Reports Help to Raise Awareness of Special Needs Abuse

Reports Help to Raise Awareness of Special Needs Abuse

Posted By The Maher Law Firm || 6-Apr-2015

Our special needs child abuse and neglect lawyers focuses on helping to raise awareness of special needs abuse.

Media reports play an important role in bringing attention to the problem of special needs abuse. Two recent reports on abuse that is alleged to have occurred in assisted living and school settings illustrate this role.

One report concerns a mother's claim that her 24-year-old autistic son was beaten with a three-hole punch by a care worker at a Central Florida Group Homes facility.

According to Channel 9 News, the woman alleges that her son was attacked after a dispute over cereal at the Clermont assisted living facility. The care worker maintains that the man attacked her, and she responded in self-defense.

Channel 9 has previously reported on other alleged cases of abuse at other Central Florida Group Homes locations, including cases involving sexual abuse and a death.

The other report on the Autism Daily Newscast involves a disturbing video that appears to show a 14-year-old autistic girl in Alachua County being assaulted by a school aide.

The video, which is posted on the website, shows the girl sitting on a school bus while a 76-year-old aide slams her head against a window.

According to the report, the aide claims that the girl kicked him in the face before the incident. However, the report adds, the girl did not have a history of aggression.

Getting a Clearer Picture of the Problem of Special Needs Abuse

These reported incidents underscore a larger problem that researchers are only just beginning to understand in more detail.

Although there have been studies on special needs abuse dating back to the 1990s, many agencies that focus on disabilities agree that those studies focused on too small of a population.

Newer research is helping to paint a somewhat better picture of the scope of the problem. A report from the federal Child Welfare Information Gateway notes that children with emotional and behavioral disorders like autism are at an increased risk for abuse.

In addition, children with communication impairments, sensory differences and learning disabilities are also more likely to be victimized than those with more severe disabilities. This means that many children with "invisible disabilities" may be the most vulnerable of all.

The report also describes the challenges that families of special needs children face when it comes to ensuring their child's wellbeing. One complication is the social stigma surrounding people with disabilities. Some experts hypothesize that the stigma is so powerful that it could actually be the trigger for abuse - not the disability itself.

Additionally, a lack of appropriate services to care for the most severely affected individuals can lead families to keep quiet about suspected cases of abuse.

Although group homes exist, many states lack enough facilities to accommodate the special needs population that needs extra care. For parents who are unable to provide the care their child needs, they may feel compelled to not report possible abuse out of fear that their child will have nowhere else to go.

But cases of special needs abuse must be brought to light. Stressed families do not have to carry the burden alone.

If you believe that your child was the victim of special needs abuse, the attorneys at The Maher Law Firm have the experience to help you fight for the ones you love. Contact us today to learn more.

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