We will support your foundations

23 Aug

I read a terrible, terrifying blog post post yesterday from Kim Stagliano on the Huffington Post. In it she describes how her daughter has suffered abuse at the hands of a support worker. The story is also coverered by the Connecticut Times.

Police said the girl’s parents were trying to figure out how their non-verbal 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.

This is one of my darkest fears. That my non-verbal daughter or my step-daughter, both autistic, should suffer abuse and not have the language skills to communicate their ordeal. Or even if they did have language skills that they were too terrified to speak out.

On this issue we – the whole autism community can easily stand as one. Whats happened to Kim Stagliano’s daughter is beyond appalling. She writes on the HuffPo of shaking the foundations of those who have hurt, or allowed to hurt, her daughter. I fully agree with her statement and as the title of this blog post implies, I will support her foundations in whatever way I can.

23 Responses to “We will support your foundations”

  1. Adelaide August 23, 2010 at 09:07 #

    That is indeed a big fear.

    Thank you, Left Brain/Right Brain.

  2. kabie August 23, 2010 at 09:40 #

    It is awful. This man must have known that there was cctv and he didn’t care if he was filmed, or perhaps thought that no-one would care enough to do anything about it. I feel that abusers like this continue because of the general feeling in the wider community and attitudes to those that they abuse. Disabled people are generally treated as lower class citizens who don’t have the same human rights as others and this is a symptom of that. Look at the way that the cost of autistic people in £ or $ per head is often cited as being a reason to eradicate us; this is the sort of abuse that arises out of that : being told that we are a bunch of subhuman “useless eaters” doesn’t instill a sense of professionalism or a feeling of the need for equality when we need support from others.
    Even in the proposal for the new Autism (Scotland) bill NAS bang on about how expensive we are; there’s a price on all of our heads.

  3. lilandtedsmum August 23, 2010 at 09:41 #

    This is the kind of thing that haunts me. All children are vulnerable but our children even more so. When we send our children to school we are trusting others to nurture and care for our most prized posessions. This abuse of that trust is disgraceful and I can only begin to imagine how Kim and other parents in her position must feel.

  4. Julian Frost August 23, 2010 at 10:07 #

    This is terrible. If this is true I hope the “caregiver” is convicted of assault and banned from working with any vulnerable individuals.

  5. BTDT August 23, 2010 at 12:17 #

    “This was not Davila’s first brush with the law. In April she was arrested and charged with sixth-degree larceny after police said she was stopped pushing a carriage loaded with more than $400 in merchandise out of the Target store in Trumbull without paying for it.”

    Why was this person allowed anywhere near a bus for children with special needs?

  6. farmwifetwo August 23, 2010 at 17:57 #

    Here, if she’d had any sort of record at all would not have been allowed near the children. They must pass a police check.

    BUT, saying that, it’s not physical abuse that goes on but also mental. Those ABA/IBI therapists harmed us. Blamed us for everything, told us we knew nothing, didn’t listen to our concerns… A child shouldn’t finally after 8mths reach out and claw his therapists and end up with 5 actions against others – he was removed permanently and I felt even crappier than I had been – then to have to litterally fight to get rid of them… 4yrs later earlier this summer when I was at the hospital that houses their offices… I went in the door… 4 yrs later… I still shook and was unable to go through the resource section for longer than a few minutes before I left…. 4yrs later….

    It happens daily to most of us, parents, children, adults…. The system takes advantage of us and doesn’t listen to us. I’ve since learned to stand up for myself and advocate better… But even so, this is one of my biggest fears.

  7. Roger Kulp August 23, 2010 at 22:19 #

    One obvious question nobody seems to be asking,where was the bus driver in all this?If (s)he had observed this woman abusing children,why didn’t (s)he act earlier?

  8. lilandtedsmum August 23, 2010 at 22:22 #

    Hi Roger,
    I’m pretty sure it says in the piece that the bus driver was the abuser’s mother, which may shed some light as to why nothing was ever reported.

  9. Kristen August 23, 2010 at 23:45 #

    This is horrible. I am disgusted whenever I hear of someone hurting a child, especially one who has no way of getting help.

    I am definitely with Kim on this. I disagree with her on many things, but my heart goes out to her and her family.

  10. stanley seigler August 24, 2010 at 03:34 #

    [Julian Frost say] This is terrible. If this is true I hope the “caregiver” is convicted of assault and banned from working with any vulnerable individuals.

    It’s a bad-a world for those with special needs…in CA-USA a med doc said a developmental center (institution) death was a heart attack…hmarky was stomped to death and vice prosecuting…the providers blamed death on an autistic room mate…all involved still working in the system…no way the autistic man was responsible.

    stanley seigler

  11. Dawn August 24, 2010 at 13:35 #

    For this, my heart goes out to Kim Stagliano. How very terrifying and heartbreaking that this happened to her daughter. I’m glad she and her husband are going to prosecute this person.

  12. NightStorm August 24, 2010 at 17:12 #

    My only concern is that Kim is going to use this as too to martyr herself again.

    It’s always about her.

    feel bad for the rugrat though…

  13. Kev August 24, 2010 at 17:53 #


    The _child_ is autistic and this time its all about _her_ . I’ve read what Kim Stagliano had to say about the matter on HUffPo and not once did I detect any self pity or attempt to martyr herself. Neither did I detect any attempt to use what has happened to further the antivax agenda.

    I think this time we as a community need to come together, see Kim’s antivax beliefs as a seperate thing, and see that this issue is one we can and should all support without any need for provisos regarding what Kim’s beliefs are. Her daughter – an autistic person – was abused. We should offer her and her family unconditional support in prosecuting the perpetrator and getting whatever support systems need to be put in place for Kim’s daughter and the rest of the family.

    Thats my opinion anyway, as parent to an non-verbal 10 year old daughter who also goes accompnied to school by an aide.

  14. kabie August 25, 2010 at 10:24 #


    I agree.
    It’s irrelevant who the parent is or what they believe. There’s only one enemy here and that’s the abuser, to get lost in other stuff belittles the crime. An autistic person suffers and we the need to act, that’s all.
    Talking of communities coming together on this, is there something proactive that everyone can do / is doing?

  15. Kev August 25, 2010 at 11:16 #

    Not sure Kabie…I don’t think so. I’ll wait to be led by the Stagliano’s on this one.

  16. stanley seigler August 25, 2010 at 11:40 #

    [kabie say] is there something proactive that everyone can do / is doing?

    a small step but in CA-USA, The Legislature has just passed Senate Bill 110, the Crime Victims with Disabilities Act, introduced by Senator Carol Liu and sponsored by The Arc. Now we need Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature to make it law. Take Action!

    stanley seigler

  17. Chelsea August 25, 2010 at 17:08 #

    This is awful! I have never even had any monitors on my special education buses. Sometimes other passengers would bully me. I remember when I was 8 years old; I had to share a bus with a 14 year old 5 times my size, along with his other teenage friend, and they were the first people to call me a “retard.” Most likely they were the jerky type of aspies who have been abused themselves, then decided to let out their anger on a little girl. They never physically hurt me, though. For some reason nobody has, even though I do not look particularly tough.

  18. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. August 26, 2010 at 18:05 #


    my comment – posted 23rd Aug 2010 – is still in the moderation queue, even thought there is nothing confrontational or offensive in it. I’m resubmitting it verbatim in the hope that it will get through, and that the moderation is just something of a momentary issue.

    KS writes about an epidemic of abuse against autistic people. She is one of those who has – via AoA and her AoA crew – actually allowed that to happen to us. Nonetheless, what happened to her child is absolutely despicable.

    Seems to me that there is a good reason for lobbying for national standards in training for people who work with autistic clients (all ages, all shades of autism). In the UK, there is a steering committee who have delineated the knowledge-base needed in order to be able to work effectively with people like me. I took a specialist courses in my post-graduate degree that qualify me (in my case) to work as a consultant on autism issues across the life-span, being a specialised psychologist. Did the person involved in the care of Kim’s daughter have any sort of proper training? Probably not. I say this not to excuse the conduct of that person (if the above is true, and I’m not saying it isn’t, then it is inexcusable): I say it because, once people have been trained in a particular area of work, the minute that such a person does anything like what has been reported they should (and do) know full well that they have done something wrong. And – because of being trained – you can assume that they do in fact know better. Makes disciplinary procedures easier to implement.

    What has happened to Kim’s daughter should not happen to anyone – autistic or not. It disturbs me that – with all that we know about supporting autistic people from cradle to grave – this sort of thing can still happen to an autistic child.

    I hope that she can get some justice for her daughter, and wish her luck with that (justice for autistic people seems to be a universal low/no priority issue).

    • Kev August 26, 2010 at 18:09 #

      Sorry David, I missed it the first time – got it this time.

  19. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. August 26, 2010 at 18:07 #

    interesting – same none offensive (actually supportive) comment got in moderation.


  20. stanley seigler August 26, 2010 at 18:45 #

    [kev say]I think this time we as a community need to come together, see Kim’s antivax beliefs as a separate thing,

    this time, any time, is THE time: to come together. cant lose sight of the common good when arguing “separate things” pro/con…also;

    might focus on issues not personalities…

    stanley seigler

  21. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. August 26, 2010 at 20:26 #

    Okay, Kev. Thank you.

    I think there’s a lot more to the case than we are currently aware of, though. We shouldn’t be quick to prejudge the outcome.

    That’s why I am in favour of proper comprehensive training for all who work with autistic people. At least, then, it would be possible to reduce the risk of this sort of event happening, and it becomes easier for disciplinary action to be justified.

  22. Craig Willoughby August 27, 2010 at 18:09 #

    Kev, I’m really glad you wrote this piece. While I disagree with much of what you write about and represent, my opinion of you has increased considerably from reading this and the comment to NightStorm. I agree with you whole-heartedly; regardless of your views on the causes of autism, this is something we can all rally behind and show support for. If it happened to your child, Kev, I would do what I could to show my support for you and your child, and to me, it says a lot about you that you would write to show your support for Ms. Stagliano.

    NightStorm, your comment is ignorant. I have no nicer way to say it. This is NOT about Kim, it is about her child.

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