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Dark Cloud Over Sunnyvale CA: Neighbors Suing Family with Autistic Child as "Public Nuisance"

WeepNOTE: 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?)

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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"

NOTE:

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.

 

Comments

Martinez

It's only "not serious" when it happens to someone else.
So if he hurt your kid it would be a different tune!
His parents need to watch and control him
He sounds like a real pest- autism or not!

Tammy baker

I have three children. My oldest, a boy, only bit me. My middle child, a boy, only bit his friends. My youngest, a girl, never bit anyone. When my middle child was 18 months old he was one biting incident away from being removed from his daycare after he bit a child on the face. Of course I completely understand the need to keep the other children safe. I was prepared to take a leave of absence from my job if need be. Thankfully he he outgrew this behavior. But what if he didn't outgrow it? It is my responsibility to make sure he is not harming another child. I cannot blame the daycare staff or anyone else. We as parents need to be responsible for our children, no matter who is watching them.

Hera

It's simple phrases like "monitored at all times" that show the difference between those who understand the reality of caring for a high risk special needs kid and those who don't.

"Monitoring at all times" sounds like an obvious no brainer, doesn't it?
But what does this really mean?
Well some kids with autism have non typical sleep patterns. ( I remember meeting one Mom whose ( at that point) undiagnosed child had a sleep schedule of about two hours a night. The rest of the time he was up playing. She looked like she was heading for a breakdown trying to make sure he was safe at night.
So with one of these children are we saying that at adult must be awake all night to watch the child? For the next 18 years? Because that's what "monitoring at all times" would actually entail.
Then we have the bathroom issue. Toddlers are fairly easy to keep safe while Mom goes to the bathroom. But an eight year old has strength and height, and abilities with locks, that a toddler does not, but may have no more understanding of safety than that toddler.

So what happens if Mom gets diarrhea? Is she supposed to stand there with it dripping down her leg while she ensures everything is as secure as it can be? Or if she has a stomach upset and is vomiting? Or is she allowed a quick dash to the bathroom, even if it means her child is no longer being "monitored"? What about if she has the flu and heaven forbid, wakes up later than her child?

Humans aren't robots, and even the best, most attentive parent can sometimes have more on their plate than they can handle at one time. Just something to think about for those who have never seen what it is like close up to "monitor at all times". This isn't saying parents should not do their best, and that they should not protect other children from their own child's violence; of course they should. I'm just saying that at times it is not always as easy as it sounds.
Autism with the massively increasing rates is going to impact more and more peoples lives. You can't just wish it away, or even sue it away. And again, I do agree that there may be facts that we don't know that are relevant.

Linda1

I had the same reaction to this story that Bayareamom had. ATSC, you can't project what happened to your child to this case because we don't know what happened in this case.

When I was little, I remember my mother being very upset one day. I heard her say that my little sister was hit over the head by the boy next door with a shovel. I'm pretty sure I remember that he was three years old at the time. My sister was little too. My mother was upset not only about what happened, but I remember her saying that the boy's mother was not watching him - that she was taking a nap at the time. He wasn't autistic. I suppose if the behavior continued (it didn't), that my parents and other parents on the block would have had to do something about it. It would have become a serious danger to all the kids on the block.

I'm not saying that what happened in my situation is what happened in this story either. Just that we don't know. It would be terrible if the neighborhood was persecuting this family for having a sick child. It would also be terrible if the family with the child, sick or not, was not doing everything possible to keep him from harming others. That may be the case, as it might have nothing to do with the autism and everything to do with the parenting. It may also be that the boy's parents are doing everything they can but that they aren't able to keep him from hurting others. That is a problem that should be recognized and dealt with, not denied because he's autistic. If that's the case. That's for the mediator to decide.

ATSC

http://www.liftbump.com/2015/09/83449-judge-has-one-question-for-families-who-filed-a-lawsuit-alleging-autistic-boy-to-be-public-nuisance/

The families who filed the lawsuit say it's not about the boy's disability but about his behaviour which they contend was violent, unpredictable and out of control.

Robert Flowers: "Not only were our children in peril on a daily basis but if things didn't change someone was going to get hurt tragically."

"...Santhanam said Friday that the problem worsened over the years because the boy's parents or baby sitters often weren't around at the time of the attacks to prevent them. "

I doubt that an adult being around would be enough to prevent the attacks because, when my son was young, his attacks were impulsive, and often a response to fear and the unpredictability of neurotypical children. Experts told me to try to identify the triggers that set him off, and sound and touch were major factors for him. If a child screamed in his face, he would pull hair, scratch or kick. This, in time, became a great game for a particular group of kindergarten children who enjoyed baiting him, ducking and running out of the way just in time - and no one ever reprimanded them. At seven, he was tied up and terrorised by two teenage girls, but once untied, as soon as the adults alarmed by his calls of distress turned up, he unsuccessfully tried to kick the girls, much to their amusement but not to their parents who frowned upon his aggressive and violent response towards their precious girls. The parents said the girls were just having fun, and no, they didn't have to apologise. If a child hit or slapped him in fun, he would fight back in earnest, not understanding that it was supposed to be a game. How can parents explain to a child with the kind of language difficulties children with autism have that hitting is wrong when sometimes hitting is okay - so long as it's fun for other children?

So, is anybody asking what triggered this boy's aggression?

No one should be surprised that a child with autism has behavioural issues but Robert Flowers' statement is over the top. I think one has to ask, if he was so worried about his children's safety, why the boy was invited to his son's birthday party in the first place, and why he and his wife were not keeping careful watch over their own children at the party, and in the street. All young children need to be supervised. Perhaps the other children involved in this case really are little angels, and did absolutely nothing to provoke the incidents, but I very much doubt it.

It's yet another example of blaming the parents, and treating the disabled child as a scapegoat. When are people going to wake up that autism is a serious disorder? It's not introversion, a high IQ and special gifts. Maybe when the public starts having greater contact with more and more children with the disability on a daily basis it will dawn on them that they have been fed a diet of feel-good propaganda, thanks to Ari Ne'eman, the neurodiversity movement, and so-called autism experts like Simon Baron-Cohen.

Bayareamom

I'm not going to become involved in a protracted debate with all of this, but I will say:

It didn't really take ME any courage to write what I stated. I believe every parent has the moral obligation to ensure his/her children do not harm others. PERIOD. You can stretch this debate to the extreme, but in the end it is the PARENTS who are responsible for their son's behavior, plain and simple.

I spent a LONG portion of my day reading up on this situation. I have to say, I came away with the same opinion as my intuitive nature was telling me just the other day. I truly feel for both sides involved in this matter, but hopefully the parents of this autistic child will do whatever it takes to ensure their son's behavior no longer impacts others' safety, including his own.

Bayareamom

I'm not going to become involved in a protracted debate with all of this, but I will say:

It didn't really take ME any courage to write what I stated. I believe every parent has the moral obligation to ensure his/her children do not harm others. PERIOD. You can stretch this debate to the extreme, but in the end it is the PARENTS who are responsible for their son's behavior, plain and simple.

I spent a LONG portion of my day reading up on this situation. I have to say, I came away with the same opinion as my intuitive nature was telling me just the other day. I truly feel for both sides involved in this matter, but hopefully the parents of this autistic child will do whatever it takes to ensure their son's behavior no longer impacts others' safety, including his own.

Sylvia

Bayareamom,
you have posted quite a novel here in the comments section, and I see you have addressed this question to me:
***********************************************
"Sylvia - Do you KNOW this couple personally? But even if you do, do you know for a fact that their son was monitored at all times and that his whereabouts during some of these 'isolated incidents' was known by any of his caregivers at the time these incidents occurred?"
***********************************************
I know the close friends of this family, I have never met them myself. But I have spoken to many others who know this family personally, and I am convinced that they were not negligent in their supervision of their son. But to your follow up question if I "know for a fact that their son was monitored at all times". Let me be clear: He was and is a little boy. Not Hannibal Lecter. He is a beautiful, innocent child. He is not a criminal. He is a boy trying to make sense of a very confusing world. Sometimes outbursts occur with children with autism. His parents love him very much and provide for his every need. But no parent is perfect. But what you fail to address in your extremely long and over critical posts here is this: the neighbors are suing to bar this boy from his own home, as well as a monetary settlement. That is WHACK. You are taking the comments from the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, and making critical judgments against this family, who are going thru a living HELL. Can you please maybe take a friggin' breath and imagine how you would feel if it were you in their shoes? Could you even handle a day taking care of a child with autism? I highly doubt it. It is hard enough without being forced out of your home! Try a little compassion before you jump on a bandwagon you know nothing about.

Hera

Guys; perhaps time to remember to be kind to each other?

Bayareamom; I am sure it took quite a bit of courage to make a post you knew would be unpopular. I always have admired courage. I agree that with the media you never know exactly how much of the truth is being reported.
And parents who has a child who is violent do have to do their best to protect others.

At the same time the idea of a child being forced out of a housing area because they aren't "normal enough" is truly scary to many of us. Are we saying only poor neighborhoods who can't afford to sue should have violent children with autism?
The community as a whole has been unwilling to help to prevent children getting injured by vaccines. Having children who are injured by vaccines in multiple neighborhoods who face many challenges is now more and more the new normal.

In answer to your question, any child who behaved like that would be someone who most likely I assumed had some kind of special need challenges, whether with mental health or with autism/adhd etc.

One of our old neighborhoods had a young man with severe autism who was tall and strong and occasionally lost it ; and we all kept our young children away from him, but most of the neighborhood still said hi to him on his walks, and I still remember his beautiful smile when he was offered a cookie. I liked to talk to his Mom, too, who always did her best ,even though he outweighed her.

In most situations, there are ways to keep your child away from danger without needing to be cruel.


I think I read that the child with autism had already moved from the neighborhood? Continuing a lawsuit when you have already basically won does seem vindictive from an outsider point of view, based on the limited facts I have.

By the way, I have enjoyed many of your posts, Bayareamom, and hope you continue to express your point of view, even if at times we may disagree.

Linda1

No one except the families involved know the true story. The only thing that we know for a fact is that the media is an unreliable source. I'm glad that AOA reported this important story, but I'm surprised that AOA posted some of the viscous comments - and I don't mean the ones from Bayareamom.

Kim

So sorry the family is going through all of this! I have a daughter on the spectrum who has severe behaviors. We are fortunate to have neighbors that are compassionate and understanding. Hoping this lawsuit just goes away.

Kim Bonneau

BAYAREAMOM who the hell do you think you are? Do you have a child with autism? This isn't about you or your "typical" children. My vaccine injured child has been bullied on several occasions in the 15 years of his life and it was never from a child on the spectrum. Do you realize how difficult it is as parents to keep our children safe and protected? Why don't you keep your opinion to yourself and offer help to this family. Just SHUT UP! You have no idea what this child is going through. Eventually 50% of the population is going to adults with autism so I suggest you find a remote island and you and family find safety there. We don't need your ignorance in California or in any other state in this country. Why the hell are you even posting on this site. If you can not offer genuine advice to help those of us who have children on the spectrum then keep your ignorant OPIONION to yourself. YOU ARE THE DAMN BULLY!

AllergicToBS

I believe this family is being exploited by these litigious neighbors. Families like ours are already drained financially from paying out of pocket for therapies, medical care and everything else and these neighbors really have no clue what this boy's family has gone through. No one should be judging them. Do I sue neighbors for what their kids do? No, then give this family that same consideration. They have no business suing and the judge is right, they should go through mediation and handle it there. If the neighbors still won't listen to the judge, the judge should swiftly and forcefully fine the neighbors for not agreeing to comply.

This boy's family is being victimized and it needs to stop.

Sylvia

Bayareamom: you are jumping to a lot of conclusions based on quotes by the neighbors who have been harassing this family and hounding them for a monetary settlement. The boys parents are wonderful, caring people. They are involved, resourceful parents who supervise their son. But as most of Age of Autism readers know first hand, sometimes the unexpected happens. Sometimes you turn your back for a few minutes, sometimes you are caught off guard. And they have been completely side-blinded by the cruelty of their neighbors. They never thought they would still be demanding money even after they moved away.

I support this family 100 percent. I hope common decency and sanity can prevail, and they can move on from this nightmare.

Bayareamom

I just found this article (which confirms my suspicions if what is printed is true):

http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_28839003/sunnyvale-neighbors-say-autistic-boys-parents-ignored-their

SNIPS:

"...I find it offensive that people assume I have no compassion for an autistic family when I am simply trying to defend and protect my children from being assaulted," said Robert Flowers about the explosive public backlash that surfaced against him and his wife following this week's media accounts of their lawsuit against the boy's parents.

"This is not about autism. This is about public safety," said Flowers, who spoke publicly for the first time Friday about the case..."


"...Santhanam said Friday that the problem worsened over the years because the boy's parents or baby sitters often weren't around at the time of the attacks to prevent them.

This has to do with the parents' responsibility to control their child," said Santhanam. After one incident, he recalled, Gopal told him, "He's autistic -- there is nothing you can do..."

Santhanam said he and his wife, who have lived on the block since 1999, first met Gopal and Agrawal when they moved in next door with their son in 2007. Not long after, they said, their neighbor's baby son was diagnosed with autism.

It was very hard for them, and we tried to do everything we could to support them," recalled Santhanam. "They were clearly struggling..."

He said neighbors were sensitive to the couple's situation and made sure to include the family in activities on the block..."


"...But in October, when he said the boy attacked their young son on his fourth birthday -- pulling his hair, shaking his head back and forth, kicking him on his back repeatedly -- Robert Flowers reluctantly called the police, because he said he wanted a paper trail to be established in case the attacks continued.

I didn't want to do it, because I knew I would look like the bad guy," said Flowers, who moved out of the rental house with his family last month. We're not upset about him being autistic," he clarified. "We are concerned and upset about his violence (toward) our children..."


We felt the same way when our son was victimized/assaulted in our former neighborhood. In our case, as I've stated, the boy in question was not autistic, but clearly needed better guidance (other than what his parents were doing). His parents were somewhat in denial that there were issues with their son. I absolutely did NOT want to press charges, but ultimately I did, because our son's physical well being was paramount. (The officer even went to our son's then private school to take pictures of Ryan's knee as evidence.)

This issue is not about lack of compassion, from what I can see. But IF the autistic child's father actually stated that 'our son is autistic, there's nothing we can do,' then it seems to me they could use help/guidance with their son.


Bayareamom

https://gma.yahoo.com/broadway-star-takes-compassionate-stand-child-autism-disrupts-125701916--abc-news-parenting.html

https://gma.yahoo.com/broadway-star-takes-compassionate-stand-child-autism-disrupts-125701916--abc-news-parenting.html

I just found this article and thought I'd post it. It's wonderful. The autistic child involved wasn't hurting anyone, but was obviously having a hard time. The young man who appeared in the play actually wrote this piece. It's genuinely moving.

FYI - I realize SOME of you here would take issue with my feelings about this Sunnyvale incident. However, i stand by my assertions/opinion.

Sylvia - Do you KNOW this couple personally? But even if you do, do you know for a fact that their son was monitored at all times and that his whereabouts during some of these 'isolated incidents' was known by any of his caregivers at the time these incidents occurred?

I read, if memory serves, that this family had a babysitter or sitters as well for their son; I don't know if this means they both work full-time or on the occasion, had help at the same time the Mom (or someone else) was also at home taking care of their son. But IF a babysitter was employed at one time on a full-time basis, do these parents KNOW if that babysitter knew at all times where this child was?

Look - simply asking questions (on my part or anyone else's) about this couple's parenting does not in any way shape for form mean that I don't feel they aren't compassionate, loving parents! C'MON!!!!

But I will say this and I mean this if WE were the parents of an autistic child: If OUR son had bitten another child and/or caused bodily injury harm to someone else's child, it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that our son does not harm or injure anyone else's child. We don't get a pass on that simply because our son is autistic.

Kind, nurturing and compassionate parents may at times need help guidance at the same time in order to care for their child's needs. Kind/nurturing doesn't always equate to KNOWING how to handle any particular child's issues.

I see so many knee jerk assumptions about this issue, when if truth be told, the real facts are not always known outside a courtroom battle. Some of you act as though these neighbors went after this family after the least provocation. I don't see that when I read through some of these stories. It sounds to me as though this lawsuit was a last resort and that $$ was NOT the issue. Mediation WAS tried initially, but failed, hence the lawsuit (don't get me started on frivolous lawsuits. I may be married to an attorney (he's not a litigator), but we both find it appalling when we hear about some of the cases which make it inside a courtroom).

I realize services are hard to find for autistic children. I can only imagine how hard it must be to raise a special needs child when services are few and far between. We saw how difficult it was for even our own son, who struggled with severe learning disorder issues, so we can well imagine how difficult it is for parents who really do struggle with various other needs as well.

But everyone has responsibility here. And IF this child was truly creating an environment within which to make it impossible for some of the children in this neighborhood to feel safe/secure, then something needed to be done. That's not to say there was no compassion for this family and what they're going through, but at the same time, it IS their responsibility to ensure their son's behavior doesn't jeopardize the safe being of others surrounding him.

If, what these plaintiffs are saying is true, what's going to happen when this young man gets older and his behavior isn't better controlled? I'll ask again - if this young man was NOT autistic, but simply an ill behaved and out of control young kid, how far would YOUR sympathies and compassion go for this family?

In the end, I think this situation will help ALL involved to LEARN more about what the other side is feeling and perhaps they will all walk away when all is said and done, having learned more about the surrounding issues re autism, etc.

I certainly had compassion for the young mom whose son bit our son's face so severely, but in the end, our son's health and safety concerns were a priority for us, notwitstanding our concern for the little boy also involved. It was a tough situation for us to be in, but ultimately the mother of the young boy who bit our son was responsible for her son's behavior.

Sylvia

BayAreaMom:

The family are wonderful, caring and involved. These were isolated incidents involving a young, small child with autism. They have moved, and the neighbors STILL want MONEY.

Birgit Calhoun

It's very difficult to take care of an autistic child, and everyone is different. In my book most behavioral attempts at dealing with an autistic child are hit or miss. But therein lies the problem, too. What's for one a panacea is for another the courts. Autism needs to be taken seriously before anything can be done. And as long as we, the parents, are the only ones who really know how it is, we have to keep grinding until someone gets it right. There is autism, and there is a cause, and unless something gets done about it, things will get worse.

Birgit Calhoun

My guess is that the parents of an autistic child are helpless against that type of lawsuit being filed. I live not far from Sunnyvale. The neighbors appear to me to have hired a lawyer who is using the types of methods that work best in American law. Being a good neighbor is not important any longer. Yes, it takes a good neighbor to understand about a child's difficulties. Not only do the parents not have the money to defend themselves they'll probably be asked to pay the neighbor's lawyer bills and whatever the court fines them for. It's a sad state of affairs where, as in Sunnyvale, gentrification is exposing the leopard's spots. People who have an autistic child often don't have friends. They are helpless in many ways and they are being kicked when they are down. It is difficult to reason with an autistic child when the child doesn't talk or know the right words. Wake up America! There are going to be a lot more coming. Maybe one day the powers that be will start looking for a cause.

Sun~Rose

Often when I read here, the stories are just heart-rending, and I keep wishing parents would check out The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, which -- in the 'old' days -- meant parents had to get their child to Philadelphia. Now there is online and I think access in different areas of the country. Kids can get better, even well. Truly. That was our wonderful experience.

Love,
Sun~Rose

p.s. And We had wonderful success with megavitamins too. sunrosejoined@aol.com; and I am not selling anything! just wanting to help.

Bayareamom

@Danchi:

"...It looks like the parents have taken appropriate steps. However this isn't enough for the neighbors. The child was housebound before the parents left the home all together so the neighbors want to pursue the suit to make sure the family doesn't come back. This looks like a new spin on racism. Ethnic minorities were often made to feel unwelcome when they moved into a neighborhood of "like minded people". There is a movie called Hot Fuzz where a town had a unique way of ridding undesirables to maintain their award winning town in pristine condition..."

It LOOKS like the parents have tried taking appropriate steps, but we don't know this for a fact. I've dealt with the press vis-a-vis vaccine issues and as all of you are probably aware as well, the press doesn't always get it right. I don't know for certain what has occurred with this situation, so I reserve judgment.

ALL I am saying is that there are ALWAYS two sides to any issue. In our case, with our neighborhood issue, the boy I was describing in an earlier comment had proven to be troublesome to other children/families in the neighborhood well before we moved in. Additionally, the boy's parents seemed to be, for lack of a better term, bullies themselves, so it didn't take too much to see how/why their son seemed to have issues (their other kids were never a problem though).

The issue, is seems to me, is NOT that this boy is autistic; IT IS HIS BEHAVIOR that is the issue. Just because he is autistic does not give him and/or his parents a free pass. Other children in that neighborhood have the right to play within that neighborhood w/o feeling threatened or unsafe. The same for the autistic child as well!

What seems so sad to me is that 'SOME' in the autism community may feel this is some sort of bigotry/racism BECAUSE this child is autistic, when it may very well be that BOTH sides have been somewhat short-sighted in their various approaches.

A solution is needed. I would hope that eventually, this young autistic lad gains enough control over his behavior so as to be able to mingle with the other children. I would also hope that the other children (and adults) in that neighborhood grow in their understanding and learn more compassion so that ALL living in that neighborhood can feel safe and secure.

Danchi

From what I have read, the neighbors DID try mediation at one point, to no avail.

The DM article stated this:
"His parents hired carers - and the boy is taking medication and undergoing therapy - but residents in the street refused to back down and sued the family."

"However Nieves Diaz, 63, said the situation was 'awful' as the ruling, which came before the family left their home, meant the boy could not play with other children on the street.

She added that the autistic child was often seen watching them play from the window but was not allowed to go and join in."

The article also states:
Homeowners claimed that 'people feel constrained in the marketability of their homes' and that the 'nuisance' had not been stopped.

Another article I read stated the neighbors were pursing the suit even though the family had moved out and the home is rented, to make sure the family doesn't return.

It looks like the parents have taken appropriate steps. However this isn't enough for the neighbors. The child was housebound before the parents left the home all together so the neighbors want to pursue the suit to make sure the family doesn't come back. This looks like a new spin on racism. Ethnic minorities were often made to feel unwelcome when they moved into a neighborhood of "like minded people". There is a movie called Hot Fuzz where a town had a unique way of ridding undesirables to maintain their award winning town in pristine condition.

There is some nasty karma waiting at the end of the rainbow for the neighbors who filed this suit.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Matthew 22:39

Bayareamom

This story about the young man in Sunnyvale is about compassion (or lack thereof). On that note, here is a story I literally just read and feel compelled to post the link here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3247088/Please-help-McDonald-s-worker-praised-closing-cash-register-dinner-rush-help-disabled-man-eat.html

Oh wow. Tears everywhere. Wonderful, heart-lifting story.

My thoughts on this story may differ from several here. I have enormous compassion for the family of this autistic child. I have a friend who has a daughter who is autistic and although their daughter is not as disabled as some, they do struggle on a daily basis. It's heartbreaking.

My suspicions are, though, that PERHAPS this young man has not been properly supervised AT TIMES and thus, has caused some concerns in the neighborhood re safety for the other children.

Put it this way, if this child wasn't autistic and had caused the same type issues, how would everyone here then feel? Would you still have the same degree of compassion or would you be angry with the parents for not reigning in their young son?

I ask this because we once lived in a neighborhood where there were definite issues with one young man in question. There were issues with this man re petty theft, property damage and mild assault/bodily harm (with our son). This kid was two years older than our son and much bigger than Ryan.

After repeated attempts by my husband and I (mostly me) toward working out some sort of solution with this boy's parents, and no resolution, the final straw came when this kid assaulted Ryan. Ryan literally couldn't breathe as he came rushing into our home; the pain was such that he couldn't catch his breath. I finally realized I HAD to do something, because all efforts on our part to try to sort things out with this boy's family had proven futile.

I finally called our local police department. The officer came to our home and literally had to talk me into filing an assault/battery charge on this young man. I didn't want to, believe me. But after spending over an hour with me, in which I detailed all of the incidents we had had to contend with this young boy, the officer convinced me that filing this report was the best route to go.

What ultimately ensued was that this boy was put into a program initiated by our county in which he was counseled, his family was counseled and given perimeters/guidelines within which to HELP this boy come to terms with whatever it was that was causing him to act out. I realized, afterwards, when this program seemed to be working, that had I NOT contacted the police department, this family would never have gotten the help they obviously needed.

Eventually, a couple of years later, this same boy actually apologized to our son for all his misdeeds in their past history with one another. From what I've heard, this young man seems to be living a stable/happy life.

Another example as to why I see both sides to this story:

Our son was bitten SEVERELY on the face when he was around 3 when I had him in a daycare (I had just started back to work for a brief time). I can still remember the phone call I received when I was at work. Personnel warned me the injury was pretty horrific; it was so awful it left several of the care-givers in tears. When I picked up Ryan that day, thankfully he seemed, at least on an emotional level, okay, but his face was something else entirely. You could still see the teethmarks on his left cheek; bruising was all around the perimeter of the bite. It really WAS horrific and I can only imagine how painful it was for Ryan at the time it happened (he was simply taking a nap and this kid literally leaped over to Ryan and bit him squarely on the face, w/o any provocation from Ryan, as told to us by the management).

I was told later on that this child's mother was going through a terrible time in her personal life and this child was experiencing the aftermath as would many a child under the circumstances. But he was literally out of control and eventually, the daycare terminated this child's slot at the facility.

So - compassion/understanding by all means, but I'm sensing this child in question could use better boundaries and other mechanisms to help with his acting out issues. From what I have read, the neighbors DID try mediation at one point, to no avail. Hopefully next time around, they'll have better progress.

Hera

So we are now going to force vaccines and vaccine damage on people in California, and then sue people after they get vaccine damage for not behaving "normally." What a world! Thanks to all who speak up against this kind of thing.

So where are Ari and all the neurodiverse types? They could surely put some of their expertise with the media and their theme of "acceptance" to work here.

Maybe they already have; but it seems to me so often that it is the Age of Autism people who actually care the most about real life people with severe autism.

.

Danchi

This article was on Yahoo a couple of days ago and I was stunned to read how many people, including parents who have autistic child, supported the Neighbors. This demonstrates, IMHO, how pharama and the CDC have desensitized people in this country to the plight of autistic children and their families. I remember growing up in the burbs with neighbors who had mentally impaired children and intuitively you knew how to interact with the child because they were part of the community. We had communities back in the day and we looked out for each other normal or not. The article at Autism Society didn't go into details but the article at DM stated:

-The parents are now in a legal battle with fellow residents in Sunnyvale, California, whose lawsuit claims the boy is having a 'chilling effect on the otherwise hot local real estate market'.

-Homeowners claimed that 'people feel constrained in the marketability of their homes'

"His parents hired carers - and the boy is taking medication and undergoing therapy - but residents in the street refused to back down and sued the family."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3241513/Family-autistic-son-driven-home-neighbors-bring-lawsuit-against-parents-accusing-boy-11-causing-house-prices-plummet.html

So it appears this is also about money and the aesthetics of the neighborhood rather than genuine concerns for children playing in the neighborhood.

Bob Moffitt

What possible motive could these despicable "neighbors" have .. to continue with their frivolous lawsuit .. AFTER the family moved?

Had I read the "smattering of incidents" and did not know the boy was autistic .. I would have thought his behavior was not that much different .. in fact .. probably even less dangerous ... then thousands of children his age .. and .. none of those children are autistic.

Shame on the judge for allowing this persecution to go forward.

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