I’ve got a sizable platform with this blog and I haven’t really used it in a while to take a direct stand on what I consider to be a pressing issue.
Lately I’ve been reading a great many articles about kids with Autism being abused by their teachers or aides. I read about a case today where a 13 year old boy with Autism was attacked by a teachers assistant. This woman was jabbing push pins into him.. ( http://m.nydailynews.com/news/national/va-teachers-arrested-article-1.1799731)
This is far from an isolated case but at the same time, doesn’t represent the majority of teachers out there that are doing amazing things for our kids with Autism.
Having said that, the frequency that these stories are popping up is alarming.
What in the hell is going on? How are these people slipping through the cracks and getting access to our kids?
When I see this stuff happen, all I want to do is put myself between the child and the abuser, as I imagine any parent would.
I’ll be completely honest here, this whole thing makes me wonder how any of us are supposed to feel safe sending our kids to school? This is especially true for the parents of non-verbal kids or kids that can’t communicate well enough to say what’s happening to them.
The scary thing is that many of the more recent abuse cases are actually caught on video. Caught on video!! If these things are happening in front of a camera, what’s happening when the cameras aren’t rolling?
My wife and I are very lucky because our kids are blessed to have the school they have.
Lizze and I know all the teachers and staff and have for about 8 years now. While I may not be particularly fond of every teacher our kids have had, at no point have I ever feared for any of my kids safety..
That being said, both Gavin and Emmett were abused in their previous school, so I’m very much aware of this problem and the impact it has on our kids.
What’s causing teachers to do this to these kids?
Maybe they are not trained properly or simply not cut out to be working with special needs children? Maybe they aren’t getting the support they need? Maybe there are too many kids per classroom? Perhaps the child in question is in the wrong environment (not that it excuses any form of abuse).
Something has to be going on because these stories keep appearing in the news.
When these situations come to light, what should be done to these teachers? Should they be prosecuted or just no longer be allowed to work with kids?
If a teacher abuses any child, it’s a problem. However, there’s a special place in hell for the people who abuse special needs children. Sure, I know that sounds rough but abusing a child is something that is inexcusable.
Something needs to happen. Something needs to be done to protect our kids that can’t protect themselves.
Here are a few things that I have done to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of my kids:
1) I make my presence known.
2) I get as involved as possible with my kids school.
3) Getting to know my kids teachers is something I make a priority.
4) Keeping the lines of communication open is a MUST.
5) I watch for any type of behavioral change in my kids that could indicate the presence of a problem at school. Remember, behavior can speak louder that words.
6) I have no issues whatsoever with standing up for my kids in their school environment.
7) I educate myself on my rights as a parent and my kids rights as students.
These are just examples of how I have helped to ensure my kids safety and wellbeing while they are in the care of the school system. Your milage may vary but generally speaking, the more involved you are in your child’s education, the better off they are.
Please remember that majority of the teachers out there are amazing and would never do anything to hurt a child.
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I’ve been following your blog for a while (and when I started I made a point of reading EVERYTHING, from the beginning), but I will admit I don’t remember either of the stories of those abuse (and I wish I did, ugh). Would you mind a (brief) overview of what happened so we all know?
If you are referring to Gavin and Emmett in the public school system here you go. When Gavin was in preschool, he was in what we were told was a special needs classroom with a special ed teacher. That turned out not to be the case. During both kindergarten and preschool, he was physically manhandled, Sent to isolation and publically humiliated.
At one point Gavin threw a pencil out of frustration and it narrowly missed a little girl in his class. He was absolutely wrong for doing so but no one was hurt. The next day, the girls grandmother came into the school and Gavin’s teacher sent him into the hallway to be yelled at by this grandmother.
When Emmett was in preschool, the school refused to acknowledge his Autism diagnosis. He was having a hard time sitting still in class but wasn’t disruptive. In order to “motivate” him, the teachers used his absolute love of stickers. If he didn’t sit perfectly still at circle time, the teachers would punish him by giving the entire class stickers and refusing to give Emmett one.
The teachers also discussed Emmett’s “problems” in front of other parents and not in private.
Emmett was devastated by the sticker thing and between that, the school refusing the Autism diagnoses and his health issues we pulled him.
Ugh, thats disgusting. I’m glad you found a MUCH better place for them!!!
I agree. It’s been a huge blessing to find their current school. It’s not perfect but it’s awesome..