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