Disruptive behavior by autistic kids ...

Disruptive behavior by autistic kids stirs furor

There are 173 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Aug 13, 2008, titled Disruptive behavior by autistic kids stirs furor. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

When a 13-year-old Minnesota boy was banned from church after parishioners complained about his behavior, it exposed a painful truth so politically incorrect that some people feel guilty just saying it out ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at TwinCities.com.

Deborah

Minneapolis, MN

#134 Aug 15, 2008
local resident wrote:
Hey, are you going to all be tolerant when anyone slugs you or knocks you or a child or grandparent down? How about if they decide that they're going to push someone around just because they are in the way of them? " Oh I'm sorry, my child poked your kids eye out, but my child has AUTISM." Does that make it okay? I think NOT!
Of course we're not talking about tolerating abuse. Let's be sensible. I'm not an expert on autism, even though I have a teenager with a form of it and I am acquainted with quite a few people of various ages with autism in various degrees. My experience and my reading have taught me that people with autism are more likely to withdraw than to lash out violently. When they do lash out it is because they perceive a threat and have no escape. If such a situation arose, it would be partly the responsibility of the caregiver to try to prevent it and partly the responsibility of the other party to not invade the autistic person's space or whatever the trigger was. Depending on the age and ability of the autistic person, they would have some responsibility, too. What you don't get is that people with autism have differently wired brains. They don't see the world the way neuro-typical people do. You can't make assumptions about them - that they could just straighten up and fly right if they wanted to. It's partly a communication problem. You wouldn't tell a deaf person that they could hear if they just tried harder, would you? Deaf people have come up with a wonderful visual language and many other ways of functioning quite well in a hearing centric world. They are an inspiration to me in helping my son.
Wtf

Saint Paul, MN

#135 Aug 15, 2008
Like I said, I believe that fewer vaccines are needed. 25-30 years ago, kids got MMR, tetanus and polio (all good vaccines) now they get those plus rotavirus, pneumococcal, flu, chicken pox, and the scariest part is that they are getting them at younger and younger ages. Newborns are routinely given hepatitis B vaccines!! Its insane. Allow for some natural immunity to develop before pumping them full of toxins. Most of the new vaccines exist for the convenience of the parents and not for the health of the child/infant.

Notice, now we have all this autism and ADHD diagnoses. SOme is due to better screening, but some may be caused by our own selfishness to try and shield children from any type of discomfort.
Sarah D

Minneapolis, MN

#136 Aug 15, 2008
Deborah wrote:
<quoted text>
Of course we're not talking about tolerating abuse. Let's be sensible. I'm not an expert on autism, even though I have a teenager with a form of it and I am acquainted with quite a few people of various ages with autism in various degrees. My experience and my reading have taught me that people with autism are more likely to withdraw than to lash out violently. When they do lash out it is because they perceive a threat and have no escape. If such a situation arose, it would be partly the responsibility of the caregiver to try to prevent it and partly the responsibility of the other party to not invade the autistic person's space or whatever the trigger was. Depending on the age and ability of the autistic person, they would have some responsibility, too. What you don't get is that people with autism have differently wired brains. They don't see the world the way neuro-typical people do. You can't make assumptions about them - that they could just straighten up and fly right if they wanted to. It's partly a communication problem. You wouldn't tell a deaf person that they could hear if they just tried harder, would you? Deaf people have come up with a wonderful visual language and many other ways of functioning quite well in a hearing centric world. They are an inspiration to me in helping my son.
I'm quite aware that autistic people have different wiring in the brain. But most autistic people are quite capable of behaving in socially acceptable ways if taught to do so. And most parents of autistic children are aware of this and strive to communicate to their child proper expectations so that their child may lead as normal a life as possible. It takes longer for autistic children to "get it" and it takes different methods than are used on non-autistic children but most autistic children CAN become productive members of society. They're autistic after all, not stupid or retarded.

The problem is not with these autistics or their parents, it's with the parents of autistics who seem to feel that society should just accept that their child doesn't know how to behave and accept the disruptive and sometimes violent behavior. Unfortunately this kind of mindset is not a monopoly of some parents of autistics, it is also a mindset of some parents with non-autistic children. It is an entitlement attitude where the parent believes that their child should be able to do whatever s/he pleases no matter how disruptive or violent it may be to other people.

Just as this kind of mindset is ultimately bad for the child (no one is going to like a bratty child so the child ends up suffering). It is doubly bad for the autistic child as they have a disadvantage to begin with.

I have no suggestions as to what to do with such parents who do not take their responsibility of preparing their child for adulthood seriously. I only say that we should not lump all parents together in that category.

Marsha Block Texas

United States

#137 Aug 15, 2008
I'd like to respond to those who think as this person does. I've been a teachr for 25 years and I can tell you that ADHD, ADD, and Autism do exist. A relatively quick and painless way to help in the diagnoses of ADHD is to give the child the medication Ritalin for one/two days. Ritalin is a safe drug ( at least, as safe as any drug can be ), and only stays in the system for 4 hours. If a child is truly ADHD, then a significant change in behavior should be evident. Most ADHD kids who are on Ritalin tell me they like the change in their behavior that the Ritalin helps them achieve. No child likes being told or yelled at to be quiet all the time or to stop hitting your sibling constantly, or a whole host of other annoying behaviors. It allows the child to have more control over their behaviors and because no adult is constantly reprimanding them, the parent/child/teacher relationship is greatly improved. Ritalin is
NOT a magic bullet, but it, along with behavior therapy for the entire family, has a good chance of helping many otherwise impatient, impulsive and non-focusing children.
concerned citizen

Gaithersburg, MD

#138 Aug 15, 2008
Mrs R wrote:
I'm in the educational field and we have a little fun play on words we like to use: we call all the autistic kids artistic. Quite often these children are geniuses and are the most creative, intelligent ones in the whole school. It's a shame that savages like Savage fail to recognize this. Just because they are different doesn't mean they should be treated any differently. If anything, WE are the ones who should be looked down on because we aren't as bright as them!
If anyone should be censored and put on a leash, it's the Republicans who constantly spout out on these forums their radical right ideas. If you want to talk about a disorder, being a conservative Republican is a genuine mental disease!
the only intelligent thing you stated is "Just because they are different doesn't mean they should be treated any differently" that's right, kick the brat out of church like you would any other disruptive, temper tantrum brat. BTW your a nut job!
Only in America

Lakeville, MN

#139 Aug 15, 2008
At some point we need to come to the realization that our elders did. These kids are never going to amount to a hill of beans. We need to stop wasting resources on these kids to make their parents feel better. Time to start institutionalizing these kids again. Get them out of the mainstream. Students in the regular public schools don't need these distractions. We can get rid of all of the special accomodations and maintain these kids in the most cost effective manner in a single institution, not spread out all over. Mom and Dad can come and visit on weekends.
Wtf

Saint Paul, MN

#140 Aug 15, 2008
Only in America wrote:
At some point we need to come to the realization that our elders did. These kids are never going to amount to a hill of beans. We need to stop wasting resources on these kids to make their parents feel better. Time to start institutionalizing these kids again. Get them out of the mainstream. Students in the regular public schools don't need these distractions. We can get rid of all of the special accomodations and maintain these kids in the most cost effective manner in a single institution, not spread out all over. Mom and Dad can come and visit on weekends.
I think you are going too far with the institutionalizing of kids with autism or ADHD/ADD. I do agree that at some point if these kids continue to cause problems at school, they should be removed and sent to a school specifically for kids like them. You can't mainstream everyone. It will just add to our continuing decline in test scores. The regular kids will continue to suffer and we will see more and more foreigners taking spots as freshmen at colleges around the country. I feel for the families of special ed kids, but come on, you can't expect everyone to bend over so your kid can be a distraction everyday.
Carol Race

Frazee, MN

#141 Aug 15, 2008
I just want to say that what happened in my parish has little to do with autism. In 2005 you can look at the Oct issue of the diocesan newspaper, the Visitor, where I was awarded the Opening Doors award that year, for bringing awareness to the diocese of the needs for families of autistic children to attend Mass. In that article you will clearly see a quote where I stated that the congregation in Bertha was extremely supportive of my bringing Adam to church despite the occasional noises or other behaviors. However, there are several political issues that transpired between myself and several of the "important" people in town who are also "important" in our church, and the only way they could seek to harm me was through Adam. they began a campaign of fear about a year and a half ago and this is the result.
Be that as it may, I do want the church to strengthen its resolve to make reasonable accomodations for disabled people across the nation, as it already clearly teaches. I am asking supporters to sign this letter to the US Bishops at www.project-adams-pew.org Thank you
Sarah

Minneapolis, MN

#142 Aug 15, 2008
Carol Race wrote:
I just want to say that what happened in my parish has little to do with autism. In 2005 you can look at the Oct issue of the diocesan newspaper, the Visitor, where I was awarded the Opening Doors award that year, for bringing awareness to the diocese of the needs for families of autistic children to attend Mass. In that article you will clearly see a quote where I stated that the congregation in Bertha was extremely supportive of my bringing Adam to church despite the occasional noises or other behaviors. However, there are several political issues that transpired between myself and several of the "important" people in town who are also "important" in our church, and the only way they could seek to harm me was through Adam. they began a campaign of fear about a year and a half ago and this is the result.
Be that as it may, I do want the church to strengthen its resolve to make reasonable accomodations for disabled people across the nation, as it already clearly teaches. I am asking supporters to sign this letter to the US Bishops at www.project-adams-pew.org Thank you
Why did you refuse the offers of accomadation that the Church made? Have you even given them a try to see if maybe Adam would like them better.(It IS about what's good for Adam isn't it?)

Why do you think it reasonable to physically restrain Adam with straps?

If Adam continually acts out why haven't you considered that maybe church is too stimulating an environment for him and that he is acting out of distress?

Why have you not asked county services for someone to go with you and Adam to church who is trained in calming severe autistics and also in identifying warning signs of an imminent outbreak so that Adam can either be distracted from having a meltdown or taken out of the situation that's causing him distress before a meltdown occurs?

Why do you demand that others have consideration for you and your family but don't feel that you should have to have consideration for anyone else?
The Original Kacy

Eden Prairie, MN

#143 Aug 15, 2008
P T Bull wrote:
One of our constitutional freedoms is freedom of association--that is we can choose who we hang with. If a church lets a retarded person disrupt it, soon they will lose members and run out of money and have to close.
Whether this is the will of god or not is a matter for the individual's conscience, but there is no entitlement to disrupt people. Mainstreaming people who make things too difficult for other people is selfishness, not enlightenment.
Also, is autism the new word for mentally retarded? Seems like whenever there is socially inappropriate behavior which has a biological basis, its called autism--though there are many other forms of mental illness. Media-speak or political correctness?
Autistic people are almost never "retarded" as you put it.
Consistent

Zimmerman, MN

#144 Aug 15, 2008
The Original Kacy wrote:
<quoted text>
Autistic people are almost never "retarded" as you put it.
Disruption is not a good thing.
Sarah

Minneapolis, MN

#145 Aug 15, 2008
Only in America wrote:
At some point we need to come to the realization that our elders did. These kids are never going to amount to a hill of beans. We need to stop wasting resources on these kids to make their parents feel better. Time to start institutionalizing these kids again. Get them out of the mainstream. Students in the regular public schools don't need these distractions. We can get rid of all of the special accomodations and maintain these kids in the most cost effective manner in a single institution, not spread out all over. Mom and Dad can come and visit on weekends.
I suppose you think that children who are blind and or deaf should be institutionalized as well. After all, that is what our elders did.

Or maybe you think that we should do to old people what the Inuit use to do...put them on an ice floe and let them drift out to sea to die. After all, wouldn't that be cost effective? We could start with you when you get old. I'm sure you'd be pleased to be the first one wouldn't you.
Flabberghasted

London, KY

#146 Aug 15, 2008
Hmm... segregation, isolation, institutionalization, physical restraint. What wonderful suggestions some of you have for our enlightened age. I know what you're going to say:these people are trampling on my right to have a nice quiet dinner. I suppose you think that we should ignore federal laws that provide help for those with disabilities?
No wonder our society is in such a mess. No one can bother to have a little tolerance and understanding of those that are different. What's next? Perhaps having all of those perfect families whose children are seen and not heard, or those with no children, live on their own island away from the rest of us.
marguerite

Los Angeles, CA

#147 Aug 16, 2008
There is truth on both sides of this issue. I teach children with autism and some of the children who are higher functioning can be taught to behave better, but may be "babied" because of their disability and allowed to manipulate situations. Others may have meltdowns and as long as they aren't hurting anyone, public outings are a necessary training ground for appropriate public behavior.
marguerite

Los Angeles, CA

#148 Aug 16, 2008
some, if not many, children with atusim ARE retarded or learning disabled (they come in as many varying degreees of co-existing disabilities as other people and some forms of autism have retardation as a co-morbidity)...but even they can learn appropriate behavior. and parents can teach them to avoid environmental triggers, in many cases...
Sarah D wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm quite aware that autistic people have different wiring in the brain. But most autistic people are quite capable of behaving in socially acceptable ways if taught to do so. And most parents of autistic children are aware of this and strive to communicate to their child proper expectations so that their child may lead as normal a life as possible. It takes longer for autistic children to "get it" and it takes different methods than are used on non-autistic children but most autistic children CAN become productive members of society. They're autistic after all, not stupid or retarded.
The problem is not with these autistics or their parents, it's with the parents of autistics who seem to feel that society should just accept that their child doesn't know how to behave and accept the disruptive and sometimes violent behavior. Unfortunately this kind of mindset is not a monopoly of some parents of autistics, it is also a mindset of some parents with non-autistic children. It is an entitlement attitude where the parent believes that their child should be able to do whatever s/he pleases no matter how disruptive or violent it may be to other people.
Just as this kind of mindset is ultimately bad for the child (no one is going to like a bratty child so the child ends up suffering). It is doubly bad for the autistic child as they have a disadvantage to begin with.
I have no suggestions as to what to do with such parents who do not take their responsibility of preparing their child for adulthood seriously. I only say that we should not lump all parents together in that category.
marguerite

Los Angeles, CA

#149 Aug 16, 2008
Only in America wrote:
At some point we need to come to the realization that our elders did. These kids are never going to amount to a hill of beans. We need to stop wasting resources on these kids to make their parents feel better. Time to start institutionalizing these kids again. Get them out of the mainstream. Students in the regular public schools don't need these distractions. We can get rid of all of the special accomodations and maintain these kids in the most cost effective manner in a single institution, not spread out all over. Mom and Dad can come and visit on weekends.
are you kidding me? okay, if there is no hope and the person is violent and unsanitary, I understand your feeeling. but I have taught the most beautiful child for 4 years who has autism. she is gifted and knows every greek and roman god, goddes, and myth. brilliant and the most eager student you will ever meet. yet, she has occasional meltdows, due to frustration or fear. she will yell and freak out. but I would NEVER recommend institutionalizing HER?
marguerite

Los Angeles, CA

#150 Aug 16, 2008
Sarah wrote:
<quoted text>
I suppose you think that children who are blind and or deaf should be institutionalized as well. After all, that is what our elders did.
Or maybe you think that we should do to old people what the Inuit use to do...put them on an ice floe and let them drift out to sea to die. After all, wouldn't that be cost effective? We could start with you when you get old. I'm sure you'd be pleased to be the first one wouldn't you.
You go!
The Original Kacy

Minneapolis, MN

#151 Aug 17, 2008
Consistent wrote:
<quoted text>
Disruption is not a good thing.
Consistent, however, IS retarded.
bugs

Saint Paul, MN

#152 Aug 17, 2008
i drive school bus..i feel bad for the autustic children and the parents of them , however i see the other side too, i have been sworn at spit at and hit..i have seen teachers treated the same way,its not fun , its disgusting to see our taxpayers money wasted on kids who have no chance of maintreaming , and worse yet disrupting the kids who do want to learn.we are the only country to spend more money trying to educate the the ones who cant be taught then the ones who want to and can learn
Nothearingitall

AOL

#153 Aug 17, 2008
To Carol Race, Adam's mother ... I am glad you lost this case. I am an empathetic person, and I try to learn from people who are knowledgeable. I imagine raising an autistic child is very often difficult, and I hope your area has some help available to you, and your son.
But Mom, thirteen years old and TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS? That's not healthy. And from what the article said about Adam's behavior at the church, your son actually sounds like he could quickly become a physical hazard to some people. A running boy of that size who has little concern for others (part of the autism, I understand) would frighten me, and certainly my older parents and younger children.
I'm sorry about your situation, but are you a bit 'sue-happy' here? It said the parties couldn't come to an agreement. Did the priest offer to visit your son at your home so as to offer whatever you Catholics feel you need, weekly? Or maybe a bit less than weekly. Can you still be a 'good' Catholic if missing services because of your bruiser of a son being noisy and disruptive? Can you see other people's point of view? Do ya care?
Anyhow, Carol, I don't know much about your situation, but from little I read, I can support the priest taking the legal action he did. I'll add that if I were attending that church with my two God loving parents, who are at an age where any hard fall could be disastrous, and while leaving into the fresh Sunday air, they were struck and felled by your son ... all 225 pounds of your son would be hurting. See, I live my life as a christian, but I would NOT take that crap without putting the big hurt on him.
I do wish you and Adam well.

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