There has been a growing trend of parents complaining that their autistic children do not want to go to school and that their kids have developed new behaviors to avoid going to school. This usually occurs when the child starts a new school or gets a new teacher.
This reminds me of the time when Ethan was 7 years and we were forced to put him a new school. This school was known for being the experimental school for autism and was actually the brain child of the head of special education in our school district. It was supposed to be the best place to educate an autistic child.
After a few weeks, Ethan suddenly started crying and performing every time we put him on the bus. He had never done that before and we just assumed it was a stage on the typical autism roller coaster.
Then one day, he missed the bus and I had to take him to school. When we got there he refused to get out of the car and the school sent to male teachers to help carry him into the school. As I stood there watching this, I realized that something was wrong. This was not my child’s normal behavior. Autism did not mean he did not have feelings and if he had been one of my other kids I would not just be standing there. It was at that point I realized that I would not send him back to that school and would find some other school for him. That was his last day at that school.
As soon as Ethan stopped going to school, all his behaviors disappeared and he was calm again, The universe was at peace.
A week later, I was speaking to another Mom who was suing the School District for abusing her son. It turns out he was going to that same experimental autism school and that had been locking her son by himself in a padded room. Suddenly, it clicked and I new what had happened to Ethan at that school.
They were locking him up by himself in a padded room and assumed that because he was nonverbal he would never be able to tell us what happened. Well, Karma is a Bitch and we eventually found out what happened.
I tell you this story because there is a growing trend to treat autistic behaviors by locking our kids up in padded rooms. They disguise it from parents by having us sign innocuous behavior plans that give them permission to use whatever they deem necessary to treat behaviors. We need to stop this abuse because it is inhumane and inappropriate. There are better solutions to our children’s issues.
If your child has developed these new behaviors, don’t just treat the symptoms. Follow your gut and treat the cause and remove your child from that environment if you have to.
By Dalia Shkedy – Ethan’s Mom