Sunday, January 10, 2010

11 year old with Autism in AR charged with felony

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Zakh who is 11, has autism, and has had some pretty significant challenges in his short life - including being institutionalized and the loss of his younger sister - has been charged with felony assault for his actions while resisting being physically restrained by the staff at Beard Elementary in Ft. Smith. It is this school that has apparently denied him FAPE, an IEP, and PBS. His grandmother is trying to raise the $5,000 retainer needed for an attorney to help the family. Please put your thoughts, prayers, and support behind this young man.

I think about Zakh and compare it to our situation. My son is 8, has a full time aide - something Zakh was denied - and the support of both a wonderful school administration and teachers - also denied to Zakh. But we live in Pottsville - not Fort Smith - Arkansas. It is a tragedy that the schools are so different but the law and regulations are the same. Wen has had some meltdowns at school this year, as has Zakh, but our teachers and school leadership understand that this is his disability coming through not "bad behavior." But things are better and we continue to work on how to help Wen learn these coping skills he so desperately needs.

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