NPR reports on Henry Frost's campaign to attend his neighborhood school:
Frost has autism and a list of related physical problems which have so far eluded a tidy diagnosis. He communicates using an iPad app that speaks what he types.
The right Frost is seeking is the ability to attend Wilson Middle School in his South Tampa neighborhood. The Hillsborough County school district has told Frost they believe he is better off at a specialized program at Coleman Middle School, his family says.
Frost’s photo – and his cause – has gone viral since the photo was posted at the end of August. Thousands have given it an electronic thumbs-up on his I Stand WITH Henry Facebook page. And more than 2,100 have signed an online petition asking Hillsborough schools to let Frost attend Wilson Middle.
Henry was inspired by seeing the movie Wretches and Jabberers:
The movie follows autism activists Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher as they travel the globe talking to reporters and others about autism. Often, they answer reporter questions by typing answers into a device which speaks the words.
It was the first time Frost had seen people with autism describing life with the disorder in their own words.
Something clicked in Henry, his family said.
“It knocked him off his path,” Russ Hunt said of the movie’s effect on Frost wanting to switch schools. “From that point on that was how it built.”
Bissonnette and Thresher visited Tampa and met with Henry soon after.
A video of a teaching assistant assaulting a four-year-old autistic girl has caused outrage in China:
CCTV footage (Youtube version) showing Xu Lihuan, a 30-year-old teacher in Qianhui Children's Rehabilitation Services Centre in Panyu, Guangzhou, throwing a 4-year-old autistic girl to the floor. The girl, Qiu Yaoyao, allegedly fell into a coma following Xu's attack. Outraged netizens have caused the footage to go viral on Chinese social media.
Yaoyao and Xu were doing some exercises together when the child refused to stand properly on a chair. Xu grabs her arms and throws her to the ground, before proceeding to kick her, turn her upside down and bang her head into the floor.
The girl's' father says the school first told him that her injuries were caused by a fall.
CNN reports that the video is bringing much-needed attention to the treatment of autistic children in China:
Film actress Ma Yili took to Weibo, China's Twitter-like service, to say, "This kind of behavior should be charged with intentional homicide. Autistic kids are extra vulnerable because they are unable to independently control their behavior. We as parents will be closely watching how (the teacher) will be punished in court."
Another Weibo user, named @Yaliju, asked, "Doesn't she have a child herself? How on earth could kindergarten teachers be so cold-blooded? Who would dare entrust their kids to these peoples' hands?"
Other netizens blame the lack of trained teachers, especially for children with autism and other disabilities.
"This is heart-wrenching," posted @alwaysyouyou. "And why were all the other teachers just standing there watching? I'm deeply worried about how teachers get their qualifications nowadays."
Parents of a 7-year-old autistic boy are seeking help after Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai sent them a letter saying that their son was not welcome to continue there:
The letter said the school 'had pooled all resources, including pediatricians, counsellors and special educators to enable the child meet the challenges of regular school life.'
However, over the last two years, the child's condition had worsened on account of his frustration and inability to express his needs to his teachers, the letter said. This resulted in the child ‘disturbing the remaining 44 students on account of his constant wandering about the classroom, shrill shrieks, escaping from the classroom and constantly demanding the teacher's attention.’
Five days after they got the letter, their son was not allowed to enter his classroom.
A heartbreaking story from Shenzhen, China, where nineteen parents signed a letter demanding that an autistic boy be removed from their children's class, and the school did as they asked:
Why do people hate the boy so much?
Since he suffers from autism, he has less self-control than his peers and can’t strictly obey class rules. So the parents are worried that he’ll affect their children’s studies. The boy once studied in a special children’s school, but he had relatively higher capabilities could even play piano well. He never attacked others so his mother transferred him to a normal school in the hopes he’d be better accepted in society.
But the other parents couldn’t stand it. After one term, they said they “wouldn’t be friendly” if the school didn’t persuade him to quit. He wanted to enter the school, but it forbade him. So he slipped in and sat in the last row, but the school took his desk away. Finally, he stood at the back of the classroom. Leaning against the wall, he stood like a mushroom.
This rejection of autistic people is common in China. This is why I posted yesterday about how autistic children in the same city were making moon cakes. Even that little gesture of acceptance is a big deal.
An eleven-year-old autistic boy was handcuffed after biting staff and other students on a Maryland school bus:
According to Howard County police, the boy's bus driver and aide called 911 on Wednesday afternoon. When officers responded to the bus at Whiskey Bottom Road and All Saints Road near Laurel, the driver and aide reported that they and two students had been bitten by the 11-year-old after the boy became aggressive and escaped his seat harness, police said.
"An officer tried to restrain the boy and ultimately placed him in handcuffs for his own safety and the safety of the others on the bus," Sherry Llewellyn, a police spokeswoman, said in an email. "The use of handcuffs is determined by the potential danger of the person to himself or someone else."
The driver, aide and two other students sustained minor injuries; no one was taken to a hospital and no arrest was made, police said.
The boy's mother, Judy Santelices of Columbia, said the bus driver, aide and police officers "should have treated my son differently. They should know how to handle autistic kids."