Mom claims son was abused during autism therapy

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wyoming mother is warning other parents about a private company after she says a behavior technician hurt her son, who has autism.

Fourteen-year-old Ahjani Ely-Clark's mother said that last year, he hit a breaking point.

"He was hospitalized last year in a mental health crisis," Danielle Ely-Venn told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.

It was recommended that Ahjani start receiving what's called applied behavior analysis, or ABA, therapy. Kent County's mental health agency Network180 contracts with a company called Centria, which runs autism therapy in several states, to provide that service.

When Ahjani started sessions this summer, his mother said it went badly — and fast.

"Within the first 30 days, my child was abused," Ely-Venn said.

She claims the worker, a behavior technician who 24 Hour News 8 is not identifying because she has not been charged, abused her son at least three times: twice at their home in Wyoming and once at the Centria facility off Alpine Ave NW.

"In one of those instances, the lady abused him and took his arm and pulled it down and twisted it," Ely-Venn said.

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