Other People's Words

Interview w/ Melissa Mooney

Posted in Uncategorized by Tera on December 26, 2010

Warning: Discussion of child abuse

This is a transcript of Autism Women’s Network’s interview with Melissa Mooney, a woman with AS who witnessed child abuse while student teaching and has been attacked for reporting it.

[Music]

Sharon daVanport: Good day, and welcome to AWN radio. We are the Autism Women’s Network on Blogtalk. I am your host, Sharon daVanpor, and I’d like to thank all of you for joining us on this special Thursday edition of AWN radio. Today is December 23, 2010, and our guest for today, Melissa Mooney, will be joining us in just a couple of minutes. I have just a few quick announcements. AWN radio will be back this coming Monday at our regularly scheduled time. Our guest will be Temple Grandin. We’re happy to have Temple back on the show with us, and this time, she will be discussing harnessing the power within your child by tapping into their full potential. So we look forward to having Temple back on the show again.

Lastly, we will not be opening up the phone lines today for incoming calls or have the chat room up. AWN radio decided after speaking to our guest Melissa’s attorney, along with taking into consideration the uncalled for opposition that she has faced after coming forward and reporting the child abuse, she states that she witnessed that it would indeed be best for all parties involved if we followed the suggested protocol.

Our guest today, Melissa Mooney, was a student teacher doing her internship when she reported abuse going on in the school where she was earning her credit hours. Instead of Melissa being appreciated for her bravery in coming forward, she was instead ruthlessly attacked, accused of lying. Comments she made years ago were taken out of context, and attempts to use these statements against her have been ongoing. Melissa’s an adult diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Melissa further states that her credibility has been called into question, as a form of attempting to discredit her by those whom she reported for abusing disabled students. So I’d like for all of you to join me in welcoming to AWN radio Melissa Mooney. Welcome to the show, Melissa.

Melissa Mooney: Hi.

Sharon daVanport: Hi. Thank you for being with us today. First of all, Melissa, before we actually get into what happened during your internship, perhaps you could speak to what’s going on currently in your life. I know that you’re involved in what you say is a really awesome program for adults with autism at your college, is that correct?

Melissa Mooney: Yeah. I recently discovered a program called the Center for Adults with Autism, and it has made a humongous difference in my life.
It’s provided great support, great socialization and activities, and it’s just wonderful. I really enjoy taking part in that every week or every couple weeks.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. So is it a support group that you actually attend, then?

Melissa Mooney: Yeah. It has a combination of things. It has a social group, where we play games and stuff. It has a group specifically for women on the spectrum, and it has little classes, such as socialization and communication building, and [adventure?] pursuits, which is like a [unknown] course. It really helps people reach their potential.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that sounds really nice. That’s really good. And you also shared with me last week that you’re currently doing some outpatient care at John Hopkins?

Melissa Mooney: Yes. I have a wonderful team at Johns Hopkins. I go there to talk to a counselor and then I have an excellent occupational therapist, and we do a lot of activities for that. Since beginning professional life, I really stepped things up there, and it’s been very beneficial to be in that kind of treatment.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that’s nice. Academically and socially, it seems like you must have a lot of strengths, Melissa, to be able to just multitask and do some of the things that you’re doing. If you had to name some of your strengths academically and socially, what would you say those are?

Melissa Mooney: Well, obviously, working with children and especially children with special needs. When I was a kid, I always hung out with kids younger than me because I liked to help them. In high school I was always elected to mentor fellow classmates who had disabilities.

Sharon daVanport: Okay.

Melissa Mooney: I love helping people. I love to give advice when someone’s having difficulty with something. I can’t really say that I have many other social strengths. I do struggle socially. But academically, I love school. And since receiving proper understanding way back in high school, I’ve made honors and Dean’s Lists, and I just love learning.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that’s awesome. It’s really great, Melissa. So what are some of the reasons why you chose going into education as a choice for your career?

Melissa Mooney: Even though I worked well with children in the past, I began pursuing a medical career at first, because I really love medicine and relative sciences. However, I started volunteering at local schools and discovrered that I worked well with children who were struggling from one thing or another. Once I started pursuing education, I was faced with skeptics who said: “How can someone who is disabled truly help others who are disabled? It’s the blind leading the blind,” etc.

But then I watched a lecture given by Temple Grandin which really inspired me, and I sent her an e-mail. She helped me to realize that there is no better person to help children on the spectrum and adults who are on the spectrum because of the firsthand experiences and understanding. Ever since then, I’ve known that this is my calling.

Sharon daVanport: I understand that. I can relate as a parent, personally, to what you just shared with all of us. I’ve been told by the professional in the life of my child who’s on the spectrum that there’s a definite connection that is witnessed between my child and myself, with me being on the spectrum and my child being on the spectrum. There is just a definite connection that you have. It’s like an unspoken, kindred connection. You get it. I can see where you’d really flow very well, especially because you naturally work well with children, like you said.

Let’s talk a little bit about your internship, so we can lead up to what was going on. Tell us a bit about why you chose this particular school to do your internship.

Melissa Mooney: Well, interns don’t really pick their placement. They’re assigned to the placement.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, okay.

Melissa Mooney: And I was assigned to a public elementary middle school in Baltimore City, and [unkown] classroom of three year olds, and the morning class was all autism and the afternoon class was mixed disabilities with autism.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. You started this immediately during the fall semester. Is that correct?

Melissa Mooney: We did about a week of orientation at the elementary school, getting used to the school and how they do things. The actual internship working with the children came the week after that.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, all right. So let’s go ahead and get on into some of these allegations then, Melissa, so that you can kind of paint a picture and explain to everyone exactly what it is that you began to witness. Start wherever you want, wherever you feel comfortable.

Melissa Mooney: Well, if a child lost focus, which is common in three year olds anyway, but if they lost focus or turned around during carpet time, the teacher would yank at them, pull them around and shout in their face. This would just go on repeatedly until she was actually picking them up by their wrists off the ground and really shoving them hard into the carpet. I don’t mean picking them up to replace them in their spot; I mean being really rough. The longer time went on, the more rough she got. It got to the point where she was manhandling out of anger and frustration. You could seee the anger and frustration on her face.

We did a lot of sorting activities and she worked one at a time. While she worked one at a time, other students became restless. Again, this is typical of any three year old. But when the students did get restless or turned around in their chair, she would shout at them again. One particular boy who kept standing up, he wasn’t going out into the classroom. He was just standing up, and she kept shoving him back into his chair. I don’t mean lightly; she was pushing him, and I was actually afraid that the chair was going to tip over.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Melissa Mooney: And then after a while, she got so angry she hit him on the top of his head. And I don’t mean tapped—she hit him on the top of his head. It was upsetting to watch. I myself had trouble not crying when I saw that. But she yelled over and over at the kids and was losing control. Another boy would echo her, and I’m not sure if it was his disability, but the parent later told me he does do that, after a while. She shouted at him, too, got in his face and would shout: “You’d better stop repeating what I say.”

Sharon daVanport: The teacher would say that? She would say that to a little boy? She would say to him when he would repeat her: “You’d better stop repeating what I say”? She demanded that he stop?

Melissa Mooney: Yes.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Melissa Mooney: And I mean in his face and yelled. I don’t mean told him. Red in the face, gritting her teeth, got in his face and yelled it. I was scared. And the same little boy would start playing with toys, because she was using toys to do these sorting activities and these kids want to play with the toys. So he was reaching for the toys, and so she took her hand and just jabbed him hard into the shoulder. He has cerebral palsy on one side of his body, so obviously, it really upset him.

Another time, she was using a little doll. It was a bear with red eyes. It was creepy and she was using it for an activity, and the little boy was terrified, terrified: ran across the room crying, and so she threw it at him.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my goodness.

Melissa Mooney: One of the little girls who had autism, she was always asking for juice. The little girl was overweight and the teacher would always comment about it, saying she doesn’t need juice. But the little girl just kept saying: “Juice,” and so at lunchtime the teacher took the little girl’s lunchbox and put it directly out of reach when she was in a restraining chair and said: “Now what are you going to do?” And just left it there. So she was trying to get it and she just sat back, laughing.

Sharon daVanport: Before you go on, I’m interested in hearing…You said that the little girl was in a restraining chair? The teacher put her in a restraining chair?

Melissa Mooney: Yes. Every single day. This little girl had autism and she stimmed a lot, she couldn’t sit still, and there were times I said, “Put the weighted vest on her.” That would help when she was wearing the weighted vest, but the teacher didn’t want to do any of that. She would immediately go to the restraining chair because she was angry and wanted to get the child out of her hair, it seemed. And she left the little girl in that chair the entire class time—would set her off to the side and not let her partake in activities, which was sad. Even if you’re going to put her in that chair, at least give her something to do.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Melissa Mooney: But she would just leave her there. It wasn’t necessary, in my opinion.

Sharon daVanport: Right. And I didn’t mean to interrupt you. You were also going to go on and tell about another incident, after you had mentioned about the juice.

Melissa Mooney: Yeah. The one incident that scared me the most was, we were doing carpet time and there was a little girl who the teacher said they suspected she had an intellectual disability. Even simple commands, she just looked and didn’t seem to register what you were saying to her. So the little girl just kept standing up and trying to move away sometimes after a while. And of course she would get dragged across the carpet and yelled at. And then after a while, the teacher kicked her in the abdomen. The little girl stood up in front of the teacher and the teacher just kicked her right in the abdomen and knocked her backwards.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my goodness.

Melissa Mooney: I don’t mean lightly put her foot, pressed it down. I mean kicked her and got very red in the face—just really angry. So the little girl, of course, became really sad and was just fidgeting with her shoes for the rest of the time. The teacher got angry at that, too, and grabbed the little girl’s shoes and threw them against the wall.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my gosh.

Melissa Mooney: Then after the carpet time, it was lunchtime, and [the teacher,] knowing that the little girl might have an intellectual disability, said to her: “Put your shoes on yourself, or you’re not getting lunch.” So the little girl just sat there while everybody else ate lunch.

Sharon daVanport: And she denied her food?

Melissa Mooney: Yes. It was extremely upsetting to see. The little girl couldn’t put her shoes on. A lot of three year olds…they weren’t velcro, they were shoelaces. So it was upsetting.

Sharon daVanport: Now, Melissa, you’re seeing all of this stuff happen, all within what? The firt day? You’re seeing all this stuff happen the first day or two? Did you approach the teacher herself? Did you go to her and say anything to her about what you were observing, and how it upset you?

Melissa Mooney: I was specifically directed…Even before the internship, we were told by professors in our college not to confront any teacher. If we disagree with something or see something we don’t agree with, to come to our supervisor at the college and bring it up to them instead. And also, I’m not a confrontational person. I was very upset, but I really didn’t want a confrontation. I myself was scared of this womna. So immediately after I left my internship, I went straight to the college and reported it to them.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. So you went through the right channels that you were directed to through the college and reported it.

Melissa Mooney: Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Now, before we move on to the fallout that you’ve experienced, is there anything else you wanted to share with us about any other instances, or is that about it? At least for what you wanted to report?

Melissa Mooney: Yeah, pretty much.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, okay. So let’s move on now. You made the report then at the college, like you were told, to go through those channels, so you did. When you did, can you tell us after the report what happened next?

Melissa Mooney: Well, obviously not what I thought. The first thing that happened, I was pulled into my department chair’s office with my intern supervisor from the college. I was accused of misinterpreting what happened. They said: “Well, your inexperienced, so maybe you’re not familiar with therapeutic strategies.” They just were very disbelieving. I promised that what I witnessed couldn’t be misinterpreted. It wasn’t therapeutic at all.

A week or so later, the dean of education had a meeting with me and my department chair, and he said he didn’t want me to further involve myself in the investigation. He said that I might contaminate it, and that even if my intentions weren’t to make the college look bad, that it would still make them look bad. I continued to tell him: “I thought that the safety of the children was more important was more important.” He started yelling at me and pointing a finger, saying: “How dare you accuse me of not caring?” which wasn’t what I said at all. But a very intimidating meeting.

He continued to then try to scare me by saying: “That teacher could come back and sue you; you’ll lose your career.” It was a very difficult meeting to have. He told me that my internship would be suspended, and that he wanted more details regarding my Asperger’s to determine whether or not I could function as an intern, which had never been an issue until this controversy. But just to appease them because my career’s important to me, I still allowed them to contact my treatment team at Johns Hopkins, because I’m confident and they’re confident that I’m perfectly fine in the classroom.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Melissa Mooney: At the end of this meeting, I specifically asked my department chair if I would get back into an internship, so that I wouldn’t lose too many hours. She assured me that I would be placed in a school before the semester was over, so that I wouldn’t miss too many hours. But after that meeting, I was ignored by the department and given the cold shoulder. I was never placed back into an internship, so now, even if they keep me in the program, which I highly doubt they will, I would still have to take another year of school to meet state requirements for student teaching hours.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. So now, during the first meeting that you had, where they questioned and they asked for information about your Asperger’s Syndrome, was that the first indication that you were given that you knew: “Okay, now they’re starting to show signs that they’re going to attempt to discredit me because of my Asperger’s.” Is that when you actually started thinking that way? Was that at that time, when you did? Or was there any other reason before that that you were given that they might be doing this?

Melissa Mooney: No. It was at that meeting that it really alarmed me. I immediately asked myself in my mind: What does this have to do with what happened in that classroom? What does my diagnosis have to do with what that teacher was doing to those children? It was completely irrelevant, so I had to think to myself: “What is their motivation for this to suddenly be a problem? All these professors know me. I’ve been in the school for a while, getting good grades, supported by teachers. And all of a sudden, they’re using my diagnosis to say: “We’re going to have to look into whether you can pull this off or not—whether you’re appropriate for this program.”

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Melissa Mooney: It’s never been an issue before.

Sharon daVanport: Do you feel confident that your team at Johns Hopkins was able to step up to the plate and advocate for you on your behalf, and assure them that you were indeed competent in your internship and they were behind you? Do you feel that that was handled to your satisfaction?

Melissa Mooney: To my satisfaction at this point. Initially, I allowed them to speak to a particular person over at Johns Hopkins, but ever since then, I really haven’t gotten Johns Hopkins as involved in that—asking them to advocate for me, or get involved in the controversy at this point. With the people from the university working against me rather than with me, I’m not sure how helpful it would be for them to advocate for me. I don’t think right now it will make a difference.

Sharon daVanport: Right. So let’s continue on with this. Before we go any further, I would just like for your to share with our listeners: Is this teacher still at the school? This particular teacher that you reported?

Melissa Mooney: From what I understand, she’s on temporary administrative leave. But with everything that the school investigators are doing to sweep this under the rug, so to speak, I think she will most likely return to the classroom.

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Melissa Mooney: The city closed the case without even questioning me, a witness. They simply came up with whatever they could to defame my character and set it to the parents and teachers to make me look like a liar and to protect the teacher. I’ve been told by a couple of parents these things that they’ve been doing behind my back and all these things, and it’s just really disturbing. Their motivation is to protect themselves and their reputation instead of really protecting these chidren and doing a proper investigation.

Sharon daVanport: Right. What are some of the things, Melissa, that you’re able to share with us that have been done to try to discredit you or defame your character?

Melissa Mooney: Well, in the past, because I did go through a foster care system, I was in a placement called Chesapeake Youth Center, and there was a lot of severe abuse going on there. You can Google this; the place was shut down and sued by the federal government. I had discussed openly in a public forum about my experiences there, what I had witnessed.

And what the city investigators did was they took it out of context and twisted it around, sent it to the parents and said: “Look. She just seeks out conflict.” They didn’t tell them anything about Chesapeake Youth Center, that it was indeed closed. They just made it look like I was attention-seeking. Something I had written in a forum to help other people who had been through hard times, I had written that when I was a child, when I was faced with hardship, where people who were hurting me or something or mean to me, I didn’t trust them. I stopped trusting people and would just go along with things. Not necessarily lie, but I wasn’t honest. I was a very small child, just trying to get along.

So they took that, chopped it up to make it look like an admission of being a liar of some sort and sent that to the parents. It’s not even relevant at all. I was just talking. That’s typical of any kid who goes through a rough time, where they’re afraid of other people’s reactions. They’re going to protect themselves; they’re going to defend themselves when they don’t have that trust.

I was speaking about 20 years ago. I was never speaking about now. I have no reason to be dishonest about this. I’ve no way of coming up with this in my own mind, and putting my career completely on the line. Why would I do that?

Sharon daVanport: Right. Are you able to name the school? I know you can’t name names. You’ve chosen not to name names, and that’s fine. We totally respect that, that your attorney’s asked you not to do that. Are you able to give the name of the school, or have you been asked not to do that at this point?

Melissa Mooney: I’ve been asked not to do that.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Okay. That’s fair enough. I wanted to ask you at this point: You were saying that they took these comments from 15-20 years ago, where you were trying to explain as a very young child what you did to protect yourself from people who you were in fear of, to the point where you admitted that you would just go along with things to the point of being some might say dishonest. But you were a tiny child at that time. Now, is it the school that was using these comments and giving these comments out of context to parents? Or was it the city attorney? I thought that you might’ve said it was the city attorney. I can’t remember.

Melissa Mooney: It was not a city attorney. The way the parents put it was that it was a city investigator they think was from the school board. I haven’t got the clarification of whether it was Baltimore City Child Protective Services or the school system. But either way, the case was closed.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, okay. So now you’ve got these comments to deal with and you’ve got parents being told some of this stuff. How is that going with you, Melissa, when it comes to the parents? Have there been any parents that have reached out to you personally that are taking what hyou said into serious consideration? How is that going?

Melissa Mooney: Yes. I had one parent who contacted me immediately, because she said her son had been exhibiting signs of abuse since the first day of school. But then again, I’ve had another parent who contacted me, but she said based on what the principal of that elementary middle school had told her, she didn’t believe it at first. She said that the principal told her that I was mentally deficient because of my Asperger’s, I was making it up, etc. and not to believe [me].

They have, from the beginning, separated me from the parents and the parents who have talked to me said my story isn’t what they told them. The principal, according to them, didn’t tell them everything and made it out to them that it was only their child. They didn’t tell them that I witnessed this with all the children in the classroom setting. They said that everything was twisted and backwards from my testimony—what I witnessed—obviously to protect themselves.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Melissa Mooney: Of course I have parents all over the country contacting me, telling me stories about similar things that happened to them or their children, or adults on the autism spectrum who say: “Yeah, that happened to me, and this is a problem.” I had no idea just what a problem this is.

Sharon daVanport: Yeah, that something can be used against you that’s not even relevant in that context. It’s just unbelievable, what you’ve been through. I’m just curious: You said that a parent did contact you and she commented that her son had been showing signs of abuse from day one. Was it the boy that you were referring to earlier, when you were talking about different things that you had witnessed? Was it indeed one of the children that you had seen abused?

Melissa Mooney: Well, yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Really? Oh.

Melissa Mooney: I had seen four or five children abused, but this one in particular was the little boy who had cerebral palsy and was jabbed in the shoulder and screamed at and had things thrown at him, like the dolls and things. She told me that he had always loved school and going there, but then after starting with this teacher, he would be terrified of going to school. She said he had physical signs. So it’s kinda sad.

Sharon daVanport: Right. Yeah, it really is, Melissa, and I just want to say to you and commend you for being a strong individual, and being able to do the right thing. You did the right thing, down to the very point that you even went through the channels that you were instructed to do and reported it to your college first. You went down the very line of accuracy, down to what you ere told to do. It’s just rfeally sad to hear this backlash that you’ve been experiencing.

Getting back to your internship, you said earlier that you were told that you would be placed back in another school setting for your internship, and that hasn’t happened. You’re not even sure if you’re going to be able to stay in this program. You’ve not received any answers at all, one way or the other?

Melissa Mooney: No. Not at all.

Sharon daVanport: Not at all. And so you basically don’t even know what’s going to happen this next semester, after the first of the year yet? Or have you been told when you’re going to find out?

Melissa Mooney: Well, I absolutely will not be in an internship during the spring. The way it works is you do a part-time internship in the fall, and then spring’s for full-time student teaching. So without being in a part-time internship this fall, I won’t be able to do an internship in the spring, which is why I would end up having to take a whole other year of full-time college to restart the internship, if they kept me. But I can only assume by their need to dig for negative things about me that they do not plan on keeping me in this program.

Sharon daVanport: Well, you’ve got an attorney now. Hopefully they’re going to be able to do something. I hope they will, Melissa. I hope that you’re going to be able to be protected and your education isn’t going to suffer for this. I just worry about the children, too. At least right now, at this point, the teacher is on administrative leave, as far as you know. What is your hope that will come out of this, from you coming forward and reporting all this? What do you hope’s going to happen, Melissa?

Melissa Mooney: First of all, I hope for the safety of those children. Anyone who works with children who are disabled knows that early intervention is more important than anything. And so to start off the intervention mistreating the children, I just think that has to somewhat be devastating and a setback for them. But no child should be treated that way, ever. So I really hope that those children will be protected.

My second concern is getting my career back. I’m extremely afraid that this is it. I’ve been told that at my college, when someone’s removed from the education program, they put something on your record in case you transfer that says they don’t recommend acceptance into any other educational program.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, my.

Melissa Mooney: So I’m really afraid, because this is my calling and I’ve worked extremely hard and overcome so much to get to this point to help these kids and find my place. It is my place. To have that all thrown away because I did the right thing…It is my job to protect children, no matter what. So I was doing my job, and now I might lose my job because of it. That’s my concern also.

Sharon daVanport: Right. Never is there any reason to ever…whether it’s for your career or not, never is there ever a reason not to come forward. You absolutely did the right thing to report what you saw, Melissa. It was the right thing to do. I commend you for that. I personally commend you for having the strength and the bravery to come forward to do that.

I can’t imagine what kind of emotional fallout that you’ve paid after reporting this. You are on the spectrum, so being that you’re on the spectrum, I’m sure that your sensory code is much more heightened in some areas. How has that been like? Why don’t you describe for us some of the fallout that you’ve experienced?

Melissa Mooney: Well, [unknown] it’s been extremely difficult. You can’t imagine how hard I’ve worked to get to this point and overcome so much to chase this calling, and to pursue this purpose. Growing up, so many people doubted me. They didn’t even think I would go to college, let alone be on Dean’s Lists and have honors and get to my internship. Again, now my career in helping children on the spectrum could be completely destroyed, and that is devastating to me. That is completely devastating to me, because of my devotion to this. Being right at the finish line, ready to make it and then having this happen.

Also, school has always been a haven for me, like college. I love taking classes and learning new things. Most of my teachers were supportive of me, and I flourished in academic settings. I loved it. But now I have the cold shoulder; none of my teachers support me, and I honestly dread having to show up on campus because it hurts so much. I am suddenly the campus pariah. That hurts me a lot. My peers are resentful, because they don’t want me to make the school look bad. They’ve shunned me, and at some points have been straight up mean to me. With the social difficulties I already have, that’s been hurtful, too.

Sharon daVanport: [sadly] Oh.

Melissa Mooney: Because I did the right thing, it’s hard to reconcile in my mind that you do the right thing and get still punished for it. But I’m not the bad guy here. Yeah, it’s definitely taken a toll on me mentally.

Sharon daVanport: Right. And I just commend you so much, Melissa, for pushing forward and staying with your classes. You’ve still attended all your classes, haven’t you?

Melissa Mooney: Just about all of them. I was a little sick a couple days, but other than that, yes. I attended all my classes and worked very hard to complete assignments. Yes.

Sharon daVanport: Very good, very good. Well, I know that we were limited on the questions. We worked with your attorney on AWN radio to make sure we would be able to have you on as a guest, to have you share with the autism community and special needs community and just anyone and everyone who wants to hear this story exactly what happened, and hear your side of it. Is there anything, Melissa, before we say our goodbyes on this special Thursday edition that you’d like to share with our listeners? Was there anything that we left out? Anything you’d like to say?

Melissa Mooney: Well, I definitely want to thank you and the people who have supported me. When this first started happening, it happened so fast, just this whirlwind of events happening, and I felt very alone and very hurt and scared. I had never expected this to happen. But the support that I’ve received and people telling me their stories, that has helped me to continue with this, and helped me to carry on with it instead of hiding from it or letting them sweep it under the rug.

So I thank everyone who’s done that for me. And I really hope that something good comes of this, because it sets a bad example for teachers everywhere, interns everywhere, when someone steps forward and is then so publicly punished. I’m afraid for that, and I just hope people out there don’t get scared by this. Always report what you see, because it be such a detriment to these kinds of experiences. So, yeah, I thank you very much.

Sharon daVanport: Well, you’re quite welcome, Melissa, and I thank you for coming on the show today and sharing your story. In closing, would you like to share with everyone your YouTube URL so that they could go over there? You’ve got a few videos up about this. What is your YouTube?

Melissa Mooney: I don’t know the specific URL, but my profile name is motleyprism.

Sharon daVanport: Any of our listeners can go over there to YouTube and look up Melissa’s channel and see a couple of the videos that she’s posted over there about that. Well, listen, Melissa, I just want to thank you again. You take care, and we will definitely be in touch and follow up with you and see how this story plays out, all right?

Melissa Mooney: Okay. Thank you so much.

Sharon daVanport: You’re welcome, Melissa. Have a wonderful holiday.

Melissa Mooney: You, too.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Bye-bye.

[Melissa hangs up].

Okay, everyone. That’s going to do it for us today on this special edition of AWN radio, the Autism Women’s Network on Blogtalk. I want to thank all of you for joining us today on the switchboard and on the Internet through streaming live. I want to remind everyone that we will be back in just a few days after Christmas on Monday, and joining us will be Temple Grandin. So we thank you again for joining us today, and we will be talking to everyone on Monday. Thank you. Bye.

[End]

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