The parents of a 9-year-old autistic boy say that their son was raped at school.
The father, who is being referred to as Javier for privacy’s sake, says his son was raped at H.D. Hilley Elementary in the Socorro Independent School District.
"I think he was raped right here at the school," Javier said.
The boy’s mother noticed her son was acting strange after school on Feb. 5 and complaining of pain in his rectum.
"He said a man in the restroom on the wall and was touching his behind," Javier told KVIA.
The description of the subject is vague because the boy has limited communication skills. A general description in the police and district report says the possible suspect is a “fat man without a mustache.”
When the principal of H.D. Hilley was told by the boy’s mother about the possible assault she assured her she would “take care of it.”
A report was not filed by the end of the day by the principal because “she had a very busy day and had not had time.”
Documents from an El Paso hospital examination deduce the boy was sexually assaulted.
Administrators at H.D. Hilley, SISD, and in law enforcement were made aware of the incident.
"There has not been any employee identified," SISD Assistant Superintendent Pat O'Neill said. "That's what we're trying to determine. Was it an SISD employee involved, who was involved and what actually happened? That's what the investigation's going on right now."
The Socorro school system has since posted district officers at H.D. Hilley, reports El Paso Times.
"I assure our parents, students, employees, and community members that we are doing everything possible to investigate the matter and will not rest until the issue is resolved," Socorro Independent School District Superintendent Jose Espinoza said in an online letter to parents on the district website.
The investigation is ongoing with the City of Socorro Police Department and Child Protective Services.
A third-party investigator is also being hired "to make sure that no stone is left unturned and that we learn the truth."
Javier thinks some people do not believe his son because of his limited verbal skills.
"I don't want anything," Javier said. "All I want is for them to do justice for my son."
Javier and his wife have asked for any other parents to come forward if their child has had a similar experience.
The boy is no longer enrolled at the school and is attending another school in the area.
When one garbage truck driver decided to offer a young boy a gift, he had no idea his simple act of kindness would get the attention it got.
Manuel Sanchez noticed Daniel Mulligan, from Ojai, Calif., would get excited every time his garbage truck would come around the block for trash pick up on Mondays.
Sanchez decided to present the boy with a toy truck of his own. The exchange was captured on video and has gone viral, garnering more than 750,000 views.
The video was sent to Autism Speaks by Daniel’s mom, Robin Newberger. The organization shared the video on both Facebook and YouTube.
“He wants to give you something – a present,” Newberger tells Daniel in the video.
Sanchez gets out of his truck, walks over to Daniel and gives him a large plastic truck.
“You’re not going to believe it, but he had one like this and it broke,” Newberger says.
Daniel was only able to give out a quiet “thank you,” to Sanchez as he received his new toy.
The gift made quite the impression on Newberger, who shared and commented on the video.
“One man, one moment, touching the life of an autistic child … our hearts are overflowing,” she wrote in a Facebook message to Autism Speaks. She recalled Daniel used to be afraid of trash pick up, but now waits all week for pickup day.
“He knows which cans are being picked up each week, and Sundays are special for him when he takes the cans out with his dad,” she said. “Our recycle man, known only to us as Manuel, is his favorite. He always has a big smile for Daniel who is faithfully waiting for him every Monday. To him, trash pickup is like a symphony. He synchronizes his hang movements with the truck.”
Sanchez works for the company E.J Harrison and Sons, who released a statement saying that Sanchez bought the gift with his own money.
“Harrison Industries is so proud of our Ojai residential route driver Manual Sanchez,” the statement read. “Little did Manuel know that his simple act of kindness would touch tens of thousands of people across the nation – and the world.”
Sanchez has said that he’s embarrassed by all the attention he’s received and only wishes he would have wrapped the gift before giving it to Daniel.
“That little boy is so special, and he will steal anybody’s heart as soon as you see him,” Sanchez said in the statement. “I didn’t know what he has, but there’s something very special about him.”
The death of Avonte Oquendo, the New York teenager that went missing after wandering away from school last fall, has prompted a lawmaker to introduce a bill that would fund GPS tracking devices for all children with autism.
The numerous “Missing Person” flyers scattered throughout New York City in the days following Oquendo’s disappearance explained that the teenager had autism and could not speak. He was recently found dead in the East River.
The new law, introduced by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, is being referred to as “Avonte’s Law” in honor of the teenager. The law would allocate $10 million in funding for the tracking devices.
“Avonte’s Law will allow his memory to live on while helping to prevent more children with autism from going missing,” Schumer said, according to Yahoo News, “The technology will allow parents of all children with autism – no matter how much or how little money they have — to enjoy the benefits of a high-tech solution to an age-old problem.”
The decision to implement GPS tracking devices has proved controversial, as many fault Avonte’s school teachers and those that were responsible for watching over him for his disappearance. Avonte’s family also plans to file a wrongful death suit against the child’s school.
Schumer’s plan, however, is modeled after an existing law that funds tracking devices for patients with Alzheimer’s.
“We’ve seen it done - it works. All that stands in the way is funding,” Schumer said, referencing the existing Alzheimer’s program to emphasize his point.
Because autism occurs in different forms across a spectrum that varies from individual to individual, it could be difficult to determine which children are eligible for GPS tracking devices and which children do not need them. According to NBC News, however, research shows that “49% of children with autism wander off or run away.”
Avonte’s Law could prevent more children from being unnecessarily injured or killed, but it will also allocate funding to a complex issue which needs further, more careful consideration.
For all businessman Eric Kunkel knew, his recent flight from Philadelphia to Maine was going to be a trip like any other.
But as he sat down, he found himself sitting next to a talkative, bright-eyed young girl. This little girl seemed to take an interest in him. She rubbed the soft fabric of his suit and said “Hi Daddy, that’s my mom,” while pointing to her mother sitting on the other side of her.
Rather than ignore the girl or only engage her momentarily, Kunkel decided he’d talk with her and entertain her for a while. Two hours passed while Kunkel and the three year old girl enjoyed each other’s company.
After landing, the girl’s mother, Shanell Mouland, couldn’t help but feel grateful for the kindness shown to her daughter Kate by this stranger. Kate is autistic, and flying is normally a very stressful experience for her. But thanks to Kunkel, the flight was easier than any other before. When Mouland got home, she decided to write a thank you note to the man and post it on her blog called Go Team Kate. The touching story found in the note has now been read over 51,000 times.
"Whenever you go on a plane and you have a child with autism, it’s kind of unnerving,” said Mouland. She recalls being nervous when Kunkel -- suit, business documents and all -- sat down next to her and Kate. “I thought, ‘This is not the kind of person who is going to want to interact with a 3-year-old with autism,'” she added.
She couldn’t have been more wrong. Here is an excerpt from her now widely spread thank you letter.
"You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat. You could have ignored her. You could have given me that ‘smile’ I despise because it means, ‘manage your child please,’” Mouland wrote. “You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles. She could never really answer your questions, but she was so enamored with you that she kept eye contact and joint attention on the items you were asking her about. I watched and smiled. I made a few polite efforts to distract her, but you would have none of it.”
Mouland reports that she and Kunkel’s family’s are now good friends. After all, you can never have enough open-minded people around you -- especially when raising kids with disabilities.
“People like Eric, that’s who I want my kids to interact with,” Mouland said. “I want people to raise their kids with that kind of understanding.”
I don't know your name but Kate called you 'daddy' for the entire flight last week and you kindly never corrected her. In fact, you didn't even flinch as you could probably tell that she was not confusing you with her own 'daddy' but instead making a judgment regarding your level of 'safety' for her. If she calls you 'daddy' then you better believe she thinks you are alright.
I sat Kate in the middle seat knowing full well that there would be a stranger sitting next to her for the duration of this flight. I had to make a quick decision and based on her obsession with opening and closing the window shade I figured she might be less of a distraction if she sat in the middle. I watched the entire Temple basketball team board the plane and wondered if one of these giants might sit by Kate. They all moved toward the back. She would have liked that, she would have made some observations that I would have had to deal with but she would have liked those players. I watched many Grandmotherly women board and hoped for one to take the seat but they walked on by. For... [Read the whole thing at Go Kate Go]
Two parents curious as to why their autistic child’s in-home therapy sessions weren’t helping decided to set up a webcam in their basement to record the sessions. The footage they found is shocking.
27 year old therapist Steven Jacobs is seen on camera hitting, shoving, and grabbing 3 year old Caeden Lowe as Lowe cries in terror. Lowe’s mother watched the abuse happen, in real-time, from her home as the alleged therapy session took place in her basement.
The Lowe family set up a discreet webcam in the corner of their basement to record the sessions. Jacobs, clueless that he was being recorded, abused Lowe as one can only assume he’d done several times before.
“It’s about my son,” distraught mother Stephanie Lowe told WPEC-TV. “He deserves the therapy he was promised. And he deserves more than they gave him. And this could be happening anywhere. If I hadn’t put a video camera downstairs, we would have never known.”
Lowe says several other parents whose children were supervised by Jacobs have contacted her for information and support. Jacobs is now facing felony abuse charges for his actions. The abusive therapist brazenly told police that he doesn’t remember hitting the child because he studying for a test.
Autism Intervention Milwaukee says the incident has led them to investigate a number of other autistic children’s therapists in the area.
Here is the footage of Jacobs abusing Lowe. Be warned, it’s a bit tough to watch:
An autistic boy’s Christmas present was destroyed after arsonists burned down a shed his parents had converted into a sensory room.
Fiona, 34, and Wesley Ratcliff of Greater Manchester, England, were saving money for months and spent hours installing a summer house furnished with lights, music and a padded floor for their 7-year-old son Harvey, Manchester Evening News reported.
But when they went to show Harvey the gift on Christmas Day, they discovered that the equipment was stolen and arsonists had set the shed on fire.
Police described the attack as “cowardly and disgusting.”
"Harvey is autistic and suffers from Phelan-McDermid syndrome,” Fiona, 34, told Manchester Evening News. “He has a processing disorder and he doesn't recognise danger. Sometimes he forgets skills he's learned and there are mornings when he wakes up and cannot remember how to walk."
Fiona, a mother of two and who works part-time, added, “He's really hard to get presents for and everyone wanted to chip in. "It was going to be his own space, somewhere safe where he could do his own thing.
"We bought the shed for about £500 and he loves lights and music so we got lasers, disco lights, rope lights and a digital radio. We also laid a padded floor so he wouldn't hurt himself and painted it blue because he's a massive City fan."
The disaster occurred just before Harvey was supposed to see his gift, and his dad Wesley, 32, a support worker, went out to set it up.
"Everyone was devastated,” Wesley told LBC Radio 97.3. “We had family come down from Scotland. They had put in the money towards helping us build it. They had all come down to see his face.
"We are all in shock. The consequence with what could have happened. It being so close to the house - I think we are lucky."
The fire also spread to the family’s guinea pig hutch, but the two guinea pigs escaped unharmed.
"This truly is heartbreaking,” Detective Inspector Jane Curran said. “The family, like every other family across Greater Manchester, were really looking forward to showing their son his Christmas present. Whoever did this really has no morals whatsoever. It is a disgusting and cowardly crime. Thankfully, we think the weather overnight extinguished the fire otherwise we may have been dealing with a much more serious incident today.”
A new study claims that when pediatricians assume that parents will consent for their kids to be vaccinated, the parents are more likely to agree to the vaccinations.
According to the Los Angeles Times, even parents who resisted vaccinations for their children usually gave in, if the pediatrician or nurse practitioner was persistent.
Amazingly, in 2013, doctors actually have to explain the scientific benefits of vaccinations to parents and push their case to get a baby or toddler vaccinated.
The problem comes when doctors frame vaccinations for children as a choice, then some parents were likely to refuse, according to the study, which was published in the medical journal Pediatrics.
Dr. Douglas Opel, of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, led the study researchers who video recorded 16 doctors and nurse practitioners in 111 conversations with patients about vaccines for children, ages 1 to 19 months.
There have been false rumors spread that vaccines can cause autism and other problems, which have been repeatedly debunked, reported The New York Times in 2011.
There may be certain children and adults who have an allergy to a particular vaccine, but those are rare cases.
Still, public figures such as Donald Trump have said that vaccinations can lead to autism, a rumor that is based on a study of twelve children published in 1998, but has since been retracted by 10 of the 13 authors in The Lancet.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) claimed in 2012 that vaccinations could result in mental retardation, which was also debunked, according to Time magazine.
Two major science review committees in California have approved a study that administers MDMA to autistic adults to examine its effects on social anxiety.
The Research Advisory Panel of California and the Institutional Review Board at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute approved the research study.
The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) plans to study 12 autistic adults under MDMA therapy.
MDMA is a common party drug called “ecstasy” or “molly,” which are cut with other substances.
It is known to reduce the fear of emotional harm and promote feelings of social acceptance. It creates a sense of intimacy with other people, which has made it the subject of other clinical trials to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
A rape survivor told CNN that MDMA helped her learn to control her thoughts and actions by looking at things differently.
Despite having some psychedelic effects, researchers believe in a controlled setting it can help people with social disconnection.
The amphetamine is a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin, marijuana, and LSD.
MAPS received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in early April, but it still requires the approval of the Drug Enforcement Agency before it can begin the study.
Researchers also have to raise more than $250,000 to carry out the study because major foundations and organizations do not want to fund a program to give MDMA or other psychedelics to humans, SBWire reported earlier this year.
A middle school student was suspended not for bringing a bomb to school, or even mentioning anything close to a real bomb, but for drawing a cartoonish picture of a bomb on a piece of notebook paper. The suspended individual, Rhett Parham, is an autistic special needs student at South Carolina’s Hillcrest Middle School.
Parham’s mother Amy was upset by her son’s suspension, explaining that the drawing was not intended to be violent at all. Instead, it was inspired by the video game Bomber Man, which her son enjoys. Rhett had completed the drawing at home over the weekend and was taking it to school to show his friends. After showing several other students at the school, the drawing was eventually brought to the attention of school administrators, who believed it was enough justification for a suspension, and Rhett was forced to go home.
According to Amy Parham, however, administrators even acknowledged that they knew her son meant no ill harm from the drawing.
“They actually reiterated to me they knew he was non-violent. They knew he was not actually having a bomb, creating or making a bomb. But that they could not go with out making an example of him and take some type of action because they were worried about their perception. Perception is actually the word he used. Perception is reality, and parents might think you have a bomb or [might be] violent,” Parham said to WHNS-TV.
Rhett drew the type of bomb that is commonly seen in children’s cartoons, video games and other forms of media, not the kind that is actually built in order to cause destruction. Bomber Man, the harmless game that inspired this drawing, is full of similar images. Kids draw things like this and share the drawings with each other all the time, but the middle school was apparently concerned with the ways in which other parents might perceive a school’s lack of response to a children bringing a drawing to school that even somewhat hints at being violent.
Christian Ranieri, a 14-year-old boy who has a neurodevelopmental disorder, says he was shut down by the Northport-East Northport Board of Education on Monday following a speech he made during a meeting. He felt it was unfair how he was treated in the classroom because of his disability.
Ranieri’s parents said the night was supposed to be a therapeutic exercise of expression, but their autistic son expressed nothing but disappointment. His therapist allowed him to attend the school board meeting Monday night, feeling that it was Ranieri to share his feeling through writing.
Ranieri can be seen nearly crying as he left the room in a YouTube video of the incident. The video has gained more than 6,000 views as of today.
“It was apparent he was not being heard,” Carina Ranieri, his mother and a former SEPTA president told Examiner.com in a phone interview.
Ranieri, who is offered any accommodation through an Individualized Education Plan, was suspended for two days after yelling at a teacher out of anger on Sept. 27.
When Ranieri decided to write the speech to read to the school board, Carina said her son was trying to “self-advocate” and wanted the elected members to consider “the fact that he’s being suspended and they [the district administrators] are not taking responsibility.” Ranieri read the speech when it was time for public comments portion of the regular school board meeting.
Stephen Waldenburg, Jr., school board president, stopped Ranieri one minute into the speech, citing privacy laws in his reasoning.
“You have to understand that we are legally limited in what we can discuss in a public session,” he said. “You are not giving the superintendent an opportunity to discuss a private, personal matter.”
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.