If you think autism is all about high functioning savants and allegedly "low functioning" autistic adults who dispense internet advice and hobnob with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper and UK Guardian reporters think again. The Fayetteville Observer reports an all too common story of a non verbal, autistic boy who was suspended from school for an outburst of aggressive behavior. In effect, the boy was punished for being autistic. The school response was not unique to Fayetteville by any means and we have seen it happen here in New Brunswick on occasion although generally matters here are improving.
The school authorities should probably do a functional analysis of the incident, including a thorough analysis of the child's environment, program of instruction and learning methodology. Being in North Carolina the school will probably be involved with a TEACCH approach. It might be wise though to consider ABA, still the only evidence based proven effective educational approach for autistic children, particularly non verbal autistic children. TEACCH or ABA, the child should not simply be punished for behavior which arises directly from his Autism Disorder. The next step for some autistic children, unfortunately, is punishment in the criminal courts, punishment for being autistic.
As a lawyer, here in New Brunswick, I have seen it happen.