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Toronto Police Defend Handcuffing Boy with Asperger’s

Toronto Police Defend Handcuffing Boy with Asperger’s
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Toronto police are defending their decision to handcuff a 9-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome at Fairbank Memorial Day Care Centre on July 28. According to the Toronto Sun, the center called police after they had locked the child in a room. Const. Victor Kwong said the boy was “being aggressive” and had “barricaded himself with tables and chairs… [and] thrown paint all over the room”; officers entered the room, told the boy to lie down and handcuffed him.

While police have been defending themselves, the autism community in Ontario has been quick to criticize law enforcement for using such heavy-handed tactics. Dr. Glenn Rampton, the CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services, which serves 5,000 autistic clients across Southern Ontario, said simply, “That wouldn’t be appropriate for any child”:

The boy blamed his tantrum on being bullied during the lunch hour. Children with autistic spectrum disorder can often have outbursts when they become frustrated, Dr. Rampton said. But there are far better ways of dealing with the situation — such as avoiding the triggers and defusing their anger — than mechanically restraining them.

“Why would two great big policemen need to put handcuffs on a nine-year-old when they should be fully capable of calming that child down?” the psychologist demanded. “Maybe they shouldn’t go out on a call like that unless they’re trained to deal with it.”

The child’s mother, Linda Dastous, says that her son is “traumatized” and “devastated”; the child himself says that he’s now “scared” whenever he sees police.

Peter Frampton, director of the center’s parent organization, the Learning Enrichment Foundation, said that his staff “are not able to restrain a child nor should they.” Dastous says, though, that the center simply called 911 rather than contacting her first to defuse the situation.

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101 comments

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8:42AM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:03AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

children should not have police officers on them. they need a gentle and caring correction, not steel restraints.

6:53PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

I live in Toronto & have had some interaction with autistic children at the school where I work a a crossing guard & volunteer at lunch time. I am totally embarrassed to acknowledge that I live in a city where an autistic child would receive that kind of treatment by police officers-To serve & Protect- yeah, what a joke!!! Were they not informed that the boy was autistic? Anybody with any amount of brains should know that children/people in the autistic spectrum have a difficult time coping in our world because of their sensitivities.

3:18PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Nine years old, two grown adult police officers, yes, they have to be cautious when trying to aprehend an out of control person reguardless of age. But....still....I think they should have been able to calm a child if they were aware of the illness he deals with that can trigger these type of outbreaks. If they were not aware of it, then they did what they were trained to do.

I would suggest that all officers have training that makes them aware of the conditions of Autistic type aliments and how to handle them.

11:54PM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

Thanks for posting.

5:57PM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:14AM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

sad

10:12AM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

sad

1:50AM PDT on Sep 2, 2011

I come from Malaysia and when I was in the US attending college...I was shocked to find out that some of my mates were home schooled. I think in many countries homeschooling were illegal...nevertheless, if our parents are capable why do we need to attend a school of lies, chaos and unnecessary pressure? Basically schooling is about socialization and interaction...nothing else. At the end of the day if the kid can do well in the GED, scholastic and/or placement exams they can still enter college... Many kids in high schools are subjected to undue pressure from peers' subculture, bullying, hazing, stereotyping, competition to achieve, cosmetic outlook and modernity, etc. In college, nobody gives a hoot! Everybody, at the end of four years just ensure to graduate and get a job. Perhaps on some campus students do expect some degree of partying and boozing but then after the football and Saturdays, Sundays and the rest of the week are back to the library or the study room.

10:27PM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

They need to have something similar in place as Vancouvers car 86 where in these situations a police officer can go out with some type of psychiatric nurse who will be much more knowledgeable on how to calm someone down and prevent them from being aggresive rather than letting police officers who aren't educated on these things handle this stuff by themselves.

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