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sandalwood
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25 Dec 2006, 11:10 am

my child has aspergers (diagnosed/documented) and, as many of you probably know, comes up with interesting new behavioral oddities all the time. the latest: hypersensitivity to touch. a teacher's brush against the shoulder has him coming home crying "teacher hit me". an elevation of his chin (to raise his eyes to see his piano music) turned into "mommy hit me", which had the cops showing up at my door. cops closed their case inconclusive, since there was no evidence either way; CPS closed it unfounded.

question: can i still be prosecuted for an inconclusive case such as this? we have a new child psych manager and are working with our child on the root issue, but i need to know what next to expect from the legal system. thanks for ANY advice etc-



TheMachine1
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25 Dec 2006, 1:41 pm

How old is the kid?



Tequila
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25 Dec 2006, 1:50 pm

Double post.



Last edited by Tequila on 25 Dec 2006, 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tequila
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25 Dec 2006, 1:52 pm

sandalwood wrote:
question: can i still be prosecuted for an inconclusive case such as this? we have a new child psych manager and are working with our child on the root issue, but i need to know what next to expect from the legal system. thanks for ANY advice etc-


If there's no evidence, they can't prosecute you. So you're in the clear.



sandalwood
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25 Dec 2006, 2:46 pm

thats what i would think (no evidence, as there wasn't, = no prosecution). however, the lead detective told me that a "handful" of these cases do get prosecuted, which has me somewhat frantic.

kid's 8. the irony: it was last year's teacher who pushed us to have him evaluated/diagnosed at the autism center because of his odd behaviors. i explained all this to this year's teacher, but he didn't know anything about autism (and i understand about mandated reporters... just wish -someone- would have contacted us first, knowing our child's medical history)

anyone ran into anything similar before?



en_una_isla
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25 Dec 2006, 2:51 pm

All I can think of, is that you could start to have him in therapy with a psychologist specifically over this issue (false accusations) so that there is a record that he has a habit of doing this.



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25 Dec 2006, 2:54 pm

Yes, do the therapy. Get the paper trail started. At 8, he should be receptive to a discussion of the difference between pain and injury too.



sandalwood
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25 Dec 2006, 3:23 pm

seems that lately he's been accusing everyone of everything. a glance from his brother = an hour of crying that his brother hit him. and since he has no sense of appropriateness, he'll tell this to anyone who will listen - including strangers who come to the door.

good point about pain and injury. he has no sense of either. i'm told this is typical of some autistic kids because they so often misinterpret physical signs, including affection. do any of your kids do anything similar? do your kids let you hug them without complaint?



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25 Dec 2006, 3:41 pm

In a way, the teacher probably DID hit him! Do you REALLY thnk that teacher was within the 1/16" required for your son to care like this, and STILL not be hit? This happens to me on the planes ALL THE TIME Some jerk hits me with a bag, or the flight attendent "bumps" into me. It makes me VERY angry. I'm normally passive, but man I am SEETHING when they do that. I won't act, but if they ever want anything from me, and I remember that, they won't get any help from me.

Have your son tell you what was REALLY said, get his story straight, and tell them you want them to treat him like a PERSON, and not some worthless piece of furniture that they can just hit.

The FACT is that, while they probably won't prosecute for this, it probably WILL be remembered and CAN come back to haunt you. Throw that ball squarely back in THEIR court, where it belongs.

Steve



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25 Dec 2006, 5:18 pm

You've got to be kidding, Steve. If you know something happened by accident than why on earth would you deliberately hold it against them?

There are several problems here with this boy's situation. We don't know really what's happening because we aren't there.
There are several different possibilities.
1)He doesn't truly know the difference between touch and hit. My son is considered to have "age-level" appropriate speech but he is really lacking in word/story comprehension. He repeats things without really knowing what he is saying (he's 7, 1st grade). He chatters fairly confidently and that makes other adults believe he fully knows what he says (and what he hears).
Your son may say "hit" and mean touch, hurt, annoy.

2)He may be choosing to be oppositional for various reasons. (stress, confused, learned how to manipulate)

3)He may be choosing to say something that gets a reaction from people, positive or negative and that's it.

4)He may be trying to say people are being too rough or startling him. Is the teacher too fat to walk by without hitting someone? Maybe she gets too close without warning. Why are you forcing his face up to look at piano music?

My son has all the above at various times. You (and anyone around him) need to announce your moves as much as possible. He needs to understand that sometimes people are annoying and touch others by accident. If his school teacher is ignorant of autism/AS then you need to make sure she is aware of it and any appropriate staff, special ed or principal.
Who reported you? The teacher? Her principal needs to be made aware of this and that she accused of something that she herself was accused of.
You might want to investigate if your son has a speech delay or dysfunction. Make sure he is saying what he means.
I think if cases are "dropped", it means just that. However, you are now a blip on the paperwork. If anything else happens, it's on record that you have been accused before. (if there was any paperwork done) I know a separated couple that was heard loudly arguing. Someone called the cops and they came. When they found it was just yelling and the woman was begging the cops to convince the man to stay with her, they left-no paperwork filled out.
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sandalwood
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25 Dec 2006, 6:20 pm

>> Why are you forcing his face up to look at piano music?
this was a suggestion from his piano teacher. he looks at his hands (and makes very poor eye contact in general) rather than the music, and ignores/doesn't process much of what we say, so physically lifting his chin serves as a reminder to look at the music. he went to school in bad mood (why, not sure, i wasn't there that morning) and said something to his teacher, who had him talk to the school counselor (who, i'm told, asked some very leading questions.. my son, like many kids with asperger's, sees things in black and white. if someone told him he was hit, he'd believe it and repeat it)
since this happened, i take 3 steps back whenever he's practicing so that nothing else can be miscontrued.

there was paperwork, as there always is with child reports., though no evidence since the child was in perfect physical condition. i'm mostly worried about this 'handful' that gets prosecuted even with a complete lack of evidence. his autism is documented with both the school and healthcare provider, and i've discussed this at length with the child psych. at the suggestion of the previous poster, i'll see about getting him into proper counseling for this new symptom.

meanwhile, more symptoms present themselves. dh was straightening his shirt earlier and child said "ow!" - i asked what he meant, and he said dh's hands were cold.



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25 Dec 2006, 7:06 pm

Kimj,

NOPE, I'm not kidding. Sometimes this can almost create a BRUISE! It is often NOT an accident but negligent carelessness. Anyway, that is besides the point. People will hear what he says, and REMEMBER it. That CAN come back to haunt you. SO, you should try to place the blame where it should go. Maybe THEN, they will be more careful because, if they aren't, THEY may get blamed. If you don't do it, they may be careless again, and YOU may get blamed.

Steve



hedley
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25 Dec 2006, 7:11 pm

NOTE and DISCLAIMER: This is not legal advice. Anything that follows is merely an unathoritative opinion, and does not establish any relationship, advice is given for informative purposes only and shall not be relied upon. I am not qualified to give you legal advice, do not misconstrue my intentions as such. If you believe you have a legal problem, please contact a solicitor. A list of solicitors may be available at the Law Society or your local Citizen's Advice Bureau. By reading this, you accept that I disclaim any responsibility for any harm, direct or consequential, accruing from any use of or reliance on the following. The following is given WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY. Do NOT rely upon it in any way.

Now that butt covering is done...

You need to get the 'big picture' about getting prosecuted. In England, you get prosecuted when the CPS thinks there is a case to answer. The reasons are simple: a prosecution costs money, if the magistrate throws out ('dismisses') the claim for no case to answer, the CPS gets to pay. That's inconvenient, so they try to prosecute you only 'when it is in the public interest', and that entails that they tend to prosecute only where they have a reasonable case (for a great deal of legalese on this, check the Crown Prosecutor's Code). Now this is, in most issues, rather straightforward: no case -> no prosecution. The only issue where the law is generally (ie. in all areas) aligned to err on the side of caution is child protection, esp. abuse complaints. This was sparked, essentially, by the Victoria Climbie story, so courts are now especially keen on protecting children, and in a 'handful' of cases which 'may or may not disclose a cause of action' (legalese for 'may be worth to give it a stab, looks fishy'), there is a prosecution. An indication to prosecute someone even if evidence is sparse is, e.g., past convictions.

Now the recommended thing to do in such a case is staying cool, as currently, you are not being prosecuted. You may, though, drop in at your local Citizen's Advice and tell your whole story - they have mostly really good advisors who could help a lot.

If and when you get prosecuted, the first thing is to get a GOOD criminal solicitor, one who is good at three things: arguing a criminal case with family components, calling and using expert witnesses (more on that later) and some experience with mental health issues, ideally AS. He could call an expert psychiatrist who could probably give evidence about tactile hypersensitivity in AS plus he could get a lot out of putting your psychiatrist on the stand. That should normally suffice to finish off a prosecution.

I know this is little solace for you right now, and getting prosecuted must be harsh, but, on the facts, (1) you are unlikely to get prosecuted (albeit not certain), (2) if you are, you are unlikely to get convicted, if your solicitor is reasonably good.

As for the teacher and the counselor... they enjoy immunity in this issue in all respects, so there is no point at all in reproaching them (that may even make your life harder, should it all come to a trial), but it may be a good idea to tell them about AS and tactile hypersensitivity, and a VERY good idea would be to get your psychiatrist to talk to your child's school counselor. That way, you're out of the line of fire.

And as far as the future effect of such accusations go... they are fairly immaterial, even if you get prosecuted but not convicted, you generally do not need to tell about it, and it generally cannot be adduced as evidence in future proceedings. Your slate is as clean as it was before, as far as most things are concerned.



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25 Dec 2006, 7:25 pm

Yeah, one thing is that I didn't see where you said where you are from. I know in the US they CAN hold previous claims against you for child protection services, and there have been LOTS of horror stories. Also, if they merely touched your son, you should let them know how he may react and that you want them to avoid it. You should also explain that to your son, but he probably won't like it. Hopefully they will find a compromise.

As for my experience on planes and elsewhere, it has been bad. To give you an idea, a person recently stopped every couple feet while getting into a plane. WHY???? Because her bag kept hitting the seats! What do you think got hit when she passed my seat? ****ME****! That wasn't an accident. A MONKEY could have figured that a 90 degree turn in the bag would have made it smooth going.

HECK, my father and step mother are stuck at home now! WHY? Because a careless person ran a red light. It looks like she NEVER tried to stop.

Is there any question why I get upset?

Steve



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25 Dec 2006, 7:26 pm

sandalwood, I dont like having my shoulders touched. Bugs me. creeps me out. doesnt feel appropriate. It offends. I now tie it back to my blowups as a kid. Nowdays I take it with gritted teeth, but it still bugs me.

Even to see someone else get their shoulders touched makes me think "how rude!" As a kid was unaware that it didnt like it... rather... I was unable to connect my sudden anger and outburst to the contact. It was at age 12 that I finally articulated that I didnt like it.(i'm 34).

He needs to have the difference between hit and injury explained, and what appropriate responses are. Likely, he lacks stimulus appropriate response sets. After that, a test should be done to assess if he understands. A therapist(although I have never had one) would be the best to attempt this.