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When the Google Alert Makes Autism Families Want to Vomit

Sunday-paper-coffee-cup Like you, I have several Google alerts set for autism news. I usually breeze down the list of articles muttering, "Meh, duh, OK, Oh that's a good story, great kid, how wonderful..."  This week (at least) three stories hit that helped me acheive a new weight loss number for the week. The hard way. How is it that teachers and caretakers think that our loved ones are so inhuman and unworthy of respect that they can abuse them in a way that would violate the rules of the Geneva Convention and yet go almost unnoticed by the world? Not here. Check out the stories below. And feel free to share your own in the comments. It's not the cheeriest Sunday news - but certainly deserves thought and even prayer. KS

Dad Sues Roanoke VA School Board for $20,000,000 for Beatings on Bus

Thomas Kilpatrick, 47, is accusing the two women of physically abusing his 12-year-old autistic son on his way to the Laurel Regional Special Education Center, a special needs school in Lynchburg.

Lawyers for the family say that boy is still suffering from permanent emotional damage more than two years later. Their most compelling evidence is an hour and a half worth of surveillance video from the school bus. They say it captures the autistic boy being hit, kicked and even choked by the former school employees. (You can watch the video to the right.)

P. Brent Brown is an attorney for the Kilpatrick family.

"When people look at the surveillance video they will be horrified," said Kilpatrick from his Roanoke office.

The suit alleges 12-year-old Timothy was strapped into a shoulder harness the morning of September 24, 2009 when the former aide hit him repeatedly with fly swatter, kicked him, and later sprayed an aerosol chemical in his face.

 Child Sprayed with Aerosol on Bus (This is the same child as in the story above)

New video given to WSLS on Thursday, claims to show a second instance where a 11-year-old boy with autism was physically abused by former Bedford County Schools employees.

Horrific video shows autistic boy, 11, screaming for mercy as he is kicked, choked and hit by driver and helper on school bus

Autism Advocates Upset Teacher Cleared In Restraining Student 12-Year-Old Boy Tried Up, Tipped Back In Chair

Autism advocates are concerned an Indiana Court of Appeals' decision to drop charges against a special education teacher who helped restrain a special needs student could send the wrong message to Indiana teachers.Catherine Littleton, a teacher at Perry Meridian Middle School, was originally charged with confinement, battery and neglect of a dependent in connection with her treatment of a 12-year-old boy with autism in February 2010.




Using a three-year-old autistic grandchild until I video of the four-year-old girl being slapped I didn't know anything like this could happen I guess I live in a different world but now I am aware my grandson gets picked up four times a week and there is an aid and I couldn't even think that they would do something like that they are the sweetest people but I will be aware

Meg Naughton

You know, this crap is exactly why I'm in the process of pulling my son out of his brick-and-mortar school and enrolling him in Cyber school. We should not have to fear sending our children to school. I hope that these cases are extreme, but my heart tells me it happens all to often to these precious kids.


They are not aides or helpers, they are idiots. It is honestly a privilege and honor to be able to work with vulnerable children. I hope they are fully prosecuted. Battery is battery. Last week I worked with the sweetest little boy- he wanders (not at home but at school) and I could see the worry in the mother's face. This all has to be taken more seriously.

I love my ND!

I am shocked that any child is treated that way by a teacher! Would the reaction be different if the child was not Autistic? I hope that teacher never teaches again.
To the person that made comments about ND... I love my naturopathic physician. I would check out the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians


Thank you Kim for posting this horrific story. It is an urgent wake up call for society to recognize that our children with autism desperately need the research to provide the "cure" for the "autism" they were never born with! Our children's welfare and safety should be the top priority in a civilized society, and this kind of abuse should never be tolerated! I hope our prayers will be answered in our lifetime, and not after we are long gone!

the ND are nuts

@Save Our Kids, great question. Where are all the ND's and why aren't they in an uproar about the disgusting treatment of these kids? Where's Estee "autism is a joy" Klar? Where's Kristina "I would never want a cure for my severely, self injurious autistic son" Chew? Where's Kevin "I just let my daughter be" Leitch? and all the other ND crazies? They should be blogging furiously about these stories and helping to bring to light how autistic children are abused every day. The ND are a bunch of cowards and hypocrites.


Mark and I saw Bella being abused on camera. It's a numb, take your breath away kind of anger that starts at your toes and catches in your throat along with the bile that has risen up from your belly.


I could not watch the whole video and my husband will not watch it. You do know of course if one of the parents did this to the two women MSM would be all over it! I posted the video to Anderson Cooper's new talk show, as he was talking about bullies....crickets. I am so grateful for our boys program. I can't imagine him going through anything like this. All of us in the world of Autism post these stories everywhere, and I know that those outside the world of Autism just scroll right by them. So sickening and sad.

 A Mom

I hope those women never know peace. I hope what they have done follows them the rest of thier lives. I hope the community they live in shuns them. They may not feel bad for what they have done wrong but that does not mean they should not suffer. May everyone know what they did every where they go till the day they die. How that DA dropped the felony charges on those women I will never understand. I won't say what I would do if that happened to my baby.


I don't know if I could show the physical restraint not to hunt someone down and bury them in my back yard if someone EVER hurt my son. Watching the video and hearing about abuse, makes me physically ill. I'm one of those "eye for an eye" people and I pity the person who would ever hurt my child. I have a very long fuse, it takes quite a bit for me to get that angry. However, I could go from calm, cool and collected to deadly in a millisecond if I ever heard that someone hurt my child.
I don't know how parents of children that are abused by others keep their heads in this type of situation. I'm not sure if I could.

Donna L.

I have been just sick about this, since I first saw the video three days ago. What is the point of having video cameras on buses if nobody is reviewing the video footage on a regular basis? In Timothy's case, the fact that this abuse went on for so long (let alone at all) is utterly appalling. And I think every parent of every other child on that bus should also sue for emotional damage done to their children for having witnessed that abuse on a regular basis.

My God, our kids must think they were born onto an alternate universe, one in which there is not a shred of justice or human decency. My heart just breaks for all of these children. What sort of society can allow this to happen, over and over again?


That video was very painful to watch . . . I hope that family gets every penny they've asked for. Maybe then they can afford to remove their son from the very system that most likely damaged him.


Save Our Kids

Where are the "autism civil rights advocates" at a time like this? You know, the ND's who wanna be the next Martin Luther King for their cause? Every time an autistic child is punched, choked, sprayed, kicked, bullied, bashed or beat up, their silence is deafening. Perhaps the autism "self-advocates" are too busy tracking down autism parents who aren't celebrating autism to speak out on behalf of autistic children being horrifically abused.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Thank you for this piece Kim. Where's the outrage? Where's the horror that caregivers could treat disabled children like this? What if these kids had Down Syndrome? My great fear is that as more and more of our children age into adulthood, many with severe behavioral problems (often brought about simply by the fact that they endure awful gut pain), we'll learn to also accept stories about autistic adults being assaulted, shot, and even killed when they act out.

Society isn't doing a good job dealing with children with autism and people are certainly not prepared for adults like this. I marvel at how willingly we've come to accept, "One in 110 children have autism." We will also adjust to headlines like, "Man attacked outside of movie theater"---Oh, he was autistic. Those things happen to them.

Anne Dachel, Media

Son in Recovery

My nephew was unlawfully restrained a few years back by the school staff and a local law enforcement officer. I commend my sister and brother-in-law for letting their lawyer handle the situation. I am so proud of them and I hope these families sue the pants off of these school districts! The staff should have criminal charges brought against them and if not, then the families take them to civil court. If they don't face jail time their lives deserve to be financially devastated.

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