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Family seeks help for young man with autism jailed for domestic assault

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A Chattanooga mother is desperate for help. Right now, her son with mental disabilities is sitting in jail.

Police say he was arrested on a domestic assault charge, after an episode he had at home.

His mother says he's not getting his medication or the proper care he needs in jail.

Brenda Current says her son Nickolas grew up a happy kid.

"He is the sweetest boy," she said. "He has a heart of gold."

But, after he walked out in front of and was hit by a car in December of last year, Brenda says her 18-year old's behavior shifted.

"It changed his whole demeanor after that," she said.

She believes dealing with the trauma from the accident made him aggressive.

"He had to have quite a few stitches in his lip and his forehead," Brenda said. "He was scratched from head to toe."

Months later, affidavits describe fights with his aunt.

They say Nikolas beat and threatened her when he was upset.

His mother says they all live in the same house together.

"I can calm him down," she said. "His aunt just does not know how to deal with an autistic person."

Brenda doesn't blame her for calling police. But, both times police came, they took Nickolas to jail. That's the issue.

"The handicapped people, the mentally challenged, they need a place to go besides jail," Brenda said. "They do not belong in jail. That's what I want the whole world to understand."

Scott Kramer at the Centre for Adult Autism agrees.

He has a personal connection to Nickolas's disability.

"I'm an autistic adult, or an adult on the autism spectrum," he said.

Kramer says giving people with autism special treatment in court would take a change in the law.

"From the eyes of the law, from an autism stand point, there's been no real legislation from what I understand that has been passed," he said.

Employed and receiving the help he needs, Kramer says he's proof someone with autism can be successful.

Brenda just wants her son to have a chance.

"I don't believe he needs to be in jail," she said. "I think he needs to be put in a residential home of some sort. He does not need to be in jail."

Nickolas's mother says her son also has a personalty disorder.

She says she has other family members with similar challenges to Nickolas.

Nickolas is due in court on May 16.

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