Saturday, April 10, 2010

Autism in My Back Yard

A True Story about a Knoxville Family Living With Severe Autism

This is in the words of another Knox County Mom, not mine. I just cut and pasted the story:

I met a mom about two years ago and this is her story. I am posting it because there are those of you that need to know, those that might be able to advise - or offer help, and those that just need to read what's going on around us.Mom said her son has been seen by a psychiatrist at Peninsula Hospital - ever since he was only eight. The doctor treated him for his behaviors without considering any intrinsic issues (allergies, autism, etc.). He has been on heavy medications at various times. He also carries the diagnosis of MR (mentally retarded) - which is not always the case with an autistic child. And, not all autistic children are violent.

My daughter Maren is an example of this.Currently - this child had found a regimen with Ridgedale. They knew what to expect of him. Then, at the end of last year - the County decided it would be in his best interest if he were in a classroom with peers his own size. Mom says he is still biggest in the new classroom at Halls. He has not adjusted well. They had an automobile accident at the first of this year and he has been traumatized. He was turned over to the hospital once again for tantrums.

The police escorted him - and refused parental involvement. They were limited to their time with him while he was contained. When they came to take him home after 1-2 days, mother said he was covered in bruises.She was very upset. She kept him home from school to try and work the trauma out.This week, he just returned and has had another episode. This time, something aggravated him and he did not eat his lunch. (My son will skip meals sometimes. When he does, violent behavior can become more likely.) This is what happened here. His mother packs his lunch - so it wasn't a matter of not wanting the food. He was upset about something and the teachers escalated it by not calling his mother. By the time his mother was contacted, he had pinned another teacher against a desk.

Our police force needs to be trained and so do our teachers. This mother has limited support and is going through hell because administration still believes our children - with violent tendencies - can fit through the general special ed peghole. These children become violent because their communication doesn't work with those who don't know what to look for.Pumping money by dragging more partially-trained teachers to the classroom is not going to work.

Guess what? Knox County is exposing themselves, their staff, and students to GREAT harm. Knox County is also not doing justice by their civil servants. And lastly, these kids - who are nothing more than confused and "wild" because of lack of language and keen sensory skills - are being labeled and treated as criminals - who soon will live up to how they are treated. Your tax dollars are being wasted all the way around from the time these kids enter classrooms to the streets where some wind up.

HELP - HELP - HELP! This is awareness and these are our problems. Parents of autism are not "looking for babysitting teachers". We're not looking for "a cadillac education in a town where education is not top priority". These things have been said, but I am going to try my d--n best to show you what our world is REALLY like. We are misinterpreted. Once society bothers to take the time to listen to these problems, EVERYONE - including your typical families who feel their classroom time is being wasted by our children - will see how this can be "fixed"!!!

I hope EVERYONE will consider a separate school facility for children with violent tendencies. This (thanks to Debi Haney's idea) is the only way it will work for them. The others who are high functioning can work well with others - though they have their special criteria, too. I am willing to join any effort/team to try and get help for these kids and peacefully approach lawmakers when necessary.Thank you!


p.s. Critics might say that a school like this would have a black cloud over it because of the type of children it houses. What's the difference - they're gaining a bad reputation in regular school systems? At least they would have the help they need under one roof.

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