A Wisconsin autism therapist was caught on hidden camera video allegedly physically abusing a three-year-old boy.
Caeden Lowe’s parents grew concerned that he didn’t seem to be making much progress in his in-home therapy sessions, so they installed a webcam to see what was going on in real time on their iPad.
The extremely disturbing footage reportedly showed the therapist, who worked for Austism Intervention of Milwaukee, allegedly smacking Caeden — who has severe autism — in the head, throwing him on the couch, and even head-butting him during the therapy sessions in the family basement.
The therapist in question now faces charges of abusing a child during a therapy session. Police say the investigation into the matter is still open, although no other incidents have emerged. The therapist, identified in multiple media accounts as Stephen T. Jacobs, 27, “told investigators he was studying for a college exam on his computer and does not recall assaulting Caeden Lowe.”
His employer says that it is in process of evaluating its other therapists in light of these allegations.
Caeden’s mom Stephanie said that “If I hadn’t put a video camera downstairs we would’ve never known.” She added that “It’s about my son. He deserves the therapy he was promised. And he deserves more than they gave him. And this could be happening anywhere.”
Austim, a brain development disorder, is characterized “by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors,” according to Autism Speaks, and symptoms usually emerge between ages two and three. “[Autism Spectrum Disorder] can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.”
Approximately one in 88 US children are considered on the autism spectrum, and it is more prevalent among boys than girls.