Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Who is really looking after your disabled child when you’re not around?

27 Apr 2012When you send your children off to school, you are hoping, and trusting that they will be in good hands, not only to receive the education you expect, but to be protected from bullying, predators and dangerous activities.

That’s exactly what Stuart Chaifetz did when he sent his 10 year old autistic son, Akian, to his school in New Jersey, in the US. But when reports were coming home saying that his usually quiet-natured son was showing aggression during school hours, he began to question the allegations, and decided to do some investigating of his own.

Single father, Stuart, has stated in the media, that Akian is usually a calm, loving and gentle boy, but due to his Autism, he has difficulty expressing his needs and feelings effectively.

After trying to work together with the school, to resolve his son’s alleged aggressive outbursts, Stuart wasn’t seeing enough improvement, and decided that the only way he would know exactly why his son was acting out, was if he could unknowingly be in the classroom with him. So on the 17th February this year, Stuart sent Akian off to school with a hidden digital recorder in his pocket. What he found sickened him to no end.

After reviewing the six and a half hour tape, and being disgusted by what he had heard, he handed the audio in to the staff at Horace Mann Elementary School, where his son attends. Following this, his son’s aide was fired, and teacher transferred to another school within the district.

Wanting to share his story and expose these bullying teachers to the world, Stuart made a 17 minute video, which he posted on YouTube, expressing his disgust at how his son had been treated, by those he trusted the most.

The audio captured more than anyone could have ever conceived. The morning began with the teacher and her aide discussing their night before, where one of them disclosed to the other that she’d drank a whole bottle of wine to herself and ‘forgot’ to eat dinner, so she had been ‘heaving’ all morning.

The teachers were also heard taunting Akian about not being able to see his dad, after visiting his mum on the weekend, which Stuart says is something that his son asks a lot, because he has difficulty comprehending change, which is common amongst individuals with Autism, Stuart says that Akian receives comfort when told that he will get to see his dad. The teachers knew this, but purposely provoked and laughed at him, by trying to upset him, which caused him to cry uncontrollably.

The recording then revealed the teachers calling Akian a 'bastard', and telling him that he is going to get nothing, until his mouth is shut.

After hearing all of this, Stuart says that he realised that his son wasn’t lashing out because he was being misbehaved, but because he was being mocked and humiliated in front of his peers, and he didn’t know any other way of expressing to them that he wanted them to stop.

The release of this shocking tape has spread quickly around the world, sparking the need for parents to be more aware of who is really caring for their voiceless children when they are not around. Stuart warns other parents to check their local laws, as recording someone without their permission in some states etc. is illegal, and they could face serious charges.

To hear some of the audio, and see an interview of Stuart on CNN, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV1AIaVudis

Akian's father Stuart says his son is normally a kind, sweet natured boy

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