I am a Brit living in Kazakhstan, over the last year I have seen on three occasions a near neighbor of ours frog marching a 10-14 year old boy down the road with his arms firmly tied behind his back from elbow to wrist.
I spoke to another neighbor about it and she said that the boy was this woman’s ((the frog marcher) eldest daughter’s son, i.e. her grandson. The eldest daughter does not live with them.
The woman looked stressed at the time and the boy seemingly reluctantly complying.
I have not approached this woman as I do not know what I am getting into.
The neighbor I spoke to said that she had heard the boy was autistic.
Any advice out there please?
I'm not sure what the laws are like in Kazakhstan, but that definitely sounds abusive to me. I can't even get my arms to touch elbow to wrist at the back (though to be fair I may be being impeded by my dodgy neck/shoulder area at the moment), that sounds painful D: I would feel obliged to step in somehow if I saw that happen, but I totally understand if you don't feel able to talk to her directly; is there a group akin to the NSPCC out there you could speak to? The authorities sounds like the place to go, whoever they may be.If you do end up saying something directly, prepare to meet a hostile reaction; she might see you as a soft foreigner interfering in things that are none of your business, but I would certainly feel unable to let that sort of behaviour go unchallenged towards any child.Perhaps it would be better to approach with an offer of help/information re. autism if what you've heard is true?
That high-control approach to discipline is no good for an autistic kid whether or not there is physical abuse accompanying it, we absolutely don't deal well with confrontation and there is the potential for real psychological damage there. Just shocked to hear about this TBH. D:
I do not know enough about the culture or the situation to say whether this is abusive. It could be the grandmother's only way of getting the boy to school or a doctor, which she sees as in his interest.
Emma said:Perhaps it would be better to approach with an offer of help/information re. autism if what you've heard is true?
That also might help actually find out more about the situation to see if there are alternatives.
Thanks for your response. There are laws in Kz regarding child care. There has even been an autism forum here in Astana. There is a child line 111, that can be used. My daughter called that number and they said that they could put the ‘complaint’ to the commission level and send people to the house to check conditions!
I’m the neighbor and who knows what the comeback might be from that type of ‘official’ intervention??
I know, it's an extremely difficult situation. All I can tell you is what I'd do in that situation, but as someone working in education I do feel obliged to report it if I suspect a child is being mistreated. I understand that it's a different situation for you being abroad and not being professionally obliged in that way and I understand if you feel you can't risk the consequences. At the end of the day she may suspect and there may be some flak but generally those sorts of things are technically anonymous so she would never know for sure who called if you chose to deny it.
I posted a reply but it didn’t seem to save.
Thanks again for your response:)
My biggest concern is: If she is OK with treating the child this way in public, what’s happening behind closed doors?
For info: I am a 72 year old male who has assisted in bringing up 4 rumbunctious kids, now aged 18 - 34.
I somehow need to get my head round this and pick the right path.
"If she is OK with treating the child this way in public, what’s happening behind closed doors?"Well yes, nail hit on the head. I don't imagine he's having the best time of it. :( Poor lad.Hope you can find a way to deal with this situation that works for you, it cannot be pleasant to live close to.
If you decide to approach with an offer of assistance rather than going straight for the official channels (Plus points: this approach generally has you on better terms with your neighbour, there's a chance to information-gather, and it's the education route rather than the heavy handed one. Minus: If it did escalate to a point you had to tell someone it would be more obvious it was you) we have plenty of collective knowledge on autism and strategies that actually work with autistic kids here on the forum at your disposal.
Best of luck! x
OK, I now have a bit more information:
He is not 10-14 he is 18 years old.
they tie his hands behind is back, because if they don’t he lashes out at people.
He has had some form of therapy but it didn’t work.
He is now seeing a different specialist.
These are their words, not mine: He’s just crazy so we have to tie him up
Not my words: He cannot speak, he ‘grunts’ like monkey.
Difficult. I wonder if there's any autism acceptance in Kazakhstan> One hopes the new specialist can reassure the family and intervene with them. There are some quite 'therapies' too, and arguably physical restraint is better than chemical restraint.
A point I'd put to the family is that it's possible that with the right help he may find a way to communicate, by music, say, or with some communication aids like Naoki Higashida.