Two teachers have been fired after an audio recording allegedly captured them mocking and saying inappropriate things about a US boy with severe autism.
The boy’s mother, Milissa Davis, sent her 12-year-old son, Camden, to Hope Academy in Louisiana with a recording device in his backpack after he became aggressive at home and wet the bed.
At least two adults in a classroom, who have been identified as a teacher and teacher’s aide, were picked up on the recording apparently saying awful things to the boy and talking about him.
“You’re just writing the word. What is hard about it?” an adult can be heard saying as the boy grunted in response. The adult then mocked the noise.
Later the adult said: “Camden, why don’t you have anything written down? That’s why you can’t sit with everyone. Tell your mumma that.”
An adult can also be heard saying, “Let’s see what they do with him in f***ing public school. He was going to go to Live Oak Middle. Uh ah, he wouldn’t make it for a minute.”
Ms Davis told WBRZ2 that she was extremely upset by what she heard.
“I just wanted to cry, scream, and do everything I could because it was so bad,” she said.
“To think that I had sent my son there every day, and what had happened before, that I didn’t know about.”
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of conditions related to brain development, including autism and Asperger’s syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic.
People with autism may have difficulty picking up on social cues and perform repetitive behaviours, the organisation says.
Comments like the ones the school employees allegedly made can be upsetting to children with autism, as they can be for children without the condition, Lisa A Nowinski, director of clinical psychology and training at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“These comments can lead to increased sadness, anxiety, and low self-esteem,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“These negative comments can impact the way a child with autism interacts with people around them. The child may learn that people are mean, hurtful, or not supportive.”
Ms Davis said she has since hired an attorney because of the situation and plans to file complaints with the Department of Education.
Autism is not rare: About one in 68 children has autism, and the disorder is 4.5 times more common in boys than girls, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.