San Jose, Calif. — Despite news of neighbors arguing in courts over a young boy with autism whom they consider a nuisance to the community around him— parents and autism advocates affirm that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are able to safely interact with their community if they undergo the proper therapy.
Residents from a neighborhood in Sunnyvale involved in the court battle said that they tried to adjust to the young boy with autism, knowing that he is struggling from the developmental condition— but said that they felt like they had to be on red alert each time the young boy was near. When efforts to keep the peace in the community broke down, two parents from the neighborhood decided to file charges against the young boy’s parents.
Many feel that the residents were overreacting, but experts admit that individuals with autism who struggle to express themselves have a tendency to become aggressive— simply because they lack the skill to negotiate.
According to New Jersey’s Alpine Learning Group Co-Founder and Executive Director and national researcher Bridget Taylor:
“Their communication skill deficits put them at risk of developing these behaviors. Because they are unable to communicate, they don’t have the skills to negotiate or interact better.”
But University of California Davis MIND Institute Professor Sally Rogers says these behaviors can be changed, with the help of proper diagnosis, early intervention, and effective behavioral therapy.
Experts also say that more often than not, children with autism only exhibit aggressive behavior towards their parents and their carers— and that these behaviors are mostly triggered by frustration. Displaying aggression towards others for no apparent reason is not common among children with autism, according to them.
Experts also said, however, that the growing number of individuals with autism among the population suggests that conflict is inevitable.
Source: Tracy Seipel: San Jose Mercury News: Many children with autism can learn to interact safely with schoolmates, neighbors