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Autism and Assault in Our Family

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Three summers ago, I wrote a post for HuffPo called, "I Will Shake Your Foundation" on the fears my husband Mark and I have about bullying, abuse, neglect, rape and murder of our three defenseless daughters with autism.

Danny Bonaduce, the child star from the seventies TV show "The Partridge Family" had growled, "I will shake your foundation!" in a mock jealous husband rage during his reality TV show, implying he'd rock anyone who approached his wife. I adopted the phrase.

Last week, a 24-year-old special education school bus monitor from Bridgeport, Connecticut was arrested and charged with three counts of assault against a handicapped person and three charges of risk of injury to a minor. That minor is Mark's and my nine-year-old daughter.

The Connecticut Post newspaper has been covering the story Court Case of Woman Accused of Hurting Autistic Child Continued :

According to police, on at least three occasions last April and May, Davila, a monitor on a bus for special needs children for the First Student Bus Co., abused the little girl. Police said there could have been more incidents but only three were captured on the bus's video surveillance camera.

Police said the girl's parents were trying to figure out how their nonverbal daughter kept getting bruises and sprained fingers on her right hand when on May 19 they received a call from the nurse at Frenchtown Elementary School that their daughter had arrived at school that morning crying hysterically. The parents then demanded to see the video from their daughter's school bus.

That video, which also had audio, showed Davila grabbing the girl's hands and the girl then crying out in pain.

Police said they then obtained DVD copies of the bus videos for April 27, April 29 and May 19. On the 27th and the 19th the driver of the bus was Davila's mother. Police said the April 27 video shows Davila, during the bus ride from the school to the girl's home, putting her hands in the area of the girl's hands. With each movement the girl's cries get louder, police said.

On the April 29 video, Davila is heard telling a substitute driver to stop at the girl's home first after they leave the school, according to police. "Because she (the girl) will (obscenity) her pants," she explains, and within minutes of leaving the school the video shows Davila again reaching towards the girl's hands and the girl is heard crying, according to police.

On May 19, the girl is seen on the video boarding the bus with her mother who assists her being seated. When the mother leaves the bus Davila is heard saying, "Goodbye mom," police said. She then touches the girl's head twice and then grabs the girl's right hand and begins to manipulate it as the girl whimpers, according to police.

We've had an epidemic of abuse against people with autism in the last several months.

A mother in Dallas murdered her youngsters. A mother in The Bronx shot and killed her 12-year-old son and herself. A 20-year-old man in Pennsylvania was left to die in a residential school's van on a hot summer day. A father in Canada killed himself and his son in their basement. A socialite in Manhattan plied her son with pills in a luxury hotel until he seized to death. A mother in England jammed caustic cleaning product into her son burning his throat and stomach until he bled to death.

And now our daughter, nine years old, preverbal, 62 pounds soaking wet, sitting quietly on her school bus was (allegedly) assaulted once, twice, thrice, four times and who knows how many more?

Let the foundation shaking begin.

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