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Autistic Discrimination
updated: Dec 14, 2013, 8:00 PM

Written by Debra Hosseini

Debra Hosseini, Carpinteria resident, was outraged yesterday when her son Kevin Hosseini, 19, received a restraining order from the Sheriff's Office. The Restraining Order was on behalf of his Special Education teacher, a special education aide, and a student.

Kevin attends the SEALS transition program for young adults with developmental disabilities. It is a program which teaches life skills under the Special Education Department of Carpinteria Unified School District. The program is new this year. Kevin is autistic. People with autism often say whatever comes into their head. They have no filter. It is difficult for autistic people to lie. They often repeat things seen on television. Kevin has never directly threatened the teacher or aide. The threat was made indirectly when Kevin experienced a difficult medication change while at Aurora Vista Del Mar hospital. On the day Kevin went into the hospital his teacher expressed surprise sending an email saying how well Kevin was doing in the SEALS program that year.

Students with developmental disabilities are protected under federal laws. The School District failed many federally mandated Safeguards and Procedures when Kevin was released from the hospital. Kevin visited Dr. Robert Nagy the day after his release. Dr. Nagy expressed pleasure at Kevin's progress.

Kevin should have been allowed to return to school, but instead was put on "home hospital," with another aide, Eric.

Eric decided to stand by Kevin when the Special Education teacher, another special educator and her aide took out an Emergency Protection Order. Kevin has been under an E.P.O. for the last week. In addition, Kevin was banned from walking on the Middle School or High School campus.

Debra has heard from good sources that another Middle School teacher has told teachers and staff to call 911 if Kevin goes on the campus.

Kevin can't walk many of the streets in his home community.

In the last week the Special Education teacher filed a complaint with Santa Barbara City College, which suspended Kevin from attending his classes. Kevin and his aide Eric, were told to leave campus on Monday, by Superintendent Paul Cordeiro.

Kevin had to make special arrangements with Santa Barbara City College to complete his P.E. class and take his College Success final. Kevin is the only student in the SEALS program to take an academic class.

On Thursday, Kevin was told he could not attend his regular job at Giovanni's Pizza. Debra had to call the Sheriff's office to arrange Kevin to attend his job.

"Kevin is the Rosa Parks of autism," Debra says.

The Sheriff who served Kevin said, "The Captain will stand behind Kevin in court. This woman is way out of line."

Debra Hosseini thinks that this Special Education teacher has taken advantage of Kevin's breakdown to avenge a complaint she made about the teacher 18 months ago. The Hosseini family feels isolated in Carpinteria. Debra feels that this teacher has turned the entire community against her family and Kevin.

"I'm very disappointed, even people who I thought were Kevin's friends have turned their back on him and believe he is dangerous. It seems many people lack compassion."

Kevin has been doing better than ever. He finished his College Success class with a "B."

"Mom, how long do I have to stay away from them?" Kevin asks. "Can I talk to them when I'm twenty- five?"

"We haven't told Kevin very much about this, "Debra says. We don't want him to feel bad about his disability.

Debra is seeking a residential placement for Kevin in a different community.

"I want Kevin to reside in a loving, compassionate community which embraces differences," Debra says. Debra is contemplating moving out of Carpinteria herself. "I never knew so many people hated us," she said.

In the meantime, Kevin and his aide Eric, work on life skills two hours a day at a mobile park recreation room.

"I'm disappointed that they didn't give him the same hours as the other students because his dad and I have had to rearrange our schedule so someone is with Kevin the rest of the day."

Debra says, "I don't know why these teachers are so afraid. Kevin never even talks about [them]."

Kevin has an appointment on Tuesday to talk to the Dean of Students at City College about his "bad behavior."

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Debra has set up a Facebook page for Kevin and is also the founder of The Art of Autism www.the-art-of-autism.com a collaborative of over 300 artists, poets, entertainers, and authors on the autism spectrum. The Art of Autism focuses on the gifts of people on the autism spectrum and has exhibits and presentations throughout the United States and Canada.

Kevin is an artist who has art on display at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. Kevin's website is www.kevingallery.com

 

 

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