Kevin Hosseini Autistic Young Man Shunned in Local Community

Judgement

After another sleepless night, I sent this letter to the Superintendent this morning to distribute to his teachers and staff. There seems to be mass hysteria in our community about Kevin, my son who is Autistic. I hope he sends it out.

My son Kevin, seems to have lost his dignity in Carpinteria. Kevin is Autistic. Autism is a neurological difference that affects social and communication. Often people with autism say things that come to their mind with no filter. It is difficult for them to lie. They often repeat things they see on television. This causes much misunderstanding. Kevin has never hurt a teacher.He doesn’t talk of hurting teachers. He doesn’t even mention teachers, except for one teacher he had a crush on.

Kevin checked himself into a mental hospital because he was having difficulty with a medication change. The hospital failed to deliver the correct medications and he went into a state of acute psychoses and shouted out some things that now have been misconstrued and taken out of context.

Unfortunately, Kevin confidentiality while in that hospital has been breached.

This has caused extreme consequences for Kevin. He can’t walk the streets of his home town. Someone tried to keep him from attending his job. He attended it anyway because he has the right to have a job, as do all people with disabilities.

You don’t have to be scared of Kevin anymore. We are trying to facilitate a change of placement to a community which will be supportive of Kevin. I will be moving as well. I’m deeply disappointed in the community of Carpinteria. Please do not harass Kevin if you see him on the street and don’t be afraid of him.

When he graduated from high school last year, all the students stood in applause when he received his diploma. The students know Kevin. They accept him. Unfortunately, the adults seem to have the problem.

“I love Carpinteria,” Kevin said last summer. “When I get older can I buy a house and live here all my life?”

“Maybe you’ll live at Palm Lofts,” I say, “Like other artists.”

“Am I a disappointment?” Kevin asked his dad the other day.

“No, Kevin, why?”

“It seems I made so much work for you.”

Kevin will be moving when we find a better place for him. A loving community who embraces diversity.

I thought I would live in this small town my entire life. But I’ll be moving too.

I don’t want to live in a community that is ruled by fear and not compassion.

Goodbye - Carpinteria

Goodbye – Carpinteria

13 Comments

  • This is utterly heartbreaking. As a society we have to find a way to accept one another with loving kindness, compassion and respect. Embrace the differences with ease and grace, We Are All Connected.

  • Dee DiGioia says:

    This gave e chills and tears. I would love to help you in any way I can. I work tirelessly on my own to try to help create a world of change for all people, all levels of abilities. Come to northern CA – I, too, left a community who shunned me and tried to stop my work on bullying prevention which I began due to my student son the spectrum being bullied (and it turned into something all-encompassing for children of all ages, all abilities and walks in life, and adults too!). But I left to also find where I can continue my work on compassion-building. Let’s collaborate and help change the world one heart at a time! Kevin can help me, and help the world!
    Dee DiGioia, Caring and Courageous Kids

  • Dana Dunaway says:

    This sickens me. Kevin needs our support and compassion, not fearmongering and seclusion. Legislators need to wake up to the myriad of ways these kids’s rights are being violated on a regular basis. My son with autism was also bullied and labelled as dangerous, and was similarly shunned. I was harassed by local authories in Santa Barbara for not removing him from my home. I was threatened with having my parental rights taken away. After a judge ordered me to put him in residential treatment, he died, after his new “caretakers” refused to call 911, when he had a medical emergency.

  • No matter where you go I wish you all peace.

  • Debra: I sm so sorry that you are experiencing such a hard time. It is tough when ignorance overtakes common sense. Consider Culver City – not too large and there are a lot of services here. The best one is about to open (I think you know which one!)

    Please know that I’m thinking of you and your family during this difficult time& don’t hestitate to be in contact if I can help in any way.

  • Merlinos says:

    It seems odd to me that this story appears so one-sided?

    Is Ms. Hosseini telling the whole story?

    Is she giving respect to what might be the very legitimate concerns (and fear) that these public school teachers must feel when they received notice of the violent threats made against them?

    Perhaps the readers of this BLOG should consider that Ms. Hosseini is not the only parent responsible for protecting the safety and the future of their children? Are any of you surprised that violent threats, however mundane they may appear to Ms. Hosseini, would concern a different person (maybe also a parent) who is acting with the best of intentions to insure that they can support their own loved ones into the future.

    Of all those who should be conditioned NOT to rush to judgement, I would have thought that the families of our Autistic community would be less inclined to jump on the BLOG band-wagon without all the facts.

    Ms. Hosseini, I believe understand much of your pain, and I do sympathize with you. We should all demand respect and patience for the challenges our loved ones may require from others. Similarly, I encourage you and your readers to respect the concerns of those who work with our Autistic children. If we don’t, we undermine our ability to make the same demands of others.

    I hope my thoughts will be considered with the best of intentions.

  • Brandy says:

    I am appalled this is going on in my own backyard. I’m just over the hill in Ojai – was diagnosed with ASD in 2010 – and consider myself an autistic self-advocate, writing for ASAN, and recently finished a memoir covering the subject, so surprised I am only just hearing about this. I am incredibly sorry you and your son are having to deal with such ignorance. Any type of prejudice has its roots deep in ignorance which causes fear, and as we know, fear is what tears us (individuals as well as communities) apart. As much as my personal wishes are for you to dig your heals in and be a part of history by making a stand and pulling together awareness not only in your small community of Carpinteria, but also of the world at large, I know your heart and Kevin’s heart will lead you to where you can feel safe, secure, and enjoy your lives exactly as you wish, whether in Carpinteria or not. Our community needs strong people to stand up and make others aware, and that can come in the form of indignation, just as well as finding peace within and around yourself and letting your own happiness radiate out to others. Sometimes the community we seek is our own to create. Best of luck to your family from your neighbor in Ojai.

  • I would love to know all the details of this story. It feels as if alot have been left out.
    Indeed we parents of autistic children see the unbalance in the world towards Special Needs. It beomes a chalange for the entire family from day one. Yet, as a parent of one of the students in a special needs class, I too would have wanted to be notified of the danger your son posses. I have read all your blogs and other sites, and it seems that this teacher and student followed all that was needed to keep them safe from an expressed danger. Maybe your son is not a threat in your eyes, but as we see so often a child with his type autism can get set off without any prior warning.
    A parent can overlook the danger because we are so used to the signs. School shootings are on the rise, just read the papers. Just a couple months back a math teacher in another state was stabbed by a studen while she washed her hands in a school bathroom.
    There are no answers, but a teacher should have a right to protect herself and the other students in her class. At least until a judge has heard all the facts and makes a ruling.
    It is not fair to any child in her class or even your son to have them lift the restraining order before he is cleared. After that all the parents will see that there is no worry. As a parent I can say that your Special Education teacher was only acting as any good parent/educator would have by protecting the student as wll as herself. In this day and age teachers should have some sense of control. I have come to understand that these teachers are working group. They have chosen to work everyday with our kids and don’t have to. They want to!!
    I find it difficult to believe that the teacher would single out your one child unless she/he believes there needs to be more eyes on the situation. Where is the district? Where are the other parents who should be backing you up? It can not be a conspiracy of everyone! Maybe it is time to given this a rest until the system gets a chance to review it.
    I would hate to see another teacher turn in the towel over the accusations of one parent who is not backed by any other parent in the class.

  • Daniel says:

    This is outrageous and unacceptable on several accounts.

    A psychiatric hospital, of all places, failed to administer tne proper dosage of Mr Hosseini’s medications. One can suffer a myriad of withdrawal symptoms, both physical and mental, when doaages are reduced and especially when abruptly cut off. Any ethical psychopharmacologist will closely monitor any increasea or decreases to a patient’s Rx regimen.

    Mr Hosseini had an episode of needless psychosis, NEEDLESS because he had the presence-of-mind to check into a mental hoapital for help in coping with medication adjustments; he did not abruptly stop of his own accord and/or lack of ADL Skills. This abrupt withdrawal manifested itself with “inappropriate” words being uttered by Mr Hosseini. Due to this young man’s diagnosis of autism and mental illness, both symptoms that, even in 2013, are often vilified and misunderstood by MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, Mr Hosseini’s actions have reinforced the unfortunate presupposition that those with neurological abnormalities are, by nature, “dangerous” individuals.

    This unmitigated violation of HIPAA has caused Mr Hosseini and his family to be labeled as “pariahs” in their small, California town. Mr Hosseini, who wanted to be gainfully employed, was been BULLIED into essentially not being seen nor heard in Carpenteria. That’s right, Kevin Hosseini is under a de facto state of house arrest due to the actions of a group of IGNORANT ADULTS!

    Kevin was accepted and embraced FOR WHO HE IS by his High School peers. Kevin also, prior to this (what should be) unfathomable) incidnet, expresed his desire to spend his adult life in the community in which he grew uo, where he was liked and accepted by his classmates.

    The young men and women of Carpenteria are the ones who have served as exemplars of appropriate behavior., of tolerance, of acceptance, of respect. The so-called “grown ups” need to take heed,

  • Dear Debra, Kevin and Dad

    I was so sad to read this post this moring, christmas eve for me. I cannot even think of words to say or comort to offer. Please give my love to Kevin and remind him that although the people of Carpentaria may not accept diversity, there are many people, thank goodness, all over the world who do. Although I do not know Kevin personally, the work that you Debra and your husband, have done for the artists of autism speak for itself. Kevin is a fine young man who has done so much to show what strengths there are in diversity. He will never be a disappointment. One sees a young man who has overcome many barriers to become the person he is. All my love and the compliments of the season to you all. Love Moyra

  • Debbie says:

    To the person Dmoll, you seem to know a lot about what’s been going on so I wish you would identify yourself. I would love to know the other side of this story. I’ve asked many times. It is not okay for a Special Education teacher to turn others in the class against another student (parents included) or to tell others in the class confidential informatino. Kevin made an indirect threat while in a Mental Hospital. The teacher didn’t conduct a required meeting upon his release. He’s never made a direct threat to this teacher or has never hit her (as she misreported to the attending physician).

    Kevin never talks about these teachers. Federal law has procedures that were not followed upon his release. I’m just going by the law. I would love if others would comment about this case from the community because I want to know what’s being said.

  • I have been watching this story unfold since the EdHat article left me mystified with all the questions it left unanswered. Since doing further research I cannot understand why this is being framed as an issue with Autism when it is clearly an issue with Schizoaffective disorder. I have read absolutely everything I could find on this story in the last few weeks, and the message you have conveyed to me is this:

    “My son has Schizoaffective disorder. I decided to try taking him off the medication that prevents him from screaming about harming people. Why does his Autism not exempt him from the consquences of this decision?”

    That’s it. The reality is that your son is the size of an adult and has the exact same capacity to cause harm as any able-bodied adult. He has a psychotic disorder and has the exact same risk of causing harm as any other individual with a psychotic disorder when he is not receiving appropriate treatment for his disorder.

    It seems as though the medical and educational community of Carpenteria is doing exactly what you’ve been campaigning for, they are looking beyond Kevin’s autism and treating him the same way they would treat everyone else in this situation. They are taking precautions to keep everyone safe. There is no mass hysteria, there is no rejection, there is only the logical and predictable consequences of a Schizoaffective individual being taken off an effective medication.

    Your efforts to conflate the issue with Kevin’s autism have misled many people, and I feel this does everyone involved a disservice. What is your goal here? Is it to see that Kevin’s Austism grants him special privileges and exceptions?

    Do you want your son to live in a world in which Austistic people are accepted and treated the same as everyone else?

    Then why are you shouting “But my child is SPECIAL! He deserves to be treated DIFFERENTLY!”?

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you for an interesting summary interpretation of my stories. It isn’t at all what I’m conveying. My son changed meds because of liver issues. This was a difficult transition. And the medication change didn’t involve schizo-affective disorder – it was related to seizures. If you research transitioning off of Depakote on the internet you can see much information about how difficult it is to get off of this med and onto another med that may be less toxic to the liver. Regardless, people with disabilities are protected under The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Persons with developmental disabilities are allowed to go to school until age 22 and have the same IDEA rights to facilitate education as younger students. I’m not going to get into details of the violations that have occurred. There are many regulatory agencies who protect the civil rights of people with developmental disabilities.

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