Cambridge EA suspended after hitting autistic student
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:59PM EST
An educational assistant with the Waterloo Region District School Board has been suspended following allegations she hit a six-year-old autistic child she was working with.
The child, Dante Ahsan, attends a special class for autistic children at Grandview Public School in Cambridge.
One day in December, Melinda Ahsan was called into the office of Grandview’s principal.
“He told me that while my son’s class was on a class trip, he was slapped across the face by an EA from his class,” Melinda Ahsan tells CTV.
Dante and his class had been on a trip to the indoor playground at Calvary Pentecostal Church.
Melinda says Dante began walking up a slide, ignoring calls from the EA to stop and apparently angering the EA.
“The EA went up the stairs and met him at the top of the slide. He got aggressive with her, and she slapped him across the face,” Melinda says.
A teacher from a different school saw the incident and reported it.
Police say they’ve conducted their own investigation into the incident and won’t be laying any charges.
Dante was interviewed by police, but he hasn’t said anything about the incident other than that he was hit, which Melinda chalks up to his autism.
A representative from Autism Ontario agrees, saying Dante will likely never be able to describe exactly what happened.
“Most children with autism, or who are on the autism spectrum, have communication problems,” says Amanda Bell.
School board officials say they’re concerned about and quick to investigate incidents of this type, but don’t comment on specific cases.
Melinda Ahsan says she doesn’t want to see the EA back at Grandview or working with children like Dante elsewhere.
“I don’t think that she is appropriate to be working with children with special needs,” she says.
If the teacher does return to Grandview, Ahsan says she’ll transfer her son to a different school.
Six-year-old Dante Ahsan attends Grandview Public School in Cambridge. (Courtesy Melanie Ahsan)
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