Posted by: myautisticmuslimchild | May 3, 2010

Autism and Child Abuse – Personal Reflections

In the last two posts, we discussed the concept and warning signs of child abuse in the Autistic and special needs community. These posts aim to provide a scientific knowledge base for readers, but I didn’t think that the subject would be complete without some personal reflections on the matter. Below, I will share with you some of my own personal struggles in this arena and I hope that you too will share some of yours with me so we can provide both help and support to others who may be experiencing this very struggle themselves and yet are unsure how to handle it. I hope to hear from you …

This subject hits very close to home for me. My son was severely neglected  3 years ago in his private school. All of a sudden he didn’t want to go to school. His bad behavior increased in such way that every morning I pulled into the school parking lot he started kicking and screaming. I asked his father to take him to school a few times, to see if he would behave the same way. Back then I was in complete denial. We have moved from another state , so Amin could attend this private school, and I found it hard to believe that it could happen to my little boy. He  didn’t want to use his words anymore, and they had to drag him into the class every single morning. When I left the school I drove home crying and not knowing what to do. The answer came in so many ways. My little son’s friend was pulled from the same school, and his grandfather kept  calling me, and told me it was the best thing they can do for him. I found it odd hearing it from him so many times, and then later on I realized he was giving me a hint.

Also, my son came home with huge self inflicted  wounds on his face  3 days in a row. When I questioned them in school they said “there’s nothing we can do, he just gets angry”. My reply to them was “he doesn’t do it at home and I take care of another child and everything else at home and he never ever attempted to hurt himself.” The school’s open door policy changed all of the sudden after I walked into the class room finding him on the corner crying and scratching himself. It was at that point that I pulled him from this school.

I waited 3 months, and I still can’t forgive myself for being so blind and not recognizing all the signs of neglect. When I told him that he will no longer going to that school, he didn’t say anything to me nor did he looked at me … He simply picked up his back pack and threw it into the trash can, sat down next to me  and looked very peaceful. It took approximately 6 months for him to recover from this experience.

Unfortunately we had another bad experience, this time with his public school. I started having doubts when he didn’t want to go into his classroom.  After three times, I discussed it with his teacher. The answer I got was very generic, and not at all satisfying. His behavior changed dramatically, and he started to lose his words again. I pulled him within a month and now he is going to a school where we have an open door policy and open communication. So far so good, but rest assured … I will never let my guard down again.

I shared this personal experience because I got several emails asking whether a child can be abused in private school or public school? Unfortunately, they can be harmed just about everywhere. As a mother, I feel if I do not stand up for my child’s right who will? We have to be their advocate and fight for them and protect them as much as possible.

Resources from the Child Welfare Information Gateway Website

Child Abuse and Neglect

Defining Child Abuse and Neglect

Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect



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  2. Sister, I have found so far that the best thing I can do for my autistic son is to keep them out of the public school system. I am not sure if I will ever be able to rely on the mercy of others when they are bound by every socialist law except the law of God. It is fear of God that will stop a person from committing such crimes. When they do not fear God, they fear the law. But current laws around safety and wellbeing of children are always controversial and often biased against giving power to parents and safeguarding teachers, principals and other people who work for the boards. Unfortunately the current status quo in most public schooling in North America is to keep parents out, keep free thought out, and most significanlty keep God out.

  3. Salam,

    Canada may be a different story, I am very happy with the public school system in Ontario, Canada, kids with special needs are much better served in the public system, than in the private system.

  4. a friend like henry,written by Nuala Gardner and published by Sourcebooks is a parents’ book about autism…with all the fluffy bits removed. Honest, blunt, significant, rewarding. A well written, meaningful and very readable book.

    a friend like henry is a book that tells the reader how frustrating, enlightening and magical living with autism can be, both for the person on the spectrum and those that live in the world parallel to ours.
    I am happy to say that at no time in this book is it ever implied that Dale should be ‘cured’ of his autism, it is obvious throughout the book that the search is for coping mechanisms and behavioral modification.

    One of the things I enjoyed most was that Nuala does not claim that pet therapy is the only solution to the above dilemma but she does openly and honestly share one way of using an autistic child’s obsession to their family’s best advantage.

    One of the things I disliked the most about this book (besides the use of all lower case for the title and author name), was the way it rewired all my emotions and made me cry every few pages. I found that I had to pace myself through this book by reading it in between several others in order to give my emotions a break. I nearly couldn’t continue on reading it at the end but I am not going to tell you why, as it will ‘ruin’ the ending for you. However, I am happy that I did carry on.

    After reading this book I am still convinced that our N3S is still the child most likely to be savaged by a dog but I picked up a few tips encouraging on behavioral modification which we will apply through other mediums.

    The section where Dale ‘speaks’ at the end of the book along with Nuala’s afterword are nice twists and are the perfect ending to what I feel is a triumph of literary honesty. This is a very special book.

    I speak as both an adult Aspie and a mother of an Aspie child when I say that this book will break your heart into several pieces and then show you interesting new ways to put it back together again.

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