BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - - Young people dealing with Autism or Asperger Syndrome often face an uphill battle in the classroom. One family's struggle with schooling and takes a look at how schools handle the challenge of teaching these special students.
When Tim Miller started coming home from school in sixth grade telling his parents horror stories, they didn't know what to think.
John Miller, Tim's Father, said, "Our son was coming home and telling us the school was trying to kill him - with his communication deficits at the time he didn't know how to say he was being restrained."
John Miller says his son, who has Asperger Syndrome or a higher functioning form of autism, was being put in prone restraints when he acted out in class. Although he admits Tim, then 12, had behavioral issues, he believes the school went too far.
Tim Miller, teen with Asperger Syndrome, said, "I remember they just grabbed me and put me into the room or whatever and I remember they had the mat and just threw me to the ground."
John Miller, Tim's Father, said, "Every time they restrained my son, they were stepping outside of their training."
Summit Educational Resources CEO Dr. Stephen Anderson says in general restraints are a last resort.
Dr. Stephen Anderson, Summit Educational Resources CEO, said, "Restraint is the emergency procedure, it's the back up, it's the thing you may have to do if all else fails and there's a risk to the individual or others."
But the Millers say the restraints were just part of their problem with the Allegany-Limestone Central School District.
John Miller, Tim's Father, said, "Crucial in this whole thing are the denied services. Allegany-Limestone Central Schools I believe intentionally mis-classified my son for six years."
Miller says if Tim had been classified as autistic when he was diagnosed, he would have received the social, behavioral, and educational services he needs.
But Dr. Anderson says that may not be the case in public schools.
Dr. Stephen Anderson, Summit Educational Resources CEO, said, "If a kid is achieving academically, I'm not sure what their responsibility is after that, we'd all like them to embrace and do more, but their resources are limited as well."
He says it's a difficult balance for schools to meet the needs of children with autism or Asperger Syndrome while not disrupting the education of other children.
Dr. Stephen Anderson, Summit Educational Resources CEO, said, "I don't think school districts have ever seen this with the frequency that they're starting to see it now because they're keeping kids with more challenging behaviors within the context."
Both the Allegany-Limestone Superintendent and the school's attorney would not comment because of privacy issues and because Tim Miller's case is currently in litigation.
An impartial hearing on the matter was overturned, and it is now headed to federal court.