DELMAR: One family's fight

Following his time at Wildwood, his parents said they made the decision in January 2003 to send their son away to school when, at the age of 9, he had still not demonstrated the ability to perform the most basic of tasks that other kids his age could do; for instance, he was not effectively toilet-trained.

The Anderson School came highly recommended to the Glenmont residents, who have another son, Joshua, 9, who is not autistic. The Careys heard it had, among other things, an excellent toilet-training program.

The decision to send their son to a residential program away from home, even if it may have been better for him in the long run, was difficult, said the parents, and weekend visits were especially hard.

"Him watching us walk away was very difficult," said Michael Carey.

But their son, they were told, was making progress.

"He was doing pretty well, making a lot of gains, as far as we know," said Lisa, adding that Jonathan was dressing himself and was using the toilet 50 percent of the time.

In September 2004, the parents first learned that something might be awry.

"We had a few sporadic calls that Jonathan was taking off his shirt," said Michael Carey. "It was a new thing; we'd never seen it before."

The next month, Michael said, the school's director Neil Pollack called the parents and said Jonathan was in a "crisis situation," experiencing emotional difficulties. Later that day, the school's nurse said Jonathan had bruises all over his body. The Careys said the nurse did not reveal the extent of the bruising.

Michael drove to Staatsburg first thing the next morning. When he arrived, he said, there was an aide stationed outside the door to Jonathan's room.

Inside the room, Michael said, his son was lying naked on his bed, on top of only a sheet, which was soaked in urine. When his son finally looked up at his father, Michael described the look as "shell-shocked."

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