Boerum Hill

Mom: Daughter who died after choking had autism

October 28, 2014 Associated Press, with additional reporting by Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
School for International Studies, data copyright Google Maps

Tragedy at School for International Studies in Brooklyn

The mother of a 21-year-old who died on Tuesday after choking at the School for International Studies in Boerum Hill says her daughter was autistic and was supposed to have full-time supervision. The school is located at 284 Baltic Street, off Court Street.

Catherine Smith tells The New York Times her daughter Dyasha was nonverbal and wore diapers. She says she told school officials her daughter’s food had to be cut up otherwise she would swallow it whole.

Dyasha Smith died Tuesday after choking on a muffin at Star Academy in Brooklyn. An FDNY spokesperson said the call in at 12:11 p.m. on Tuesday. FDNY records indicate she suffered from cardiac arrest, and was alive during transport. She was rushed to New York Methodist Hospital, where she died.

The city Education Department is investigating. It declined to comment about the care Dyasha was supposed to be provided at the school.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said in a statement, “I am deeply saddened to hear of this loss, and my heart goes out to the student’s family and the entire school community. We will have guidance counselors at the school to help support the community during this tragedy.”

Her mother said another parent initially informed her that something had happened to her daughter at lunchtime Tuesday. She says a vice principal call her about half hour later.