Are Autistic Children At Greater Risk for Child Abuse, Neglect, and Negligence Leading to Personal Injuries?


The Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, Florida) newspaper recently published an article titled Are Autistic Children at Greater Risk for Child Abuse? Autistic children frequently have problems communicating. This, in turn, makes it difficult at times to identify abuse that is inflicted by teachers, caregivers, other children, relatives, and, yes, at times parents. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania showed that approximately 1 in 5 autistic children were abused from the sample population studied of 156 autistic children.

Recently, a Jacksonville, Florida teacher (Rhona Milton) was arrested for trying to toilet train an autistic student in the classroom. Ms. Milton’s methods included tying the student to a chair for several hours at at time at Kernan Trail Elementary School which is in the Duval County School District.

As a Florida child injury attorney, I know that it is often challenging to prove that an autistic child or a special needs child has, in fact, been abused. Without a child to tell the story, there are challenges to proving up the facts on cases of this nature. Nonetheless, investigations by an attorney, private investigator, and / or the Department of Children and Families and other agencies can often times yield valuable information and proof to bring a case forward for personal injuries and related damages to the autistic / special needs child.