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Autistic Child Abuse Caused PTSD, Psychiatrist Testified

Anne Artley |
July 24, 2013 | 10:27 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Autism Awareness Ribbon (Wikimedia Commons)
Autism Awareness Ribbon (Wikimedia Commons)
Ten-year-old Evan Adger, an autistic boy who allegedly suffered physical abuse by his behavioral aide at school, now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and should not continue attending public school, his psychiatrist testified in court Wednesday.

The complaint brought against the aide, William Walsh, claims that in 2010, Walsh yelled at the fourth-grader, hit him on the back of the head with a ruler and slammed a pencil box lid on his hand. Evan allegedly endured the abuse for about six weeks.

Evan’s mother, Elizabeth Adger, filed a negligent supervision lawsuit in 2011 against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Inclusive Education and Community Partnership (IECP), the organization that hired Walsh. 

The issue came to Adger’s attention when her son began telling her “Billy’s being mean, I don’t like him,” said Jeffery Wood, Evan’s psychiatrist. 

LAUSD attorney Jason Booth testified on July 18 that police did not find any scratches on Evan’s hand after he was supposedly hit with the box lid, according to Daily News Los Angeles. 

But today Wood denied any possibility Evan had lied. 

“People with autism are very bad liars,” Wood said. “If a kid with autism told a story I didn’t believe, I would think it was a dream or a hallucination.” 

Wood explained he had no evidence that Evan’s claims fell into these categories. 

But Wood said he noticed symptoms of PTSD in Evan a few weeks after the alleged abuse occurred, in January and February of 2010. He recommended that his patient begin a “house-hospital program,” during which Evan would receive treatment at home while a teacher brought him the missed work.

“If a kid has autism, he’s more susceptible to PTSD,” Wood said. 

Wood said that in addition to the claims of abuse he thought Evan would thrive more at a “non-public” school because still falls behind his peers socially and academically. 

Wood also denied that Evan's condition was a result of the custody battle between his parents. He claimed he had yet to diagnose a case of PTSD stemming from such family problems; thereby reinforcing the case that Evan had experienced trauma outside the home.

ICEP attorney Margaret Holm testified on July 18 that the company had performed a background check on Walsh before hiring him, but also said that she did not think he had worked with many autistic children before, according to StudioCity Patch.


Reach Staff Reporter Anne Artley here



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