Autism society angry over security measures -

Autism society angry over security measures

Wants teachers of students with developmental problems to lose helmets


The Autism Society of Quebec wants helmeted teachers who work with students who have developmental problems at a Quebec school to lose their protective gear. A spokesperson for the teachers union says the teachers, who each care for four students and have the help of two other adults, can’t always control their pupil’s aggressive behavior. The principal of the school had suggested wearing the headgear for their own protection. The autism society says the helmets promote a negative image of people with autism. An autism expert has been hired to show the teachers how to work with the students.

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Autism society angry over security measures

  1. Outrageous. I've been working with children with autism and aggression issues for 10+ years. Never have I required, or even thought of, wearing a helmet! Properly trained staff not only do not need protective gear, they seldom even need to protect themselves at all. This story only underscores the apalling lack of proper training for school staff across the country.

  2. I'm more curious as to what kind of violence the kids could enact that would make helmets necessary while leaving the rest of the body unarmored?

    • Methinks some combination of the principal, union and teachers have attempted to thrust this issue into public debate, where it deserves to be.

    • Because bruised ribs are less serious than concussions

  3. This news really pulls at me, as a mother of a 10 yr. old boy with autism who displays aggressive behavior. Without all the information about this situation, it would appear that the school is not equipping their staff sufficiently – the answer is not protective equipment, it's in appropriate strategies to deal with behavior before it escalates to the point where it becomes physically dangerous. This is a pathetic response to the struggles that these children have, which also indicates that the school board has also failed to provide necessary support to these children's families. The necessary support would enable the families to pursue beneficial help from the professional community. This news is frightening! Autism isn't a disorder to be afraid of, unless you don't have enough information/experience to know better.

  4. This has nothing to do with teachers feeling unsafe. This is more likely about getting kids with autism (or any other special need) either booted out of the class so their job is easier. This is just some giant passive-aggressive way of going about it.

    In their defense, generally most people try to find a way around the stuff they don't want to do, but for some reason everyone thinks teachers should be some different breed of people who will do anything without putting up any fuss.

  5. I have a friend who has taught special needs kids. She is now a consultant for her board.

    I don't know if any of her kids have been autistic, but I do know that she has experienced punches and kicks, and has been bruised. She has also filed workman's compensation claims in case an injury develops into a chronic problem. She was particularly concerned about one boy, and what would happen when he hit puberty and gained strength. She is a small woman in her fifties.

    I don't like the idea of teachers wearing helmets either, but let's not romanticize special needs kids, and let's not demonize teachers and unions concerned about teacher safety.

  6. God bless these teachers and aids that have a passion for working with all children of special needs. Being a parent of a child on the autism spectrum I would never think to put the terms romanticing special needs kids. Yes teachers have every right to be safe in there classrooms. We need to have more education for the teachers, families, and aids. There needs to be more funding put in place immediatley to help support these children, teachers and families as they all struggle with overcoming everyday challenges that these children face. A helmet is a bandaid solution. We need to give these children and teachers the tools, training and support they need to over come every day adversities.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I will agree that a helmet is a bandaid solution. While most kids with autism are not violent. There are a few kids with various special needs who can become violent instantly. Some kids are very unpredictable in their behaviour. I have been punched, pinched, and kicked by students. Thankfully, I did not get hurt seriously.

      I will mention that children on the autism spectrum vary greatly. Some show severe autism while others can behave like most kids most of the time. Most of these kids are really great!

      I don't know more about the situation in Quebec. Maybe the student(s) hit(s) people in the head or tries to push heads against walls and objects. Maybe the students throws things. I don't know. Maybe a teacher or assistant wearing a helmet is a good thing in a particular situation.

  7. Well then yes lets not romanticize this issue at all then.
    Safety protocols are taught in all professions. Taught and certified; not just left to the employee to figure out; which is apparently has happened here; and in other schools across the country. If she is not comfortable working with this student then she needs to number one demand appropriate training in this field.
    Number two you need to do some research into this disorder yourself before you begin making uneducated judgements. I am a mother of a child (5 years) with autism and I have worked with children both typical and with exceptionalities in both urban and rural areas for over 15 years and in my experience I had to be more careful of the "typical" children.
    Personal safety is everyone's right and if these unions and teachers are truly concerned then hopefully they will stand up and be heard as advocates not just for their own safety but for the safety of these children that most often times do not have the ability to speak at all.
    Kylie Belcourt

  8. Here's a thought ,how about society get's they're heads outta they're butts and wake up to autism !! Hire those that are trained to deal with these children .
    I have a son with autism and his school is awesome. His teachers and his aide are behind him 100% and thats the way it should be . I am utterly ashamed and disgusted with whatever school in Quebec has done this .Shame on them !!

  9. The staff at a school on Vancouver Island would wear gardening gloves and safety goggles to work with our child. I suggested they were sending her the wrong message. They were afraid of her, which she fed off. They locked her in a small room, by herself. They did not have the skills to create an appropriote learning program,instead would focus on the negative behavior.

  10. Agree 100%

  11. Maybe the helmets can be wired so the principal can give "state-of-the-art" feedback for tenuous situations.

  12. Most people with autism won't show violent behaviours. However, there are a few that will. Some of the students with autism may be teens who may be larger and physically more powerful than their teachers and assistants. Every teacher, assistant, and student has the right to work in a safe environment. Any employee has the right to refuse work without penalty in an unsafe environment. Just replacing these workers may not necessarily solve a problem with wearing helmets.

    I have been in classrooms with students with special needs. In some classrooms, there are protective outfits for teachers and assistants to wear in case a student gets violent. They may include helmets, eye-wear, shoulder pads, chest protectors, and so on. Most of the time, the teachers and assistants do not wear these. However, the outfits are there in case they are needed.

  13. I am the mother of three children my son 6 and twin girls 3. Two of my children are Autistic. My son was very aggressive but ABA intervention is teaching him coping skills. I am still trying to get ABA in place for my baby girl who diagnosed in May09 that is a whole other topic.
    Safety procedures are taught in any proffession so maybe instead of buying helmets why not pay for some training and EVERYBODY work togther.

    • Can’t they have training AND helmets if they want to? When you are working with several kids at once, I’m sorry, but even a push can send somebody banging their head against a wall or table, possibly causing serious permanent injury or death. It’s just not worth the risk, just so your ‘feelings’ can be spared.

      Safety training is not going to help a 60 year old woman dealing with a 15 year old special needs student who throws a tantrum, right? She’s not a cop, she’s not a strong man or professionally trained wrestler. She’s just a teacher, often older, and no way strong enough to protect herself in certain situations.

  14. Yeah, be sure not to show a ‘negative image’ or hurt somebody’s feelings – just get a brain trauma injury instead.

    Are you kidding me? Like most single cause groups they apparently think the world is looking directly at them, only at them, and making judgments blah blah SHE HAS TO WEAR A HELMET. When most likely, people like me for example, just think – hmm, shame, but nice that she cares enough about the kids to continue helping them, even with threat of violence, and then move on.