Thursday, October 04, 2007

Autistic Boy One of 11 Molested, Raped In Ontario Group Home

From Barrie, Ontario, the Toronto Sun reports the conviction of Joseph Cross, 37, for molesting and raping 11 children in in group homes run by the Barrie and District Association for People with Special Needs. One of the victims was an autistic boy whose mother was heart broken when she had to leave the boy in a group home and who was crushed when she found out later that he was sexually molested at the home. Sentencing is scheduled for December 10.

This story and others should be a wake up call for the people in the Neurodiversity movement who argue on the internet, publish books and establish "acceptance projects" proclaiming that autism is not a disability, that we should find joy in autism. These people pontificate on such important issues as whether the puzzle piece image is offensive as a symbol for autism and whether it is more appropriate to refer to someone with an autism disorder as an autistic person or as a person with autism. Some Neurodiversity ideologues talk about the superiority of autistic intelligence and attack anyone who advocates a theory of autism, or autism cause or treatment inconsistent with their ideology. And almost all like to downplay some of the harsher realities of life confronting the many severely autistic persons who lack the ability to engage in internet debates. Truth talking parents like those in the Autism Every Day video are vilified by these ideologues.

But each day the news brings us back to reality - an autistic child is sexually molested in a group home in Barrie, Ontario, an autistic boy is killed by a motor vehicle after he snuck out of his home clad in pyjamas to run in traffic in New Zealand, a middle aged autistic woman with no communication ability is repeatedly assaulted by attendants in a Long Island residential care facility, an autistic boy is left locked on a hot school bus for hours in Kansas.

These are ugly realities but they are realities that parents and other caregivers of severely autistic children and adults can not, should not, must not ignore.


Anonymous said...

Do you have to practice fabricating straw-mans, Harold?

BTW, I think the way to deal with this is that autistic children should never be placed in group homes. That's what I have advocated in my blog. For someone who supposedly advocates for good outcomes in autism, you seem to be unaware of the single most significant predictor of dismal outcome: institutionalization.

Unknown said...

"BTW, I think the way to deal with this is that autistic children should never be placed in group homes. That's what I have advocated in my blog."


Where do you propose that severely autistic children live when their parents, or parent, can no longer care for them?

Anonymous said...

Where do you propose that severely autistic children live when their parents, or parent, can no longer care for them?

That's different. I was referring to children. I don't see a justification for putting children in group homes. If you really think a child is too much of a burden, finding foster parents should not be impossible. Many of Kanner's "success stories", in fact, lived with foster parents. They were never institutionalized.

If an adult really can't live independently or semi-independently or with his parents, then yes, of course, there need to be other living options.

Unknown said...

You are very judgmental Joseph.

The fact is that some severely autistic children become too much for their families well before adulthood. It is not a reflection on their parenting.

It happens because some autistic children are violent towards themselves and family members, because of their autistic condition. This is part of the reality of autism that does nto get talked about on the Neurodiversity Hub.

You suggest that it would be easy to find foster care homes for severely autistic children of 11 to 18? That is an incredibly naive position.

Anonymous said...

Harold: If you really believe institutionalization is something parents have to do in most cases as opposed to something they often choose to do, explain to me how it is that total institutionalization rates have been dropping. Less toxins in the environment?

Did you know that the life expectancy in Down's has doubled since the 80s? It's not because a cure for Down's has been found.

Doesn't that seem like a more significant course of action than, say, trying to find a drug that stops hand flapping?

Did you know that in 1930 California about 60 in 10,000 persons lived in intitutions? (Only 10 in 10,000 according to CDDS today.)

If you have data on your position that kids are largely institutionalized because they are an imminent danger to self and others, show me.

Unknown said...


Your arguments are trivializing a serious subject. I have no knowledge of a study which categorizes the reasons for admission of autistic children into institutional care. I suspect that is because it is a self evident reality and that there are real challenges to be met in making life as good as possible for all involved.

I have advocated for autistic persons, including children/youths who are institutionalized because theieparents can no longer care for them because of violence issues or self danger issues. That is real evidence Joseph. So are the stories readily available on the internet some of which have been posted on this blog site.

The evidence is there Joseph IF you cease pretending it does not exist. Of course to do that you would have to abandon the Neurodiversity ideology.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt there are people who are actually a danger to self and others. And I'm sure there are cases where someone is labeled as a danger to self and others when they may not be, and that's a different issue.

But that's not what we're discussing. I believe there must be many cases of unwarranted institutionalization; otherwise institutionalization rates would not be dropping. Are kids with Down's generally violent? Explain to me why they have been traditionally institutionalized but no longer.

Also, yes, data is important. If you're going to start using anecdotes, you might as well tell me about the wonders of foot detox.

Unknown said...

We were discussing autism not Downs. And we were discussing aggression to self and others which is both a recognized aspect of lower functioning autism in the literature and reported numerous times.

Anecdotal evidence is real evidence when you are discussing actions of human beings Joseph. People go to jail based on anecdotal evidence. You are confusing the standards of evidence applicable to determining specific scientific conclusions with observable human behavior. On the latter anecdotal evidence is as valid as any other evidence.

If you know of any studies which have compiled anecdotal evidence as you call it of the reasons for admission please reference them. Otherwise, as I suggested earlier, do a simple google search and read the actual stories of real life parents, caring parents, not Neurodiversity ideologues.

My son has and still does bite himself. Do you dispute that anecdotal evidence? Do you dispute my anecdotal evidence that he has bitten, scratched, and hit me and his mother? Do you dispute the realities of the human life span that say that as I get holder I will get weaker even as my son gets stronger? When the point is reached that I can't care for him who will do so Joseph? You? The Neurodiversity movement?

Give reality a try sometime Joseph.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a severly autistic 11 year old son. I have to admit that sometimes I would like for my son to be in a home, simply because I would love to have my life back. But I would be always wondering just how he may be treated, since he can't talk he cannot tell anyone if anything has happened to him. He is a prime target for a pediphile. Before you judge any parents for putting them in homes, think about this. How many years would you be willing to wipe up feces off the doorknobs, walls , carpets, and even out of your hair day after day? How many times would you want to take your child to town , just to have someone be in shock because they pulled down their pants? How many times have you searched the highway for the socks and shoes your child threw out when you were not looking? How many years do you expect to watch your child like a hawk just so they won't swallow something that may choke or kill them? Do you have to lock up your child in their bedrooms so they will not escape at night? All of this may seem bad, but near as bad as the complete and utter sense of isolation I feel from my church members, and friends (what few I have) and even just strangers. It seems like when I have him with me, most people do not come near us except for a few seconds, then they are gone. They smile politely and leave, some stare. It seems to me we should have more respite care programs that have reputable people with background checks, and places that are willing to take them in for a week, or a few days to just give the parents a break. Are you willing to take one of these kids for a day? A week? If not do not judge parents who place them in a group home. They are exhausted, confused about what in the world all this is about, and heart broken. Raising an autistic child sometims can make taking care of a normal two year old seem like a piece of cake