It saddens me to say that, while the judge did not agree with the sentence suggested by the jury, he did impose a prison sentence on Reginald “Neli” Latson. You’ll remember that a few weeks ago I posted a link to the Autism Speaks blog regarding the sentencing on Neli’s case. Here it is again for those who missed it (Latson Case) and the blog entry. This misunderstanding got way out of hand and in doing so this young man will spend another 8 1/2 months in jail, in addition to the year he’s already spent there. After that, he will be sent to a treatment facility where he will be forced to “show progress” during his stay or the judge could be sent to prison for the remainder of his ten year sentence. Eight years in prison, if an autistic young man doesn’t “show progress” seems a bit much. This whole case breaks my heart. His inability to communicate is what put him in jail to begin with. Something has to be done to protect our kids, so I will include the identification card from the original blog entry. Maybe if we give our kids a way out, a way to explain themselves to those who don’t understand, maybe we can keep them safe.
Use this ID on a lanyard around your child’s neck or on a safety pin to the inside of their coat or sweater. This gives them the ability to quickly alert authority figures to their disability and a way to help diffuse the situation before it escalates too far for the child/adult with autism to be able control themselves.