A SPECIAL NEEDS TRAGEDY – Why are #Autism parents choosing murder and suicide?

I’ve remained largely quite on the topic of Autism parents that turn to murder or murder/suicide.  It seems that I keep reading more and more stories about parents that murder their child with Autism and then commit suicide or at least attempt to.

This morning I shared another tragic story of a mother killing both herself and her adult Autistic child. 

I think that everyone of these stories are horribly tragic.  As a parent to 3 kids with special needs ranging from Autism to Reactive Attachment Disorder, I understand what being overwhelmed, frustrated and demoralized is like. 

However, on my darkest day, I couldn’t even imagine harming one of my babies.  It’s hard not to judge someone who would choose to cause their child intentional harm and there is no excuse for hurting a child, Autism or not.  There is no part of me that condones any of these parents actions. 



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That said, I’m not sure that we should take these tragedies at face value.

In some cases, parents that hurt their kids are simply monsters.  People are capable of truly evil actions, for no apparent reason.  We see it all the time on the news.  In this article, I’m not referring to these types of people. 

However, when it comes to a special needs parent murdering their child and then commiting suicide, I feel like something else is going on.  While I will never condone these actions, at the same time, I feel like I can understand how someone can get to that point, at least to some degree.

I think these tragedies are symptoms of a more systemic problem and I’m greatly concerned that we are going to begin seeing more and more of these things happening and more and more families are becoming special needs.

Honestly, I don’t necessarily think that these parents are evil or even monsters.  I feel like these are parents that are driven to the edge of insanity, out of desperation, despair and hopelessness.

All too often, families like mine, go without help, support or services needed to assist in the raising of what can be considered very, very challenging children.  Many times, these parents are dealing with stress related, chronic health issues of their own as well. 

There is an overwhelming number of special needs parents that feel completely isolated from society because there is a lack of understanding, compassion and support.

It’s not always that parents aren’t looking for help, it’s that help isn’t always available.  I understand what it feels like to be staring down a road that seems to be overcome by grief, guilt, loneliness, despair, fear and isolation.  I understand how daunting it is to know that you will be doing this for the rest of your life. It’s completely demoralizing and it can be very, very difficult to keep any form of hope alive. 

Does this justify someone choosing to kill their special needs child? Of course not!!

I think that life is full of decisions and choices that we must be held accountable for.  At the same time, it’s difficult not to feel empathy for a parent that has sunken into such a dark and desperate place that they would do the unthinkable……

Let me be very, very clear.  Simply because I feel empathy for someone, doesn’t mean that I condone their actions.  It means that I recognize that there is very likely more to the story than what is received at face value. 

I mentioned that it’s difficult for me not to judge someone for killing their child and then either taking their own life or attempting to.

Having said that, what tragedy beset that parent to make murder suicide seem the best option? Perhaps it feels like the only option for someone in their unique situation? I don’t know because I’m not walking in their shoes and I’m not privy to their personal experiences. 

If feel like something truly profound must have happened to drive an otherwise loving parent to commit such a horrific crime.  Especially considering that in many or most cases, the parent at least tried to end their own lives as well.  I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and anguish that would drive someone to do this.

Each and every one of these tragedies is a wake up call… We need to focus more time, attention, energy and money on supporting special needs families. 

Could things have turned out differently if these parents had the help they needed or had been desperately seeking? No one knows for sure but I think it would be safe to assume that things may have been different for at least some, if not all of them.

Does this make it societies fault that these tragedies happen? That’s not really for me to decide is it. 

I will say that I think that society doesn’t always embrace those that are different.  Special Needs families can be very different from what society deems as normal or acceptable.

That said, at the end of the day, everyone has a choice.  What I think that we need to do is make sure that parents in these situations actually have better options or at least other options.  We need to identify the warning signs and respond in a means that will help these families climb out of despair and hopelessness. 

My heart goes out to these families but especially to the children that have had their lives cut tragically short.  This has to stop. 

Please know that while I can’t always fix things, I can always be reached.  If you or someone you know is struggling with isolation, please know that you aren’t alone.  If you need someone to talk to, shoot me an email or message on Facebook.  I’ll do my very best to help.  Sometimes it just helps to connect with others that understand. 

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Please forgive any typos as auto-correct HATES me. 😉

Update: If you like this post, check out these as well. Click —–> Here <—– for my Top Posts.



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About Rob Gorski

Father to 3 with Autism and husband to my best friend. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)

  

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Lost and TiredJessica Wesolowskirjones22Elle HansenRhonda Catrett Recent comment authors

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Chromesthesia
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Chromesthesia

I’ll rant here instead of on Twitter. I’m tired of groups like Autism speaks pushing the concept that autism is soooooo tragic and sad, yet they offer no practical solutions. They offer no real support, no real money to families, they just go, oh, these families are not living, their lives are so terrible. When they do NOT HELP. This sort of thing is only crushing for both autistic children and adults. Why can’t they have simple, practical solutions? Things that would make parents feel like there’s less weight on them? Why can’t more folks listen to autistic adults when… Read more »

Stacy Abdeljalil-Wilson
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Stacy Abdeljalil-Wilson

I think while it’s an absolute tragedy it’s all to common that parents have these children they love dearly but get no support to raise…they in turn get overwhelmed and resort to the unimaginable. While it certainly doesn’t explain all the cases as there are just some horrible people out there, lack of support could certainly be a mitigating factor. We need more respite, better access to services and therapies and more professionals making sure parents are doing ok and stepping in if they see things going crazy

Lost and Tired
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Lost and Tired

Stacy Abdeljalil-Wilson well said

Rhonda Catrett
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Rhonda Catrett

I also think in some of the murder suicide cases it is older parents with adult special needs children that have never had support from anyone….pretty much abandoned by family and friends…they lose hope. They know their child is not going to be loved and taken care of the way they have been there fir them.. This is the biggest reason I try to live in the here and now and not think about the future too much. Or I will go insane. My hubby is an OTR driver and only home on the weekend. I get absolutely no support,… Read more »

Elle Hansen
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Elle Hansen

Heartbreaking.

KathyBrower
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KathyBrower

I agree with the blow poster in regards to Autism Speaks. However, he/she needs to remember that while he/she is typing a very intelligent and coherent argument on a blog, many adults with autism are wearing diapers, self-harming and struggling with the basics of communications. It is hard to accept as a parent, or as a compassionate human being, that this is living on their own terms and not in a difficult to accept state.

Jessica Wesolowski
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Jessica Wesolowski

Depression, little support and no hope or help.

rjones22
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rjones22

Just this morning as I once again went to the pharmacy to get refills on my son’s scripts, the pre authorization from a month ago has not registered or been done or whatever the problem is. As I was driving away, I wished that it was time for me to be put in an assisted living home. one of the fun ones where a bus takes me to the mall etc. keep in mind that i am no where near the age for that. what it was that i recognized immediately was that if i was in that kind of… Read more »

Lost and Tired
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rjones22  you’re such an awesome person and you dropped an f-bomb.  🙂 Seriously though, I can relate because I have the same fears with Gavin, only it would fall on his younger brothers.  
I wish there was a way to out your fears at rest.  Just know that I have the utmost respect for you. There’s no cash value attached to that but I like to think it means something.  🙂