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Indian couple in US sued for calling autistic son ‘public nuisance’

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photo credit: indianexpress.com

Washington: After alleging that their autistic son is a “public nuisance”, an Indian couple was arrested in California, according to a media report.

photo credit: www.autismepicenter.com
photo credit: www.autismepicenter.com

Vidyut Gopal and Parul Agrawal got slapped with a lawsuit filed by their two neighbours. They were ultimately forced to leave their home of seven years in Sunnyvale, one of the major cities that make up Silicon Valley, the San Jose Mercury News reported on Thursday.

Gopal who is an engineer at a Silicon Valley company said, “This has been pretty devastating for us, but we are doing our best to cope with it,”

The couple’s hired caregivers gave the boy special medication and put him in therapeutic classes after neighbours complained about the young boy pulling children’s hair, biting a woman and other menacing behaviour.

Last year, the couple was slapped with a lawsuit that alleges the boy’s disruptive behaviour created an “as-yet unquantified chilling effect on the otherwise ‘hot’ local real estate market” and that “people feel constrained in the marketability of their homes as this issue remains unresolved and the nuisance remains unabated”.

To the Indian-origin parents’ dismay, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge last October issued a preliminary injunction against them to ensure their son does not strike, assault, or batter anyone in the neighbourhood or their personal property.

Next week, a judge will hear arguments about whether the plaintiffs should have access to the boy’s school and medical records.

Agrawal, a research scientist at NASA Ames Research Centre, said they remain focused on helping their son. But they hope this case “will raise awareness about autism and educate the public” about the challenges that families of children with autism face.

Parents of children with autism fear that such lawsuits could be slapped against them as well.

“What scared us in the Bay Area is that there are thousands of kids just like this one,” Jill Escher, president of the board of the Autism Society of the San Francisco Bay Area, was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Gopal and Agrawal have decided not to return to their former home, which they have now rented to another family.

(with inputs from IANS)

Next Story

Know How Ohio Teenager Defined His Anti-Vaccine Mother, Believing It Caused Autism

Lindenberger first made headlines late last year when he posted a message on social media saying "My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme ... God knows how I'm still alive," and asked for guidance on how to protect himself.

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Lindenberger
Ethan Lindenberger testifies during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines, focusing on preventable disease outbreaks. VOA

An Ohio teenager who defied his anti-vaccine mother and received shots against several dangerous diseases was the star witness at a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger said he did his own research and concluded his mother is wrong in believing vaccines are unsafe and cause autism.

Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019.
Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019. VOA

Lindenberger said his mother’s “love, affection and care are apparent” but said his school in Norwalk, Ohio, saw him as a “health threat” because of the danger he could become sick with a contagious disease.

He testified that his own research convinced him vaccines are safe, but still failed to convince his mother.

Without her approval, Lindenberger got himself inoculated against hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, human papillomavirus, polio, and measles, mumps and rubella.

He said his mother still turns to what he calls “illegitimate sources that instill fear into the public.”

Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines.
Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines. VOA

Lindenberger first made headlines late last year when he posted a message on social media saying “My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme … God knows how I’m still alive,” and asked for guidance on how to protect himself.

Also Read: TikTok Addicted India Before Elections

He said thousands of other kids posted similar statements and said he wants youngsters to know that they do not always need their parents’ permission to get vaccinated.

Tuesday’s Senate hearing on vaccines was called, in part, to address an outbreak of measles.

There are 200 known cases in 11 states so far this year with the Pacific Northwest hardest hit. (VOA)