November 2 , 2014
Vol. 18 No. 4
Follow SAR Editor
Daily Updates Here
More Evidence Links Autism to Air Pollution
Dozens of Genes Associated With Autism In New Research
Research Team Identifies 33 Genes That Contribute To Autism
C-Sections May Raise Autism Risk – Study
Autism Symptoms Occur Independently In General Population
Economic Study Confirms Growth In Autism
Broccoli Extract May Improve Autism Symptoms
BPA Exposure By Infants May Increase Later Risk Of Food Intolerance
For Many With Disabilities, Special Education Leads To Jail
Disabled Job-Seekers Hunt Meaningful Work For Meaningful Pay in Ottawa
Court For Parents Rights To Seek Relief For
Weighted Blankets and Sleep in Autistic Children—A Randomized
Lawyer Never Suspected Abuse From Home Of 19-Year-Old Autistic Man
Found In Cage
Family of Autistic Student Who Choked To Death In Brooklyn School Plans
To Sue City
NC Teacher Accused Of Using Hot Sauce To Discipline Autistic Student
Parents Say Children with Autism Abused at California School
Welcome to the CAR Autism Roadmap for Philadelphia Area
Evidence Links Autism to Air Pollution
By Veronica Hackethal, MD,
Medical News Psychiatry
New research adds to
the growing body of evidence linking traffic-related air pollution to
the development of autism.
The study, conducted
by investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is the first
to examine associations between autism and air pollution in North
Its results support
those from past studies in California, even though the two states have
different climates and weather patterns. The study also linked exposure
to air pollution during the third trimester of pregnancy, in
particular, to autism in the offspring.
"The evidence is
suggesting that some component of vehicle emissions may be associated
with autism spectrum disorders," first author Amy Kalkbrenner, PhD,
MPH, told Medscape Medical News.
The study has not
definitively proven that some component of air pollutants is actually
responsible for the development of autism, Dr Kalkbrenner pointed out,
but the results add to the evidence pointing in that direction.
"There is now a
wealth of studies showing that systemic inflammation in the body may be
responsible for the early brain damage that results in autism," said Dr
Kalkbrenner. "We also know that exposure to air pollution can cause
this body-wide inflammatory response. This could very well change the
way the brain is developing."
The study was
published online on October 20 in Epidemiology.
including the 2010 Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the
Environment (CHARGE) study, by researchers at the University of
California, Los Angeles, has shown associations between air traffic
pollution during pregnancy and autism in offspring. Moreover,
laboratory studies have linked inhaled pollutants to inflammation.
According to current
estimates, more than 80,000 man-made chemicals exist in the environment
and can be found in the air, drinking water, food, and house dust, said
"There are no
requirements that these chemicals be tested for neurodevelopmental
toxicity before they're put on the market," said Dr Kalkbrenner.
"There is a great
deal that we don't know. Not to increase fear, but there are sound
reasons to be concerned about some of these chemicals."
• • •
of Genes Associated With Autism In New Research
Functions of newly identified genes converge on a few important
Two major genetic
studies of autism, led in part by UC San Francisco scientists and
involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated
dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations
in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and
compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when,
and how genes are activated overall.
The two new studies,
published in the advance online edition of Nature on October 29, 2014,
tied mutations in more than 100 genes to autism. Sixty of these genes
met a "high-confidence" threshold indicating that there is a greater
than 90 percent chance that mutations in those genes contribute to
The majority of the
mutations identified in the new studies are de novo (Latin for
"afresh") mutations, meaning they are not present in unaffected
parents' genomes but arise spontaneously in a single sperm or egg cell
just prior to conception of a child.
The genes implicated
in the new studies fall into three broad classes: they are involved in
the formation and function of synapses, which are sites of nerve-cell
communication in the brain; they regulate, via a process called
transcription, how the instructions in other genes are relayed to the
protein-making machinery in cells; and they affect how DNA is wound up
and packed into cells in a structure known as chromatin. Because
modifications of chromatin structure are known to lead to changes in
how genes are expressed, mutations that alter chromatin, like those
that affect transcription, would be expected to affect the activity of
One of the new
Nature studies made use of data from the Simons Simplex Collection
(SSC), a permanent repository of DNA samples from nearly 3,000 families
created by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. Each SSC
family has one child affected with autism, parents unaffected by the
disorder and, in a large proportion, unaffected siblings. The second
study was conducted under the auspices of the Autism Sequencing
Consortium (ASC), an initiative supported by the National Institute of
Mental Health that allows scientists from around the world to
collaborate on large genomic studies that couldn't be done by
studies, only 11 autism genes had been identified with high confidence,
and we have now more than quadrupled that number," said Stephan
Sanders, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UCSF, co-first
author on the SSC study, and co-author on the ASC study. Based on
recent trends, Sanders estimates that gene discovery will continue at a
quickening pace, with as many as 1,000 genes ultimately associated with
"There has been a
lot of concern that 1,000 genes means 1,000 different treatments, but I
think the news is much brighter than that," said Matthew W. State, MD,
PhD, chair and Oberndorf Family Distinguished Professor in Psychiatry
at UCSF. State was co-leader of the Nature study focusing on the SSC
and a senior participant in the study organized by the ASC, of which he
is a co-founder. "There is already strong evidence that these mutations
converge on a much smaller number key biological functions. We now need
to focus on these points of convergence to begin to develop novel
+ Read more.
+See article below
for statistical corollary study.
• • •
Team Identifies 33 Genes That Contribute To Autism Risk
Powered By Carnegie Mellon and Pitt statistical tools, study analyzes
largest autism sample to date
The list of genes
identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by deep DNA sequencing
has expanded from nine to 33, according to a new study by an
international research team led by the Autism Sequencing Consortium
(ASC), including Carnegie Mellon University's Kathryn Roeder and the
University of Pittsburgh's Bernie Devlin.
Published today in
Nature, the study examined data on several types of rare, genetic
differences in more than 14,000 DNA samples from parents, affected
children and unrelated individuals. It is the largest sample to date,
and provides evidence that small differences in some of possibly 1,000
risk genes contribute to autism. In addition to increasing the number
of definitive autism genes almost fourfold, the team pinpointed more
than 70 other likely ASD genes.
The genes identified
involve critical brain processes, apparently affecting the formation of
nerve networks and altering the function of synapses, the crucial
structures that allow brain cells to communicate.
"This makes sense
because typical development of brain cells require intricate
coordination among thousands of genes and appropriate communication
between cells to ensure development of the brain — the most complicated
organ in the human body," said Roeder, professor in CMU's Department of
Statistics and the Lane Center for Computational Biology, and a leading
expert on statistical genomics and the genetic basis of complex disease.
The genetic findings
also support the influential "Frontal-Posterior Underconnectivity
Theory of Autism," in which CMU's Marcel Just and Pitt's Nancy Minshew
first proposed and explained that the synchronization of the activation
between frontal and posterior brain areas is lower in autism.
For the current
study, the Roeder/Devlin team, which included faculty and students
spanning statistics, psychiatry and computational biology, developed
the statistical tools that enabled the researchers to assess the
effects of both inherited differences and those that happen
spontaneously in the sperm and eggs that form human embryos. While
small, rare genetic differences in the top 107 genes were found to
confer a relatively large jump in a person's risk for autism, while
many more genetic changes in other genes add smaller amounts of risk.
By looking at how many times variations occurred in each of the 107
genes, the researchers were able to predict that small differences in
about 1,000 genes will eventually be found to increase autism risk.
• • •
May Raise Autism Risk – Study
Study in ‘Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry’ says children
have 23% greater risk of developing autism spectrum disorder
The study is a
meta-analysis of 25 previously published papers on the links between
Caesarean sections and conditions such as autism and ADHD. Photograph:
Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Caesarean section is associated with an increased risk of autism in
childhood, according to a study by Irish researchers.
Children born by
Caesarean section have a 23 per cent greater risk of developing autism
spectrum disorder (ASD), the study to be published shortly in the
of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
The researchers, led
by Eileen Curran of University College Cork, also look at links between
Caesareans and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but
the findings were unclear.
The authors urge
caution in interpreting their results and say more research is urgently
needed to explore the risks involved. The study is a meta-analysis of
25 previously published papers on the links between Caesarean sections
and conditions such as autism and ADHD. Some showed the risk of autism
after a Caesarean increased by as much as 40 per cent.
The study says it is
unclear what is driving this association and whether it is causal.
Children born by Caesarean section have different gut flora than those
born by normal delivery, and some scientists believe this may be a
factor in psychological development.
Last weeks Another
theory derives from the fact Caesarean sections are normally carried
out at 37-39 weeks, as opposed to a full 40-week gestation. “It is
possible the last few weeks are important for brain development, and
therefore being born near rather than at term may lead to an increased
risk of psychological problems,” the study says.
However, the authors
point out the underlying reasons for a Caesarean may lead to the
increased risk of autism, not the Caesarean per se.
accelerating rate of Caesarean section globally, this finding warrants
further research of a more robust quality, using larger populations to
adjust for important potential confounders and explore potential causal
mechanisms,” says Ms Curran.
estimated 0.62 per cent of children are diagnosed with ASD, and 5.3 per
cent with ADHD. The prevalence of autism has increased twentyfold since
the 1980s, a rate that suggests factors other than improved detection
• • •
Symptoms Occur Independently In General Population
By Katie Moisse
People with autism
have a wide range of symptoms, including social impairments and
restricted interests. But these aren’t specific to the disorder. In
fact, adults in the general population cluster into two groups, a new
study reports: those who tend to struggle in social situations and
those who become fixated on details.
published 22 October in the Journal of Autism and Developmental
Disorders, support the idea that we all have some features of autism —
even if we’re not on the spectrum.
Researchers used an
online questionnaire to probe autism traits among 2,343 American
adults. The 50-item questionnaire, known as the Autism-Spectrum
Quotient, or AQ, asks responders to either agree or disagree (strongly
or slightly) with statements such as 'I enjoy social chit-chat' and 'I
notice patterns in things.' The average AQ score was 114 out of a
possible 200. This is well below 142 — the average AQ score among
people with autism, according to a 2008 study. But when the researchers
split the AQ into subscales that tap social skills, imagination,
communication, attention to detail and attention switching, some
interesting subsets emerged.
Nearly half the
group, 1,059 people, reported more social difficulties and less
attention to detail. The remaining 1,284 participants reported fewer
social difficulties and greater detail orientation. In other words, the
researchers found that two core features of autism are widespread in
the general population — they just occur one at a time. An autism
diagnosis only occurs when these features overlap.
The findings suggest
that individuals with similar AQ scores can have different subsets of
autism-like symptoms. And the symptoms may correspond with different
brain abnormalities and cognitive challenges. This calls into question
the current view of autism as a singular spectrum of symptoms.
instead favor the 'fractionable triad hypothesis' of autism. The
hypothesis suggests that the social impairments, communication deficits
and restricted interests seen in the disorder each have independent
triggers that affect people throughout the general population — not
just people with autism.
These triggers may
also be independently inherited, accounting for the vast heterogeneity
seen among individuals with autism as well as the general population.
Whether you see
autism as a spectrum, a fractionable triad, or something else
altogether, this study is a reminder that we all have some autism
traits. And while these traits don’t define us, they do shape who we
• • •
Study Confirms Growth In Autism
Autism cases aren't up just because mental health professionals are
overdiagnosing the disorder. A study by two researchers using market
theory shows the disorder really is more prevalent.
The number of autism
cases has soared over the past three decades, leading some to wonder if
mental health professionals might be overdiagnosing the disorder.
Two economists who
used market theory to study the trend in autism growth, however, have
confirmed that at least part of the increase is real.
Fernandez and Dhaval Dave analyzed the number and wages of auxiliary
health providers based on California Department of Developmental
Services data from 2002 to 2011. Each time autism cases doubled, the
number of autism health providers grew by as much as 14 percent over
that of non-autism health providers, they found.
The wages of autism
health providers also rose higher, increasing up to 11 percent more.
"We focused on
auxiliary providers because, unlike physicians and psychologists who
can diagnose autism, these workers cannot induce their own demand,"
The pair also found
that although autism supplanted mental retardation in one of every
three diagnoses during the period, actual autism cases still grew from
50 percent to 65 percent.
Fernandez is an
economics associate professor at the University of Louisville's College
of Business. Dave is an economics professor at Bentley University and
research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The study is
scheduled for publication in the journal Economic Inquiry.
• • •
Extract May Improve Autism Symptoms
Medical News Psychiatry
compound found in broccoli sprouts, may improve core symptoms of autism
spectrum disorder (ASD), preliminary research suggests.
A small, randomized
pilot study of boys and men with ASD showed that 46% of those who
received a sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract had significant
improvement in social interactions after 18 weeks of treatment, and 42%
had improved verbal communication.
In addition, more
than half of the participants who received the supplement showed a
significant decrease in abnormal behaviors. Other improvements were
found with regard to irritability, hyperactivity, and repetitive
movements ― but only temporarily. Most symptoms returned at the same
level of severity after treatment was stopped.
"Most of the results
were expected, including improved eye contact and communication," lead
author Kanwaljit Singh, MD, MPH, from the Department of Pediatrics
(Neurology) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in
Worcester, told Medscape Medical News.
"But we were
pleasantly surprised to see significantly improved scores on the Social
Responsiveness Scale [SRS], which was one of our primary outcome
measures," he added.
Dr Singh, who at the
time of the study was with the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts
General Hospital for Children, said that more research in larger
populations is definitely needed.
In addition, he
pointed out that broccoli sprouts alone do not contain the same high
level of sulforaphane found in the supplement that was used. Still, he
noted that "it couldn't hurt" to recommend a healthier diet to these
"This isn't a cure
for autism. It's one of the first steps that will allow us to look into
the biochemical underpinnings in determining autism."
The study was
published online October 13 in Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, Early Edition.
• • •
Exposure By Infants May Increase Later Risk Of Food Intolerance
New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that exposure to Bisphenol A
at a dose significantly below the current FDA Tolerable Daily Intake
predisposes offspring to food intolerance at adulthood
If it seems like
more people are allergic to, or intolerant of, more and different kinds
of foods than ever before, there might be a reason why. A new research
published in November 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists show,
for the first time, that there is a link between perinatal exposure to
Bisphenol A (BPA) at low doses and the risk to develop food intolerance
in later life. This research involving rats suggests that early life
exposure at a dose significantly below the current human safety limit
set by the FDA affects developing immune systems, predisposing
offspring to food intolerance in adulthood.
over 80 percent of the population's exposure to BPA," said Sandrine
Menard, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of
Neuro-Gastroenterology and Nutrition at INRA in Toulouse, France. "On
the basis of the susceptibility to food intolerance after perinatal
exposure to BPA, these new scientific data may help decisions by public
health authorities on the need of a significant reduction in the level
of exposure to BPA in pregnant and breastfeeding women, to limit the
risk for their children of adverse food reactions later in life."
• • •
Many With Disabilities, Special Education Leads To Jail
By Jackie Mader and
Sarah Butrymowicz, The
reads a book that was assigned by his teacher. Cody’s educational
placement has changed numerous times since he was hauled off by police
following an incident at school that was determined to be a result of
his disability. (Jackie Mader/The Hechinger Report) GRENADA, Miss. —
Cody Beck was 12 years old when he was handcuffed in front of several
classmates and put in the back of a police car outside of Grenada
Middle School. Cody had lost his temper in an argument with another
student, and hit several teachers when they tried to intervene. He was
taken to the local youth court, and then sent to a mental health
facility two hours away from his home. Twelve days later, the
sixth-grader was released from the facility and charged with three
counts of assault.
Officials at his
school determined the incident was a result of Cody’s disability. As a
child, Cody was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had been given an
individualized education program, or IEP, a legal document that details
the resources, accommodations and classes that a special education
student should receive to help manage his or her disability. But
despite there being a medical reason for his behavior, Cody was not
allowed to return to school. He was called to youth court three times
in the four months after the incident happened, and was out of school
for nearly half that time as he waited to start at a special private
Cody is one of
thousands of children caught up in the juvenile justice system each
year. At least one in three of those arrested has a disability, ranging
from emotional disability like bipolar disorder to learning
disabilities like dyslexia, and some researchers estimate the figure
may be as high as 70 percent. Across the country, students with
emotional disabilities are three times more likely to be arrested
before leaving high school than the general population.
When the special
education system fails youth and they end up in jail, many stay there
for years or decades. The vast majority of adults in American prisons
have a disability, according to a 1997 Bureau of Justice Statistics
survey. Data hasn’t been updated since, but experts attribute the high
percentage of individuals with disabilities in the nation’s bloated
prison population — which has grown 700 percent since 1970 — in part to
deep problems in the education of children with special needs.
In Mississippi and
across the country, the path to prison often starts very early for kids
who struggle to manage behavioral or emotional disabilities in
low-performing schools that lack mental health care, highly qualified
special education teachers and appropriately trained staff. Federal law
requires schools to provide an education for kids with disabilities in
an environment as close to a regular classroom as possible. But often,
students with special needs receive an inferior education, fall behind
and end up with few options for college or career. For youth with
disabilities who end up in jail, education can be minimal, and at
times, non-existent, even though federal law requires that they receive
an education until age 21.
• • •
Job-Seekers Hunt Meaningful Work For Meaningful Pay in Ottawa
By Blair Crawford
makes life hard for Bothtawee Kelly.
It has cost him
friends and it has cost him jobs. But with a little luck — and some
on-the-job coaching from an organization called LiveWorkPlay — Kelly
knows that he can contribute. Neatly dressed in his Royal Canadian
Legion suit (he’s a former cadet), Kelly was among more than 150
job-seekers at a career fair for the disabled held Friday at city hall.
Asperger have a hard time relating to people,” said Kelly, 20. When he
went for a job interview at TD Place, he got some assistance from an
employment coach. “The coach had already talked to the employer and
when I went for the interview, he sat in with me to help."
Kelly, who has Aspergers, was hoping to find gainful employment at the
job fair. United Way’s Employment Accessibility Resource Network (EARN)
hosted its first-ever career fair for people with disabilities Friday
at Ottawa city hall, drawing about 20 businesses and numerous other
agencies to take part.
Julie Oliver /
Ottawa Citizen Matching job-seekers to employers and is the goal of
EARN, the Employment Accessibility Resource Network, the United Way
agency that hosted the job fair.
“Meaningful work for
meaningful pay,” is how United Way communications officer Jeff Willbond
United Way says
150,000 people in Ottawa live with a physical, intellectual or mental
health disability and only 43 per cent of those participate in the
labour force. One in six live below the poverty line.
Among the employers
at the job fair were Ottawa police, TD Bank, BMO, Agriculture Canada,
the University of Ottawa, and even the Canadian Security Intelligence
Hiring the disabled
has been a great success for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, said Alison Cross,
a human resources manager with its parent company, Enterprise Holdings.
“We want to
diversify our workforce,” Cross said. “We’re a customer service company
and when people see someone behind the counter who reflects their
community, it makes them feel very comfortable."
can also bring in more business, she said, by encouraging others in
their network to use the company.
Cross said many
employers have misconceptions that hiring a disabled person will lead
to accommodation costs or high absenteeism. In fact, she said, 65 per
cent of disabled employees require no accommodation, 35 per cent
require modifications that would cost less than $500 and just four per
cent require expensive or ongoing accommodation. Disabled employees are
also likely to be more loyal and less likely to miss work, she said.
• • •
Court For Parents Rights To Seek Relief
For Non-Educational Injuries
The United States
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion favoring families'
rights to seek relief for non-educational injuries and to enforce
settlement agreements. This is in support of the parents on behalf of
the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Disability Law and
Advocacy Center of Tennessee, The ARC Tennessee, Tennessee Alliance for
Legal Services, Support and Training for Exceptional Parents, Tennessee
Voices for Children, Inc. and People First of Tennessee. The opinion is
• • •
Blankets and Sleep in Autistic Children—A Randomized
Gringras P, Green D, Wright B, et al Pediatrics. 2014;134:298-306 medscape.com
with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have much higher rates of sleep
disturbance than do typically developing children. Weighted blankets
are an intervention widely accepted by families to improve sleep
quality for children with ASDs, but the evidence supporting their use
is limited. This study was conducted at three clinical sites in
England, enrolling children aged 5-16 years with a diagnosis of ASD.
All children had a reported disturbance in sleep for at least 5 months
prior to enrollment. Sleep disturbances included sleep latency (delay
of falling asleep of at least 1 hour after "lights out") and receiving
fewer than 7 hours of continuous sleep.
chose a single manufacturer to make both the weighted and the "placebo"
blankets. Two different sizes were used, depending on the age and size
of the child. The small weighted blanket weighed 2.25 kg, and the
larger blanket weighed 4.5 kg. Control blankets were made of the same
material, but plastic beads were inserted into the blanket instead of
the typical steel shot. This controlled for the insulating effect of a
blanket during sleep, and the embedded beads provided similar tactile
stimulation but without the inclusion of the weight.
The children were
randomly assigned 1:1 to begin with either the intervention or placebo
blanket. During the treatment phases, the children used the blanket for
12-16 nights. After completion of one treatment phase, the children
then crossed over to using the other blanket for another 12-16 nights
of monitoring. During each treatment phase, parents and children (if
old enough) completed sleep diaries that measured sleep latency,
duration of sleep, and parental perceptions of sleep quality.
Children also wore
electronic devices (accelerometers) on the nondominant hand that
measured movement, with still times being considered "sleep" and times
of movement above predesignated thresholds being labeled as "awake."
This allowed the investigators to calculate the total sleep time, which
was the primary outcome of interest. The parental measures of sleep
duration and quality were secondary outcomes. The parents and children
also completed subjective evaluations of the acceptability of the
• • •
Never Suspected Abuse From Home Of 19-Year-Old Autistic Man
Found In Cage
A lawyer assigned to
check how kids were being educated at a Huron County home said he never
suspected abuse — despite the recent discovery of a young man in a
Gerald Prill, a
candidate for county judge in Tuesday’s election, agreed in 2010 to
regularly visit the home of Karen and Timothy Tolin as part of a
settlement between the Tolins and the Huron Intermediate School
District about the educational needs of children there.
The Tolins were
charged with unlawful imprisonment and vulnerable adult abuse after a
deputy discovered a 19-year-old autistic man in a caged bed. Three
adults and two children have been removed from the home.
Prill was supposed
to make an announced visit and a surprise visit each year after August
• • •
of Autistic Student Who Choked To Death In Brooklyn School Plans
To Sue City
The family of Dyasha Smith, an autistic woman who choked to death on a
muffin, plans to sue the city in a bid to boost its remedy of
special-wants students, their lawyer said Friday. Smith, 21, died
Tuesday throughout lunch at the College for International...
The family of Dyasha
Smith, an autistic woman who choked to death on a muffin, plans to sue
the city in a bid to boost its remedy of special-wants students, their
lawyer said Friday.
Smith, 21, died
Tuesday throughout lunch at the College for International Studies in
She was supposed to
have an aide to aid her consume, stated lawyer David Perecman, who also
represents the household of Avonte Oquendo.
14-year-old autistic student, died soon after disappearing from his
particular-wants school a year ago.
Catherine Smith, told the Daily News earlier in the week that the
Division of Education was silent on the facts of her daughter’s death.
“They will not
return my calls,” she said.
• • •
Teacher Accused Of Using Hot Sauce To Discipline Autistic Student
A North Carolina
mother is calling for a teacher to be fired after the way she said her
son was disciplined.
The mother told
WSOC-TV a teacher used hot sauce on her son to prevent him from
touching his nose in class.
The accused teacher
used to work at Weddington Hills Elementary in Concord but is now at
The boy’s mom is
angry over what happened to her son and she wants more action taken.
“She took advantage
of him, and she needs to be held accountable,” Cindy Joseph said.
She calls the
incident that happened earlier this month as outrageous behavior.
Her 11-year-old son
DJ has autism and can’t speak so while Joseph said he couldn’t tell her
about what happened in class on Oct. 7.
But the principal
caught the teacher putting hot sauce on DJ.
“She was reported of
putting hot sauce on DJ’s fingers because he kept digging in his nose,”
She didn’t believe
it at first but the principal told her they found the bottle of hot
sauce in the classroom.
“I don’t think she
should be allowed to be teaching period, with any kids, whether they
have a disability or no disability and she should not be allowed to
have a license,” Joseph said.
wouldn't talk about any specific incident but confirmed the teacher now
works at Royal Oaks Elementary.
They also confirmed the teacher was suspended on Oct. 8 -- the day
after the alleged incident.
Joseph is glad her son is OK but said the school district shouldn't
take any more chances.
"I feel in my heart
she doesn't need to teach period,” Joseph said. “She needs to be held
accountable for her actions."
Now, she wants to
file abuse charges against the teacher.
• • •
Say Children with Autism Abused at California School
By Rowena Shaddox
The parents of two
children with autism at Rocklin’s Breen Elementary School filed legal
papers Thursday, claiming their children’s teacher physically abused
The parents spoke
publicly about it Thursday, saying they are upset with the school
because they found out about the alleged abuse from police.
“I failed my son
because my job is to protect him and I didn’t,” father Keith Caldwell
Caldwell is brought
to tears at the thought of his autistic, 10-year-old son being
physically and verbally abused by his own special education teacher.
“My son is trying to
tell me something and he’s not able to,” Caldwell said. His son does
alone. Jenn Hugunin also has a child with autism at Breen.
“As a parent, you
can’t even describe the horror and the shock of being contacted by the
police department, telling you that your child has been a victim of
child abuse in their classroom by their teacher,” Hugunin told FOX40.
The parents of the
two students filed a claim Thursday against the Rocklin Unified School
District, alleging the teacher, whom they identify as Sherry McDaniel,
physically and psychologically abused their children.
The claim also
accuses the school’s principal of being aware of the alleged abuse, and
“Remarkably, not one
incident has been documented as occurring in this class,” Peter Alfert,
the families’ attorney, said.
The Rocklin Police
Department says it began an investigation back in May after an
anonymous tipster, who later turned out to be the teacher’s aide,
reported the alleged abuse.
“From our aspect,
it’s a criminal case,” Rocklin Police Captain Lon Milka said.
The parents say they
are shocked and feel betrayed that the person entrusted with care of
their children is the same one who allegedly abused them.
“She yanked him
through the chair back opening and it resulted in bruises and scrapes,”
“The lady threw him
out of the room, onto the step, onto the metal setps outside the room,”
father Pat Hugunin said.
The Hugunins say
their son is now home schooled because he terrified to return to his
+ Read more.
• • •
Welcome to the CAR Autism Roadmap for
Learn about Autism
Spectrum Disorder, including symptoms, diagnosis, and the impact on
families and individuals Get the latest information on treatments and
therapies and how to get services Connect with resources for children,
youth, and adults
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