NOTE: A family in California is being sued because of their child with autism is, according to the suit, a "public nuisance." He has severe aggressive behaviors. And while we know that our kids can not function in the world if they harm others, we also know how difficult it can be to address, manage and ameliorate aggressive behaviors even with the best team and interventions. Just imagine how this problem is going to grow when the 11 year old turns 21, 41, 61 along with 1 in 68 peers? Thank you to AofA reader and CA advocate SP for sharing. We wish the family well. There but for the grace of God.... (California has become very cruel, don't you think?)
California is leading the way in gross injustice yet again. You may have seen the news articles about this family being sued by their neighbors, who are claiming their son with autism is a "public nuisance". The Autism Society Bay Area in CA wrote about this terrible story.
Dear Bay Area autism families,
We wanted to let you know about an extraordinary, unprecedented lawsuit against a local family that could have profound implications for all of us affected by autism.
In June 2014, two Sunnyvale couples, whose homes on Arlington Court flanked a home occupied by a nine year-old autistic boy and his parents, sued the autism family in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleging a smattering of incidents that had occurred sporadically over the span of about six years. The incidents sound much like those that happen with many autistic children, and include, for example, that the boy had entered a neighbor's garage, had taken a neighbor’s banana, had sought out neighbors' sweets, had kicked a car (no damage), had tossed some objects over a fence, had pulled a child’s hair and had on occasion kicked at people (no injuries), and had tossed a bicycle helmet. The boy was between 3 and 9 years of age, and weighed less than 60 pounds, at the time of these alleged actions. Read more HERE.
From SP: The family is understandably devastated. They are the type to do the right thing and believe that others would do the same. They moved from their home in the hopes to leave this horror behind, but still, the neighbors are going forward with the suit. The hearing for the neighbors petitions to get the boys medical records (plus IEP's, Regional Center records, even camp records!) is this morning. Can you imagine the precedent this will set? Any disgruntled neighbor can get access to you child's most sensitive records in order to use against you in a lawsuit?
This is all to terrible to contemplate, but is the reality for this family right now.
I hope to bring more attention to their situation. There has been a surprising amount of abuse directed to this family by people who don't know the details, but want to jump on the "keep your kid away from my kid if he is dangerous". And of course, the parents were diligent, but isolated episodes happened that were relatively minor. Thousands of other autism families have dealt with similar problems. Autism is unpredictable. To expect this family to isolate their child is cruel and unfair"
A judge added some sanity to the suit today:
SAN JOSE -- Voicing her dismay in a case causing an uproar among Bay Area parents, a Santa Clara County judge on Tuesday chastised the parents of a boy with autism and their neighbors suing them over claims the boy's aggressiveness made him a public nuisance, imploring them to end the ugliness and help their children learn a life lesson.
"The question I have for each and every one of you is: Do you want to be solution-oriented and a great role model for your kids?"
Superior Court Judge Maureen A. Folan asked the parents standing before a packed courtroom. "Or do you want to be the opposite of that, and be litigation-oriented?" Read more here.