Autistic and Special Education children in Florida have been subjected to abuse, neglect, humiliation, and personal injury in the public school system. Due to the extent of the problems, over 100 parents of autistic children in Florida have reported their concerns to the Florida Attorney General’s office and others. A Florida Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches Website posted an interesting article about this rampant problem – Mistreatment of autistic students is an ‘epidemic,’ some Treasure Coast parents say. One major problems is finding teachers trained and adept in dealing with the needs of autistic students. Training, education, and patience are so vital for teachers in this field.
Unfortunately, many autistic and special needs students are neglected academically and physically in many instances.
Courses at the Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disorders summer institute educated autism teachers and made recommendations that included the following:
• Post visual schedules in the classroom so students can see what’s coming next.
• Establish a set routine — even a fire drill or a break in predictability can set off an autistic child.
• Adjust the environmental stimuli as needed — flickering fluorescent lighting can be a dis´traction.
• Anticipate problems — too much down time can cause an autistic child to find ways to self-stimulate. Give him something to do.
• Provide a “safe space” where a child about to have a meltdown can go to self-soothe and calm down.
When there is a problem, parental involvement is key. In some instances, it may be necessary to retain a Special Education attorney and / or a Florida Child Injury Attorney / Lawyer for representation.