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Autistic Boy Dies After Being Given Lethal Drug Dose

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Disability Scoop reports today on the awful story of an autistic child killed at a group home:

Maltez, who had autism, died in 2007 at age 12 after being restrained
by staff members employed by the group home where he lived in Miami. An
autopsy determined that he was experiencing serotonin syndrome,
a condition where the body produces too much serotonin, the chemical
that regulates a person’s mood. The syndrome can be caused by a
combination of psychiatric medications.


“This is a clear case of a 12-year-old child who
perished because he was given a lethal combination of off-label,
dangerous, anti-psychotic drugs to control his behavior without
appropriate consent, administration and supervision,” said Howard
Talenfeld, Quesada’s [the boy’s mother] attorney. “Tragically, this
case is one of many cases where foster children and developmentally
disabled children are given powerful drugs to control their behavior
instead of utilizing appropriate behavioral interventions.”

With echoes of the inappropriate ‘care’ dolled out to Jesse Moores,
this seems to me another example of a young person with special needs
treated with scant thought or care. Its sickening that there seem to be
so many of these stories on both sides of the Atlantic recently. I
sincerely believe that there needs to be an international
coalition of voices – made up primarily of autistic people and their
immediate families – to offer oversight on how autistic people are
treated. This cannot be allowed to continue. Closing down homes,
jailing perpetrators etc after the fact is all well and good. We need something proactive not reactive.


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