It's Time to Stop Teacher Abuse of Autistic Kids

autistic child abused at schoolAnother startling story of a teacher "disciplining" an autistic child through abuse has surfaced. Even with so many of these flooding the news, it's still unbelievable. Lillian Gomez, a special education teacher in Florida, put hot sauce on crayons to keep her autistic students from chewing on them. Because you know, when someone has a way of dealing with stress in a non-traditional manner, it can be fixed right up if you simply administer pain. Jeez, Louise. Where do they get these people?

More importantly, why do so many people who are in charge of special needs children think abuse is okay? And you know what? There are a lot who believe just that.

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Whether you're burning a child's mouth, stuffing him in a bag, or worse, it's clearly a dehumanizing act. In other words, you (as the abuser) are not looking at this child as a human being. Instead, you classify him as an "other" making it okay for you to cause harm to a small child. That's sick.

I am positive that working with special needs kids is challenging. I can't imagine the physical and mental exhaustion that accompany such a career. Yet it also seems to me that if you choose such a strenuous -- and admirable -- career such as this one, you do it because you want to help level the playing field for kids who are faced with academic, social, and emotional challenges. Otherwise I'm not sure how you could get through your day.

Which is why this incident, and the philosophies of other teachers, is so abhorrent. According to the Judge Rottenberg School in Massachusetts, however, using these "aversive" techniques is quite acceptable. They go so far, in fact, to add more methods of torture to the curriculum, including:

... spanking, pinching, forcing to eat taste aversives (vinegar mix, jalapeno peppers, or hot sauce), withholding food, forcing to smell ammonia, spraying water to the face, forcing to listen to static noises through specially designed helmets, and their trade mark method, the use of the Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED), which simply put is a shocking device that delivers a jolt to the student/patient of up to 65 volts of electricity through remote control.

Yeah, this is a "thing" apparently. Treating special needs kids as if they weren't even people is just another day in this school. If you have a special needs kid, you need to give your school a call right now to see if this is how they treat their students as well. Then you need to do some butt kicking.

Have you ever heard of these techniques being used on autistic children?

 

Image via exfordy/Flickr

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