By The Arc of the Mid Ohio Valley
It is our position, at The Arc of the Mid Ohio Valley, that every child deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, be free from abuse and bullying, and that policies restricting the use of restraint and seclusion should apply to all children, not just children with disabilities.
Furthermore, The Arc of the Mid Ohio Valley believes that all individuals involved in the education of students with disabilities must:
- Ensure that students with disabilities are not subjected to unwarranted restraint or isolation and must ensure that any behavioral intervention is consistent with the child’s civil rights.
- Ensure that teachers and related services personnel, as well as their representatives are prepared to teach and/or support students effectively in the general education curriculum and in inclusive settings to the maximum extent appropriate, alongside students who do not have disabilities.
- Develop Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that build on student strengths, meet the student’s needs, and offer supports and services necessary to achieve success, that ensure students are served in the least restrictive environment (LRE), as determined for each student.
As outlined in West Virginia Code, the legislature charges school administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers with “demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying”, which is any intentional gesture, or any intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act, communication, transmission or threat that creates an emotionally abusive educational environment for a student.
With respect to this recent incident involving a 15-year old Wood County student who has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, it is important to point out that individuals with autism spectrum disorders are three times as likely as their typically-developing siblings to experience bullying, according to a recent national survey.
According to the survey of parents by the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) and Johns Hopkins University researchers, 61 percent of kids with Asperger syndrome have experienced bullying. In comparison, 28 percent of children with autism and 37 percent of children with other autism spectrum disorders have been bullied, parents reported.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a ‘spectrum disorder’ because those with the diagnosis are affected in many different ways and to varying degrees.
The Arc of the Mid Ohio Valley is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring satisfying and productive lives for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through programs and services, they empower, encourage, and assist those individuals to live, learn, worship, work and play, in their community.