Troubling Treatment: Family concerned after therapist is seen on video pinning down child with autism

(WSVN) - He has autism. His mother then saw a video of a therapist throwing her son to the ground over and over, even bruising him. And what did the therapist think of his treatment? Well, you watch and see what Patrick Fraser uncovered in our special assignment report “Troubling Treatment.”

From the moment Bryan was born, life has been tough for him.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia, Bryan’s mother: “He had jaundice when he was born and pyloric stenosis.”

Now, Bryan is 11 and has several severe medical issues, including autism.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia: “You have to feed him. You have to bathe him. You have to dress him.”

Bryan can’t communicate very well, but at home, he is happy because of his loving parents and a caring sister.

Hannah Chin, Bryan’s sister: “It’s really great. He’s really cheerful. He brightens up the place.”

And then one day, Bryan and Hannah came home from school.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia: “Bryan and Hannah were crying.”

That day, Hannah heard Bryan screaming in another room.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia: “Hannah told me, ‘I saw Bryan’s therapist on top of Bryan for a very long time.'”

Watch the video as the therapist at the private school brings Bryan into the room and pins him up against a wall. Bryan kicks at him.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia: “So Bryan hit him because he has autism. Hitting and behavior and behavior tantrums — it’s part of autism.”

The therapist then pushes Bryan to the floor, lets him up three more times and pushes him to the floor three more times while pinning his arms to his chest to try to hold him down. He then appears to sit on the 55-pound child.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia: “It was so painful to watch that someone, who is certified, to do these things to my baby.”

When Bryan tries to bite the therapist, he covers the mouth of a child who suffers from asthma.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia: “He wasn’t breathing. I heard him, like…” *inhales and exhales*

Bryan’s body was left with several bruises.

And his protective sister, who had peeked through the curtain, was left feeling guilty she didn’t do anything.

Hannah Chin: “I couldn’t help him in any way, and I just saw him on the floor.”

Vanessa Cabrera, owner of Limitless Learning: “He shouldn’t be grabbing the child, pushing him against the wall. He shouldn’t be placing him on the ground like that.”

We then showed the video to Vanessa Cabrera, a board certified behavior analyst.

Vanessa Cabrera: “There is no reason for him to be on top of him, for him to be pulling him. It’s very dangerous. He’s just kicking and screaming on the floor. The therapist could have just stood back and waited him out.”

Cabrera said the bottom line is you only restrain children when they are a threat to themselves or others, and she doesn’t think Bryan was either of those things.

Daniel Victoria disagrees.

Daniel Victoria, treated Bryan: “I believe that I handled the situation well.”

Victoria is a therapist who works under the supervision of a doctor who treats children with autism at the school. Victoria said he felt like he was in danger.

Daniel Victoria: “Yes. Yes, I did. He was trying to hurt me, OK?”

The only way to stop Bryan, he said, was to hold him down.

Daniel Victoria: “He became aggressive. In that behavior, he might hurt himself or he might hurt another person.”

And Victoria said his bosses had no problem with the steps he took.

Daniel Victoria: “They have seen the video, and they have come to the conclusion that I handled the situation the best way possible.”

Yudania took Bryan out of the school, then called the police and Child Protective Services about Bryan’s treatment.

Both agencies told Yudania they didn’t see anything wrong with what the therapist did to Bryan. Yudania said it’s because her son has autism.

Yudania Rodriguez Garcia: “If you’re a typical kid, and you’re having a tantrum, they would have left you alone.”

But Bryan is not a typical kid, and Yudania said this should not be the typical treatment for a child with autism.

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