Sunday, February 25, 2007

The World of Autism-- the Dark Side

No matter what services are available, and improvements in quality and quantity, we must be ever vigilant...

Men Charged After Autistic Boy Dies in Van
Schenectady Center Resident Allegedly abused in 2004 at previous school


Friday, Februa 16, 2007

COLONIE -- The 13-year-old child who died while being transported from the O.D. Heck Developmental Center was the same boy who was allegedly abused while a resident of the Anderson School in Dutchess County in 2004, his parents confirmed to the Times Union today.
Mike and Lisa Carey said authorities told them their son, Jonathan, was inappropriately restrained by two O.D. Heck workers in a transport van Thursday night going through Colonie and couldn't be revived.

``We are devastated,'' Mike Carey sobbed. ``He was such a special human being. Jonathan loved Jesus. And maybe this is the Lord's way of getting Jonathan's law passed as soon as possible.'' The two center employees -- identified by town police as Edwin Tirado, 35, of 1634 6th Ave., Schenectady, and Nadeem Mall, 32, 9 Plaske Drive, Schenectady -- have been charged with second-degree manslaughter. The two men drove around for 1 1/2 hours after the boy stopped breathing said Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider in an afternoon press conference. They went to a Hess Mart for drinks and then drove to a toy store in Mohawk Commons, a short distance from O.D. Heck, to buy a video game and drop it off at Tirado's Schenectady home.

Mall was driving a van to take the 13-year-old and a 14-year-old patient from O.D. Heck to Crossgates Mall. They first stopped at the Hannaford on Wolf Road so that Mall could get cash from an ATM. When he returned, Heider said, Tirado was restraining the boy in the back seat of the van. The boy soon stopped breathing. ``The two adults rendered no aid and they did not return to O.D. Heck for an hour and a half,'' Heider said. More than two hours after they left for the mall, they finally returned and told O.D. Heck workers they had a medical emergency. Efforts were made to revive the boy there, and he was then taken to St. Claire's Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

``The 13-year-old succumbed to what we're alleging were improper and wrongful holds placed on him,'' Heider said. Tirado, who had worked at the agency for six years, was the person restraining him, but Mall had an equal responsibility for failing to provide or get medical assistance, he said. The combination of the improper hold, and their failure to either provide or seek medical attention, resulted in the manslaughter charge, he said. The Times Union profiled the Careys earlier this year and their quest to not only learn who had physically abused the severely autistic and mentally retarded boy at the Dutchess County facility but also get his records unsealed. Jonathan was nonverbal and couldn't tell them himself. That law, he said, would give families the right to access their own children's records to be sure the state is held accountable for their care.

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