a downward push
Blind Attorney Becomes National AdvocateBlind from birth, Chris Danielson is director of public relations for the 50,000-member National Federation of the Blind
Rocklin Crime Report Digest Update (8-1-15)Weekly crime report digest report update from Rocklin PD
California Fires Update Summary (8.1.15)California Fire Updates 2015: Nearly 9,000 firefighters are battling 24 large fires across California
Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 IntroducedCongressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV) introduced legislation to address catastrophic wildfire and invasive species threats
NEWS: In Case You Missed It