Can This Happen to Your Child? One Father’s Pain

Why have more than 4 million people witnessed a father’s rage, pain and frustration on this YouTube video?  It all began when one man couldn’t understand why his usually gentle 10-year-old son was hitting and throwing chairs in school.  So this father did something out of the ordinary: he sent his child to school wired for sound.

He says that what he heard that night in 6 hours of taping changed his life forever.  Now as we too listen to the adults who have been hired to teach this young boy instead humiliate and curse him we must remember that although this instance occurred in Cherry Hill, NJ, this kind of abuse could as easily be going on in your town or in mine.

And experience tells us that this was probably also a typical day, that this kind of cruelty is a daily event in a classroom where none of the students, all of whom are on the autism spectrum, are able to tell their parents what happens each day in school.

This kind of abuse also stands as a potent reminder of the danger of separating out the children with special needs and educating them in isolation far from their more typical peers.  This traumatic exchange would not likely have occurred in an inclusive school setting where transparency and accountability reign simply because there are many students and teachers around who can and will report any abusive behavior.

The fact that this teacher was not fired but simply transferred to another district school also stands as a potent reminder that the danger remains very real for countless children with special needs.

Unless we as parents, advocates and educators work single-mindedly toward the day where our children are educated  in settings of transparency, trust and true learning.

— Jay Ruderman

1 Comment

Filed under Disabilities rights, Disabilities Trends, General News, In the Media, Uncategorized

One response to “Can This Happen to Your Child? One Father’s Pain

  1. Thank you for increasing awareness of the silent epidemic of physical and sexual abuse experienced by youth and adults with disabilities. Since Americans with disabilities are twice as likely to experience physical and/or sexual abuse than the general public, it is little wonder that many choose to work in sheltered workshops or reside in their family homes instead of establishing their own residences in the community.

    Because trauma related to abuse or the fear of potential abuse is a real barrier to more independent, dignified lives for many people with disabilities, Triangle has developed IMPACT:Ability. IMPACT:Ability – which is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation, and numerous Boston area funders – equips individuals with disabilities and organizations to prevent abuse.

    IMPACT:Ability not only empowers youth with disabilities with the verbal and physical skills to say “no” to potential abuse, but also works with Boston Public Schools, the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, and at Triangle to develop organizations that are committed to increasing abuse reporting and promoting prevention practices on the organizational level. Over the next four years we hope that IMPACT:Ability develops into an evidenced based practice that can be replicated throughout Massachusetts and internationally at locations such as the Ofakim School in Haifa, Israel. To learn more about IMPACT:Ability please visit or watch our short intro video at

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