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Parents Who Lock Up Autistic Children

Parents Who Lock Up Autistic Children: Good or Bad?

Are they beasts or just parents who feel they have no hope?

Many parents lock up their autistic children to keep them safe. Is this safe? Many therapists are saying no after a Vancouver couple were acquitted of being accused of abusive treatment of their autistic children by excessively locking them up.

During the trial it came up that the parents of the children felt helpless in obtaining resources for their autistic children. They were let go. It comes to light thought that this is not an un-ordinary practice and is obviously tolerated.

autistic kids caged

This image shows two children confined in John Eckhart and Alayna Higdon’s apartment. Their faces have been blurred to protect their identities. An unblurred image was entered into evidence in Clark County Superior Court.

Although it provides for some necessary and temporary security for these children the practise can easily be abused and does not promote any therapeutic advancement for the children. Locking them up is adding to their frustration.

Read about these parents from a story in the Columbian by Laura McVicker, a Columbian Staff Reporter.

There are resources for parents of severely autistic children, when it reaches the point that the children are harming themselves or others, said Arzu Forough, chief executive officer of Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy. Forough, a mother of two autistic children, said she strongly supports intensive behavioral therapy to teach the children ways to communicate.

Gary Adams, a Portland psychologist who testified for the defense, said his impression was that the boys were only kept in the room when Higdon and Eckhart were tending to their newborn son and doing other chores.

“If it would have been excessive, I wouldn’t have taken the case,” Adams said.

Adams said he interviewed Eckhart, who told him that he took his sons out of school after one of the boys became agitated about having to wear a helmet. When officials presented the father with pamphlets about autism resources, Eckhart didn’t know what to do because he couldn’t read them, Adams said. The father testified at trial that he is illiterate, has an eighth-grade education and was in special education courses. He also thought he didn’t have the income to pay for the resources for his sons.

“He finally just said, ‘I don’t have alternatives,'” Adams said.

Forough said it is common for lower income people to struggle with finding resources, and her organization has worked to see Medicaid cover autism behavioral therapy.

Proper treatment “really starts with the place where they were diagnosed,” she said. “Whoever diagnosed these children did a disservice” to the family.

The whole story is posted on the Columbians website: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/jun/02/experts-locks-not-helpful-for-autistic-kids/

We agree with Arzu Forough that more could have been done by Whoever diagnosed these children. Do you think the parent’s were sincere that they didn’t know where to turn or just lazy in looking for resources?

Please leave your comments and opinions below.

One Response to Parents Who Lock Up Autistic Children

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