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DELMAR: One family's fight

This is the first of a two-part series.

Through a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, the parents of 13-year-old Jonathan Carey say they are trying to right a wrong.

The parents of the autistic child are currently involved in a civil suit against Jonathan's former school, which they say caused lasting mental and physical damage to their son. They are hoping the lawsuit sets an example that leads to genuine reform at schools that care for the mentally and physically disabled.

They are also seeking new state legislation to open up doors to information about investigation results that can be crucial to parents of disabled children.

Jonathan's parents, Michael and Lisa Carey, contend that the boy's time spent at the Anderson School has forever changed him.

He was not the same boy remotely that he was before he went to that school, said Michael Carey.

The two parties recently went through depositions in a civil suit in which the Careys are seeking $5.75 million in damages from the school.

At his office at Bethlehem's Solo Auto Sales, which Michael Carey owns and operates, he and his wife, Lisa, weave a story of abuse, neglect and misinformation at the hands of the staff at the Anderson School, a private school located in Staatsburg, a small hamlet in Dutchess County.

The school is a residential program that provides high-quality programs for children and adults with autism and other develop-mental disabilities.

The Careys' story as caretakers of a child with special needs began long before their son's alleged abuse. Jonathan was diagnosed with a form of autism early in life, after he began to shows signs of mental retardation including poor balance, hyperactivity and lack of communication skills.

Jonathan started treatment at the age of 2, and he was seen regularly by four different therapists. He attended a preschool program designed for special education students and then attended the Wildwood School for children with developmental disabilities until he was 9.

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