Autistic boy attacked by teens at Idlewild

Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:19 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Police in Westmoreland County are investigating after a 10-year-old boy who has autism was attacked at a local amusement park. Debbie Zomisky said her son, Kolton, was kicked, punched and choked while waiting in line at a ride at Idlewild and that other adults in the area turned a blind eye to the beating.

Read more from WTAE/Pittsburgh.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 1:07 PM

This is horrendous. What's even more surprising is that it happened at Idlewild, of all places. The park is designed for little kids, for pete's sake. Hearing something like this just makes me sick.


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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 1:08 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Wow. And shame on adults who turn a blind eye.


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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 1:20 PM
mlnem4s's avatar

American's have sunk to record lows as of late, are people really nothing more than filthy beasts at this point?!?! I am so ready to move to the Netherlands.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 4:57 PM

"Zomisky said her son lives with Asperger Syndrome, a type of autism. She said he sometimes has a difficult time in social situations, although he's very intelligent."

Having known someone thru their teen years that has this, and having seen him get jumped (outside SFWOA) this does not surprise me. They Fools that jumped him did not know he had Aspergers. (basically, he walked in front of a crowd of people not his own color and flipped them off.) They jumped him and I pulled them off.

What bugs me though is that no one helped, which I find most disturbing. When It happened at SFWOA, half a dozen people stepped in.

Last edited by FLYINGSCOOTER, Tuesday, June 1, 2010 5:00 PM

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:23 PM
LostKause's avatar

That poor kid. The bullies had no way of knowing that he had autism, and his actions caused by his autism may have cause him to get the attention of the bullies, but that's still not a good reason to beat him up. I hope they catch those little effers.

I've seen a situation something like this with a younger family friend of mine, except that I was watching him from a bench near the line he was in. I scared the crap out of the bully before things escalated as far as this story did.

So that brings me to ask about the elephant in the room. Where was Kolton Zomishy's mother through all of this? Not blaming her, even though I should be. I bet she'll keep a closer eye on her autistic 10-year-old at public places from now on, at least until he is a little bigger and can take care of this kind of situation himself.


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Wednesday, June 2, 2010 8:48 AM

Being the father of a child with Asperger's Syndrome, I can relate to this situation all too well. Most children with Asperger's appear and act very typical. They are usually very intelligent and highly-functioning, appearing to be just like any other child and usually attend standard schools. However, they have difficulty in social situations and sometimes will do or say things that might be considered 'odd', or not understand when someone is joking with them. Many of these children take things quite literally and usually cannot retort back when someone is possibly egging them on. Many times they are quite innocent and trusting to strangers, thus becoming easy targets for bullies.

My guess is that the mother allowed him to ride the waterslide alone, just as the parent of any older, typical child would do, and was probably waiting for him at the bottom. I have left my son do the same many, many times at Idlewild and at other parks and thankfully, he has never had a problem like this. I'm sure that she felt it was 'safe' for him to do so, especially at a family-friendly park like Idlewild. Sadly, bullies can be anywhere as this situation proves. Certainly the park is not at fault here, and I'm sure that she realizes this given the interviews that I've seen with her. It's just unfortunate that the bullies got into line behind him and started trouble. The woman in front of him that supposedly witnessed this probably figured that the boys knew each other and were just 'horsing' around, or she just didn't want to get involved, which is sad if that were the case.

I truly feel for this boy and his mother and am thankful that his injuries weren't worse, though the emotional scarring is something that might never heal for him. As a parent of a child like this, you try to protect them from harm, but you also have to let them be children and let them be somewhat independent, too. Unlike a severely autistic child, children with Asperger's can and do often succeed in life and are mainstreamed into society just as any other child, they just have trouble sometimes socializing with others. Too often, they are the victims of bullying and teasing which is just a sad comment on our society, I suppose, as we tend to make fun of that which we find different or don't understand. There is certainly no excuse for the behavior of those boys and I hope that they get caught and punished, which seems unlikely now. I truly hope that the boy will be able to get over this incident and not be fearful of attending socially interactive facilities like Idlewild again.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010 9:58 PM

My 8 year old son has Asperger's Syndrome as well. Many kids with Asperger's have an obsession with one particular thing, my son's obsession is rollercoasters. On occassion, I have let him go alone on a ride while I stand by the line and keep my eye on him. He is really experienced at parks as they are my "obsession" as well and he's been going since he was 2 months old. However, I guess I may rethink allowing to do anything by himself. What a shame.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010 11:12 PM

@dragonlady. you can not change the way you let your kids have fun due to a few morons( the kids and adults that watched). I bet your son feels very good about himself when you trust him to go by himself. You can not let the bad people win. I still believe there are way more good people on this earth than bad. I know how hard it is to be a parent these days, especially with a child that has a few social issues. I would much rather have a good kid with social issues insted of a mean rude little sob!! These individuals that did and watched this are horrible people. All you can ever do is love your kids!!

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Thursday, June 3, 2010 1:09 AM
LostKause's avatar

Dragonlady, regardless of what I said in my last post, I don't think people should ever allow the news media scare them into changing their behavior, with very few exceptions, and I write for a newspaper. :)


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Friday, June 4, 2010 5:23 PM

I agree ffej and LostKause. I won't change the way we do things. When you hear things like that, as a parent, your first instinct is to protect at any cost. But I know the world is a rough place and I am adventourous and I want my son to be the same way and really live his life. I would never hold him back. I'm trying to teach him not to let anyone mess with him but he just doesn't get it at this point.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010 11:05 PM

mlnem4s said:
American's have sunk to record lows as of late, are people really nothing more than filthy beasts at this point?!?! I am so ready to move to the Netherlands.

You mean where people can smoke pot and not get thrown in jail for it lol. This kind of behaviour is really pathetic though. If i would of saw this all hell would of broke lose on those teens lol.


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