Children often struggle to talk about abuse. In many cases, they don’t tell anyone what’s happening to them. Sometimes it’s because they’re ashamed. Sometimes it’s because they’ve been threatened and they’re afraid. Sometimes it’s because they don’t even realize that what’s happening to them is wrong. But whatever the reason, you can be sure that most children aren’t going to readily share details about the people and situations that victimized them.
So if getting the average child to share details of their abuse is hard, you can only imagine how challenging it is to uncover abuse in the case of special needs kids. And yet statistics reveal that special needs kids are often at greater risk for abuse. So what can be done to protect them? The Autism Alliance of Michigan believes they have an answer.
The new program will educate people working with special needs kids
The Autism Alliance of Michigan is launching a new program that will educate people who interact with special-needs children how to recognize the signs of abuse. Special needs kids sometimes lack the ability to tell people what’s happening to them. This means that abuse and neglect can go undetected for long periods of time if no one notices the signs of abuse and reports them.
There are many reasons special needs kids can’t tell someone if they are being abused or neglected. These reasons include:
- The child is non-verbal, or unable to speak, and therefore cannot talk about the abuse
- The child struggles with communication barriers, and cannot articulate their experiences
- The child suffers from intellectual or cognitive disabilities that keep them from understanding what is happening to them,
- The child understands what is happening to them, but doesn’t understand that it is wrong because the abuse has been normalized
The goal is to reduce the number of special needs kids being abused
The program, which is revolutionary and the first of its kind in the country, aims to help caregivers and others who work with special needs kids recognize the signs of abuse. This would include:
- Teachers of special needs children
- Parents and caregivers of special needs children
- First responders and other medical staff
- Law enforcement officers
- CPS workers
- Criminal justice professionals
The problem was put center stage in recent years when a 13-year-old special needs boy from Novi, Michigan, was discovered to be the victim of severe bullying, sexual harassment and abuse by another student. A lawsuit was filed, claiming that the school employees had been improperly trained in how to recognize and address the issue. The lawsuit was later settled out of court, but the issue remains a problem that needs to be addressed.
Accusations of abuse are taken very seriously in Michigan!
So how does one recognize abuse or neglect in special needs kids? Join us next time for that discussion, on the signs were encouraged to watch for. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of abusing or neglecting a child, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled child abuse and neglect defense attorneys have helped countless caregivers and parents in Michigan defend themselves against allegations of abuse.