Posts Tagged ‘
Bullying child with special needs ’
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.
Pic Tweeted by @LennonandMaisy “A close family friend has an autistic boy and this was an anonymous letter slipped under her door. This is real.”
By now you may have read this letter making the rounds via social media – the hate letter that was secretly slipped under a mother’s door, suggesting she have her teenage son euthanized.
The letter hit too close to home. I think every special needs parent who read the letter cringed and cried imagining themselves in that mother’s shoes. My heart ached for her.
And I seethed thinking about the mother who had the ‘guts’ to write the hate letter but not the guts to sign her name. If I could write the “pissed off mother” a letter, this is what I’d want her to know about kids with autism and their parents.
To The Lady Who Wrote That Hate Letter:
Kids with autism are kids. Kids with autism are like any other kids in the neighborhood. They go outside to play, to jump and they make noise. Autism parents feel more secure with their kids close by. Many feel kids with autism feel more comfortable in familiar environments. Sometimes parks are overwhelming, dangerous. And if close by means in their yard – they have that right. Every kid should feel safe to be themselves within their own home.
If I had a house with a yard, that’s where my son Norrin would play too. When excited or over-stimulated Norrin makes loud noises too. I’ve watched as children, and sometimes adults have stared or even laughed. They’ve probably wondered if Norrin could talk. Maybe some kids are even scared of Norrin. I can’t stop every person who stares but I hope that they take the time to understand, to learn more about Norrin rather than dismiss him.
And if you slipped that letter under my door, I’d send my kid outside with a bullhorn.
Autism parents are not selfish and we do not feel entitled to special treatment. I think it’s the last thing autism parents are. Most autism parents are completely selfless, caring for their children without asking for help and sometimes refusing when assistance is offered. We are hardworking people. We don’t want or expect special treatment. We just want our kids to be treated like everyone else. We want our kids to have the same opportunities as the “normal” kids. That’s far from “entitlement,” that’s a basic human right.
And what defines normal? Because if your words define the norm then I’m grateful we’re not.
Never underestimate kids with autism. Kids with autism are some of the hardest working kids I know. You have no idea about the pride a parent feels when their child reaches a milestone that other parents take for granted. Kids with autism have potential. Many have grown up to become adults who have made significant contributions to our world. (Um…ever heard of Mozart, Newton, Einstein?) You have no idea what our kids are capable of because you can’t see beyond their disability.
Kids with autism have a right to live. This is the line that hurt and appalled me the most. I can’t imagine my life without my son. I can’t imagine wanting to end his life and it’s despicable that it’s even suggested to any mother. Our life is not easy and it’s not perfect but it is a life worth living. I wouldn’t be better off without my son. My life would have no meaning without him. I don’t know the mother you addressed the letter to, but I’m pretty sure she feels the same way about her son.
We are a united community. As much as I would like to hate you and call you names. I won’t. I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry that your ignorance allowed you to write such a letter to another mother. I feel sorry for your limited vision. I feel sorry that you will never know what it’s like to be part of a community like ours. A close knit community of strangers, friends and family who may not agree on causes or cures or treatments but we all agree that our kids are worthy of respect. A community who responds to your letter with compassion for the child and mother you attack. A community who stands up when they see someone treated unfairly. We are a community you could learn from. You could learn a lot from our kids if you took the time to listen.
Mother to son with autism
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook please show this special needs family your support by sending them a message using the hashtag #Love4Maxwell.
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autism, Autism Hopes, Bullying child with special needs, Disability, health, Lisa Quinones Fontanez, Special needs, special needs parenting | Categories:
Autism, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Must Read, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Last February, when the news came out that a teacher who worked with kids who had autism dribbled hot sauce on a crayon to prevent a child from nibbling on them, I questioned whether it would be a good idea to have video cameras in special ed classrooms.
In recent years, I keep hearing stories about teacher abuse. Parents have been forced to wire up their kids with microphones for proof. One that made national headlines was the dad, Stuart Chaifetz, who put a digital record in his son’s pocket, which captured an aide and teacher saying things such as “Shut your mouth” and “Oh, Akian, you are a bastard.” Another dad who did the same caught the aide and teacher bullying his 14-year-old daughter with taunts like “Are you that damn dumb?” and “No wonder you don’t have friends.”
Now getting video cams into classrooms with kids who can’t speak or communicate well has become a mission for some parents around the country. They’re spreading the word via petitions, videos and letters to President Obama, including this change.org petition by a mom of a child with special needs who she says was a victim of physical and psychological abuse by a classroom aide.
Some groups have expressed concerns about privacy issues, notes this ABC News article, including the American Civil Liberties Union. Of course, closed-circut cameras in schools aren’t the definitive answer to the problem of abuse of kids with special needs. But it could help; given the number of cases cropping up, and you have to expect many more go undetected, safety measures are critical. While teachers have been caught with abuse it seems that there may be bigger issues with aides in classrooms, whose training and experience may not be up to par.
Even after teachers are caught they may not be fired; the teacher in the Akian Chaifetz case had tenure and was moved to another school.
Me, I’m all for this. What are your thoughts: Should video cameras be installed in classrooms where there are kids with special needs?
Image of teacher in classroom via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
There’s been a lot of attention paid in recent years to the bullying of kids by other kids. And now, another bullying problem has been thrust into the spotlight, one that is even more mind-boggling. It involves a teacher bullying a student, one who has special needs. And, yes, OMG.
When Cheyanne, a 14-year-old with disabilities then at Miami Trace Middle School in Ohio, started resisting going to school, her parents finally found out why: Her teacher, Christy Wilt, and her classroom aide, Kelly Chaffens, were bullying her. The school refused to believe them, so the father wired up his daughter with a mike to get proof. What got caught on tape: four days of verbal abuse and taunts. I’m warning you now, this video is upsetting and downright painful to watch.
“Are you that damn dumb?”
“No wonder you don’t have friends.”
“Don’t you want to do something to get rid of that belly? You don’t do anything at home…you sit.”
The aide, Kelly Chaffens, resigned; she’d been with Cheyanne for four years. The school required the teacher to complete eight hours of anti-bullying and child abuse training. Finally, on Monday, the school put Christy Wilt on unpaid leave until the end of the school year.
The parents are taking legal action to help ensure this teacher is never again around kids, let alone ones with special needs—and doing their best to help their daughter get past this.
As always, when something awful like this happens to a kid, you hope it will raise awareness and prevent it from recurring. It’s a reminder to all of us to make occasional visits to our kids’ classrooms and pay attention to our child’s signals about school, whether or not you have a child with special needs. If you have a child who is not able to verbally express thoughts, as I do, and you ever have any suspicions about abuse, do not hesitate to discuss them with the principal or other authority.
When we hand over our children to teachers, we trust them to educate them, nurture them and do them right. Teachers who are warped enough to treat a child this way need serious psychological help. But I also wish these two women would get jail time. Because treating a kid like that, any kid, is criminal.
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Anti Bullying, Bullying, Bullying child with special needs, Bullying in schools, Cheyenne, Christy Wilt, Kelly Chafins, teacher bullying students | Categories:
Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Down Syndrome, Must Read, SPD, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max