Here’s The Thing About The 10-Year-Old Autistic Boy Who Was Arrested [OPINION]
I also have a 10-year-old on the spectrum, and I think I might have a different take on this.
The above video is from an elementary school in Okeechobee, Florida. This young boy was being arrested for third degree battery on a school board employee - he punched, kicked and hit his educational assistant.
He's on the autism spectrum - they said that he was being disruptive in class, throwing things at other kids, hitting, etc. When they sent him to time-out, he became violent.
I, too, have a 10-year-old son on the autism spectrum. ASD is something different to every individual - some kids are non-verbal, others hate loud noises, some are high-functioning, savants, etc.
On that note, I'm done with attaching the word "autism" as a reason for forgiveness. I want my son to be able to operate in the real world, and the "autism" excuse isn't going to fly in every instance. If you start breeding this behavior now, at the young age of 10, it has consequences.
His mom yells out, "He has autism, he doesn't know what's going on. He's scared to death," as he's being led away by the police. Any child who is put in handcuffs and stuffed into the back of a police car would be crying, autistic or not.
As soon as he's cuffed, he yells, "This is so f***ing dumb, mama." Notice how she reinforces it? She responds with, "I know." From a third-party perspective, just watching the video, it sounds like this kid may need a bit more discipline than he's getting already.
It sounds like she already has a beef with the school, his educational aid, etc. She also mentions getting a lawyer.
Maybe the reason I'm so numb to this is because my mom called the cops on ME when I was a kid. A lot. She watched me get cuffed and taken to juvenile hall numerous times and NOT ONCE made excuses for my behavior. Granted, I wasn't diagnosed as being on the spectrum.
However, I've seen kids who are violent and on the spectrum. Kids who are nonverbal, who hit themselves before hitting others. This kid isn't one of them, in my opinion. And just because mom filmed this incident and uploaded it to Facebook, doesn't mean this kid should get a pass for bad behavior.
I'm already worried that our son receives special treatment because of his autism. Last summer, he was in a playground program and was continuously running out the room. His supervisors called me, I showed up...and disciplined HIM, not the supervisors.
Granted, the supervisors could use a bit more training in how to handle anyone with ASD. But I wasn't about to excuse his behavior because of a diagnosis.
The fact of the matter is, he needs to know how to navigate this world without me making excuses for him. Some situations deserve special treatment, others don't. Was this kid a bit young to be cuffed? Maybe. But his mom won't always be there to make excuses for him.
As a parent of a child on the spectrum, learning your role is hard. There's a time to step in, and a time to step back.
*off my ASD dad soapbox*