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Parents arrested for keeping autistic son in cage

By Gillian Flaccus

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:34 a.m. HST, Jul 03, 2014


SANTA ANA, Calif. » The parents of a severely autistic boy were arrested after investigators determined the 11-year-old had been kept in a large metal cage, possibly to control his violent outbursts, authorities said Wednesday.

The cage — similar to an extra-large dog kennel — was found in the home with a mattress and other bedding inside, Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said. It was roughly 6 feet tall, 5 feet long and 3 or 4 feet wide with room to stand.

The boy was not inside, but family members gave police varying accounts of how long he had been kept in it, ranging from hours to days, Dunn said.

"It appeared that as he grew older his episodes of violence and outbursts were increasing and perhaps the parents utilized the cage as a tool to modify that and to contain him when that was happening," he said.

"Obviously, putting your child in a locked cage, even if you're desperate for help, is not the best course of action," Dunn said, noting there are resources available for families in that kind of situation.

Officers went to the Anaheim home and arrested the parents Tuesday evening after an anonymous tipster called Orange County Child Protective Services.

The boy's parents were arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment and false imprisonment.

The child was well-nourished and appeared otherwise healthy and his two siblings, ages 8 and 10, were also unharmed. They were all placed in protective custody, Dunn said.

The parents speak limited English, and investigators were using translators to sort out details in the case.

Other relatives live in the home, and one room was rented to another family with children.

It wasn't immediately known if the boy's parents had an attorney. They had not made a court appearance and had not yet been formally charged.

An arraignment will occur within the next two days if prosecutors take the case, Dunn said.

There have been other instances of parents confining their children to deal with behavioral problems.

Last year, a mother in Orange County was arrested for chaining up her child while she was at work because he had been hanging out with a gang and she had no one to watch him in the evenings. Prosecutors dropped charges against her last month.

Two years ago, a California school district placed a special needs teacher on leave while it investigated a mother's claim that her 10-year-old autistic son was put in a cardboard box during class.

The use of boxes to control autistic children has caused flaps at schools around the nation in recent years, from West Virginia to Wisconsin to Washington.







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false wrote:
Have recently learned from a recognized principal that an Aspergers autistic professional described feeling secure when held in a restricted containment, learned from watch cows in the shoots for shipping. She reported being able to get a sense of control which is a social complication for autistic individuals. So putting a student in a box to give them control would be a relief for them. They are unable to filter complicated external stimulations of vision, hearing, sensations and smells. The confusion creates irrational responses that are socially inappropriate or compensation behaviors that frustrate the environment. Box option is great solution, cheap and available. Cages not the same.
on July 2,2014 | 06:02PM
Skyler wrote:
Will be good to get the whole story, including from the siblings. If the boy is violent & unable to control his outbursts, and the family unable to get help due to language or other mitigating factors - they too, may have the charges dropped. At the very least. I hope they get help dealing with their son.
on July 2,2014 | 10:06PM
kprtyqn wrote:
And if you DONT or NEVER had a sever autistic child you shouldnt judge. Tho this is inhumane in many ways...no one will understand the challenges of having such a medically challenged child. Drugs will only do so much and even hiring caregivers can take its toll. State assistance will only do so much and families realize their child will NEVER live a normal life. So before you open your mouth to judge see if you can live with such a challenge. Money doesnt grow on trees and you usually realize once you know your child will be this way all their life, you may often result to such practices.
on July 3,2014 | 08:35AM
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