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Not All News About Autism is Good

Recently in the local newspapers there have been several articles about autism that have not been positive – but have been very upsetting. As the Autism Council of Utah we need to be aware of these issues. The Autism Council of Utah has collaborated with Sahara Cares to produce an Autism and Law Enforcesment DVD training, and is in the process of developing an Autism and Faith DVD training. It is up to us, as Council members, to share these resources as they become available.

    Duchesne County Man Denied Parole

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 12:01 a.m. MST
By Geoff Liesik, For the Deseret News
UTAH STATE PRISON — A Duchesne County man who sexually assaulted an autistic teenager at a Vernal recreation center in 2009 has been denied in his first bid for parole.
The victim’s father said the assault had a devastating effect on his son because of the characteristics of his disability. The man said his son now believes the abuse he endured is a normal way to interact with adults.
The family was forced to place the boy in a treatment facility to ensure his safety and the safety of others, the man said. The facility is several hours from the family’s home.

    Autistic kids not welcome in two area churches

Monday, January 17, 2011 – 2:33pm
Letter to the Editor:
We have three children, two of which have high functioning autism. We are born-again Christians and attended Bible College. We have been in children’s ministry for over 10 years. Our two oldest children were born and later diagnosed with autism. As we searched for a church home, two local churches told us our children are not welcome and they are not equipped to handle special needs children.

….At the meeting instead we were told that our children were not allowed in church anymore. They mentioned that as they get bigger they are going to have to address the autistic community but until then people with autism are not welcome because they are not equipped.
I am writing this so that other parents of autistic children don’t to have to go through what we did. Hopefully soon we will find a church who will minister to “the least of these.” Matt. 25:40

    Family of autistic man sues ex-cop over his death

By The Associated Press
Saturday, January 22, 2011 – 12:08pm

LOS ANGELES — It started as a routine police encounter after officers spotted a shadowy figure lying under a balcony behind a Hollywood apartment building.
The man, Mohammad Usman Chaudhry, was cordial at first. He handed over his ID and chatted with officers about his shoes, other cops he knew and how he stayed dry when it rained.
Moments later, he was dead.
Officer Joseph Cruz said he shot Chaudhry after he lunged at him with a knife. What Cruz and his partner apparently did not know was that Chaudhry was autistic.
Three years later, as a jury weighs a lawsuit against police by Chaudhry’s family, the killing highlights a challenge law enforcement increasingly faces: How to approach people with developmental disorders.
Autism is the world’s fastest growing developmental disability, currently affecting about one in 110 children. Nationally, police today are better trained to recognize autism than in the past. Officers frequently make contact with autistic people, often when they are victims of crimes or return them home after they have wandered off.