Boy’s death highlights need for quality professional development
Posted on June 27th, 2011 by Patricia
I have worked providing residential care for people with autism. It is NOT an easy job. That’s why people who support the residential living experience of individuals with autism need quality professional development. Unfortunately, in too many cases, the only requirements listed for obtaining employment in residential services are a driver’s license and a high school diploma.
This lack of training is evident in a story the New York Times published earlier this month about the horrific death of Jonathan, a 13 year old with autism. Jonathan resided in the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center near Albany New York. The individuals providing support to Jonathon were not trained properly, nor did they have the aptitude to be providing care to individuals with disabilities. This lack of ability resulted in a tragic death. The story reported that the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center received approximately $430,000 per year to provide care for Jonathon — why didn’t this money provide training, supervision and oversight to ensure his safety?
Individuals with disabilities are disenfranchised members of our society. Their lives and well-being must be elevated to being worthy of quality care provided by quality paid professionals. Professionals deserve training and support to meet the needs of those for whom they are providing care. For more than 10 years, the National Association for Residential Providers of Adults with Autism has been crying out for appropriate training for professionals working in residential settings. How many more deaths are needed before we believe that there is a need for intervention?