Saturday, March 07, 2009
Clinic Notes: Boy Locked Away by Parents for Seven Years
In a recent Schafer report (March 6, 2009) there was a report of a young boy who had been locked in a dark barren room for seven years. He never played with other children, been to the doctor, gone to school, and was beaten by his father. Inquiring neighbors were told by the parents, that the boy was autistic and receiving treatment at home. The parents are going to jail and the young boy will receive therapy and probably be placed in an orphanage or possibly a foster home. Unfortunately, incidents like this happen periodically and I documented several in a case history titled "Wild Child" (Available at http://www.aba4autism.com). Not only are cases like this barbaric, they tend to occur when the child is young and critical periods for the formation of language and other skills are programmed to occur. If this is prevented by the limited environment, then the child does not develop these skills because by the time they are rescued the critical periods are past. In this particular case I see hope. The police said that when they found the boy and took the father into custody, the boy said, "He won't hit me this evening." So it seems that he has some language development.