No, seriously, walk away from “the jail of autism”

A few weeks ago, I told you about some parents who should walk away from their autistic (or other special needs) children and give them over to people who will look after those children’s needs. They should walk away because they have been led to believe that autism is worse than death. They see people in “online newspapers” gnashing their teeth that they have been dealt a “bad hand” in life and have children with special needs. Those same people are quick to blame anything and everything for their current position in life, and then they pretty much walk away from responsibility and become advocates for some pretty sketchy causes.

Today I heard a story about a woman who is right now waiting to be sentenced for first-degree child abuse. What did she do? This:

“According to the Benzie County prosecutor’s office, on Sept. 3, 2013, Stapleton put her 14-year-old daughter Isabelle – known as “Issy” – in her van, drove to a rural location in Elberta, Michigan, and lit two charcoal grills inside the closed vehicle.

The two were later discovered unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning. Issy spent four days in a “coma-like state” before making what was described as a miracle recovery.”

Why did she do that?

“In the months before the crime, Stapleton recounted her daughter’s physically abusive behavior on her website. She posted pictures of a black eye that Issy reportedly gave her and described the teen’s “horrific,” often violent outbursts towards other members of the family.

Stapleton “thought this would be the best solution,” police officers said she told them in a statement, “if Issy and her went to heaven.””

Read that again, just so that you can ponder about it a bit more. According to the mother, it was better for her child to die than to continue to live. When asked how she’s doing, the mom said this:

“”The jail of Benzie County has been a much kinder warden than the jail of autism has been,” Stapleton told Dr. Phil McGraw in a clip provided exclusively to PEOPLE. “

I wish I were joking. According to this woman, being in jail is better than being the mother of an autistic child. I wonder where she got that idea? I wonder what kind of rhetoric she’s ben hearing online and elsewhere that a child with autism is “lost,” “gone,” or “dead”? After all, if the child is already lost, then the child is viewed as less than worthy of being alive. If a child is seen as dead, killing them a second time is not that much of a bad thing, right?

Once again, I call on parents of children with special needs who think those children are lost, gone, dead, or who feel that they (the parents) have been cursed or otherwise “sentenced” to a less-than-desirable life to just walk away from their children. We don’t need any more dead children because you’ve been told that autism is worse than death or that an autistic child is not a person.

And, before you mention it, it doesn’t take having a special needs child or “walking a mile in a special needs parent’s shoes” to know that KILLING CHILDREN IS NOT JUSTIFIED AND NEVER WILL BE.

6 thoughts on “No, seriously, walk away from “the jail of autism”

  1. I can identify with feeling at the end of your rope, having an autistic child. The tantrums can be so long and so bad that I actually sit and cry while she does it. It can be very very hard and emotionally taxing. I can’t relate with the abuse she committed, but being pushed the edge, yes. I agree, however…..much of parent’s panic and dismay about autism comes from what they are reading online and it’s very unfortunate.

    That said, my daughter is in no way a sentence or punishment to me. In the midst of her tantrums, there is a sweet little girl who loves to be loved. You have to learn patience with a special needs kids, especially one with autism. Patience, understanding, and acceptance of who your child is. My daughter is different but beautiful.

    • First, thank you for sharing your story. That in itself must not be easy because of the stigma we put on people who are not “normal” and their families.

      Unfortunately, we live in a society where special needs children are not even on the top ten of national priorities. There are almost no resources for parents like you, and, when there are resources, they are inadequate. So combine that sad reality with the stresses of being the parent of a special needs child and the stresses of life, and then throw on top of that people who seek to justify the murder of those children, and you get the horror of these situations.

      If I had all the money in the world, I would create safe places with plenty of dedicated personnel to help out those children and their families. I don’t have that. So I do the next best thing, which is to advocate.

  2. I can understand a parent feeling tired. Worn out. Wanting to leave. Needing to place their child with another family because they don’t have the emotional or whatever resources to cope. But murder? No. That I don’t understand and will never understand.

  3. The comments on the People article are horrendous – i.e. “don’t judge” etc…well, I’m going to judge…because murder is never the answer, ever!

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