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August 5, 2011

Abuse, Neglect and Murder of Autistics a Growing Concern

Award Winning Non-Fiction Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog DirectoryAugust  3rd, 2011. Md. psychiatrist, teen son dead in murder-suicide. This latest murder suicide to hit autism community involves a respected author-psychiatrist who decided life was too painful and killed herself and her autistic teenage son. It is unclear as to psychiatrist’s mental state or what transpired in her autistic son’s life that made life so unbearable, though hints of her son being bullied at school and her struggling in a man’s work world emerged. Heartbreaking. Disturbing. See full story at: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/03/ap/.../main20087820.shtml



  1. 2011. UTICA, N.Y. (AP) – “A 37-year-old former state worker (who was this guy’s supervisor?) admits he created a pornographic video of himself sexually abusing a severely-autistic boy”. Source: http://www.9wsyr.com/news/local/story/State-group-home-worker-admits-abusing-autistic/n-Ja4ZTAckSUVMwuZ3UMYw.cspx


  1.  2007 – Cops say at least 4 licensed health care workers beat a severely-autistic woman over and over. They say the owner suspected the abuse (then she should’ve stepped in earlier). Source:transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0708/21/ng.01.html
  2.  2011-Louisville, Kentucky. “Hidden camera video shows man abusing 13 year old autistic boy”. Source: www.wlky.com/news/28615118/detail.html


  1.  2011—Los Angeles, CA. “Police looking for additional victims after man employed as an in-home caregiver arrested for molesting autistic child. Jeremy Shawn Stockton, a 29-year-old, is an employee of Wellspring, a local agency that specializes in behavioral intervention for young children with autism (is there anywhere we can feel our children are safe?)  Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/04/lapd-seeks-info-in-child-molestation-case.html


5. 2010-TACOMA, Wash. –Jerry A. Johnson has been charged with second-degree rape. He's listed on state's sex offender registry and now charged in the rape of a severely-autistic man who has the mental capacity of a 9-year old. According to police, the 24-year-old autistic victim was fishing when Johnson lured him into the restroom and sexually assaulted him. Source: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/87194062.html

 

6.  2011-Chelsea, Mass., man charged with abusing severely- autistic woman he cared for in Winthrop, Mass. Timothy Kubara was accused of assaulting Mary Elizabeth Morrow, a 34-year-old severely-autistic woman, at a group home (and we wonder why parents worry about placing their autistic children in out of home placements). ”It's sad that he was just smacking her around and she couldn't defend herself, nor could she speak and let us know who was doing this to her," sister Christine Morrow said. Kubara was held on $5,000 bail. Kubara is a native of Kenya, and was enrolled in community college courses.  Source: http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/769426/detail.html#ixzz1TTfxzmoM

 

7.  2007- Toronto News, Canada: “A judge has ordered a couple to stand trial for the starvation death of a severely- autistic relative, rejecting a guilty plea by the husband. In addition to standing trial for criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide necessities of life, Allison Cox, 32, will be tried for manslaughter in the death of Tiffany Pinckney, her 23-year-old adopted sister. The woman suffered from severe autism, a neurological disorder. Most autistic people have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication”. Source: http://www.thestar.com/article/169979

 

  1. 2011-Novia Scotia. An autistic man was locked in a room (while staff watched TV, took smoke breaks and made cell phone calls, no doubt) at a special care home (I’d say ‘special’ is not the correct term for this loosely controlled dump) in Nova Scotia for 15 days, sometimes urinating in corner when nobody knew he needed to go to the bathroom, says his mother and staff at facility. Investigators with the Department of Community Services determined the case constituted abuse under the province's Protection of Persons in Care Act. The abuse report was provided to The Canadian Press and noted it as a "failure to provide adequate care" by the institution. Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/928276--family-gets-apology-after-autistic-man-confined-in-room-for-weeks


9.  2010--New York police today discovered the body of a 9-year old autistic boy in a luxury Manhattan hotel room, strangled to death by his "socialite" mother, who had also tried to kill herself, by overdosing on prescription pills. The mom, a Manhattan socialite, had become increasingly detached as she tried to find a way to treat her 8-year-old boy's [severe] autism,” friends said. (Just sad) Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/gigi-jordan-socialite-kills-autistic-son-new-york-hotel-suicide/story?id=9760533

 

10.   2010--New YORK, United States – New York police say a Jamaican woman, frustrated over the demands of raising an autistic child, shot the boy to death before turning the gun on herself. Police said 37-year-old Micaela Jackson and Kenneth Holmes, 12, were found in the bed of the single mother's apartment in the Bronx on Wednesday night with a single gunshot to their heads.
Source:
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/JA-mom-kills-autistic-son--herself#ixzz1TTRUR1DC


11.         2006. “Autistic Boy Slashed to Death and His Father Is Charged. “A severely-autistic boy was found slashed to death in a bathtub in his Bronx apartment yesterday morning after his father called the authorities to report that the boy was dead,” the police said. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/23/nyregion/23slash.html


12.    2010—Wales. Family of a severely-autistic boy allegedly murdered by his mother in an airport hotel room today said he was "a wonderful, beautiful, happy boy". The body of Glen Freaney, 11, was found at the Sky Plaza Hotel near Cardiff Airport on Saturday. Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/autistic-murder-case-child-was-a-wonderful-beautiful-happy-boy-1976092.html


13.   2010—CRESTLINE, CA. (KTLA) -- San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department says a woman shot her 9-year-old [severely-autistic] grandson to death and then turned the gun on herself. (Some speculated this grandma was on pain pills, had run out and then, under the increasing pressure of handling her autistic grandson, she snapped). Very sad story. Source: http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-crestline-murder-suicide,0,26942.story


14.2010. Death of a severely-autistic patient, 27, who had been restrained at a state run PSYCHIATRIC FACILITY (wow, you can’t even trust psychiatric placements) in NEW YORK has been ruled a HOMICIDE. The autistic patient, who functioned as a young child, had no history of outbursts requiring prolonged restraint. 27-year-old Jawara Henry suffered from severe autism and died on the South Beach Psychiatric Center Campus during a program run by the state. Investigators say while trying to restrain the autistic patient, Erik Stanley, a supervisor failed to follow protocol, failed to use proper techniques, and caused Henry's death by using excessive pressure on his neck and torso.   (Reminds me of time I found my severely-autistic son tied like an animal at a hospital, restraints cutting into his hips and wrists, nurses sitting around, talking about where they were going to lunch). "This is a case about rampant abuse and neglect at the state run facility," Gary Douglas, the family's attorney said.




15.           2008-- A Grand Junction man allegedly shot his teenage son in the face while he was sleeping. The boy, 13, suffered from a mild form of a neurological disorder similar to autism called Asperger Syndrome. How sad, I wonder how this psycho father would’ve handled a severely-autistic child. Source: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_10493903?source=pkg#ixzz1U5U3xNJk


16.      2006, in Hull, England, Alison Davies and her 12-year-old autistic son, Ryan, fell to their deaths from a bridge over the River Humber, in an apparent murder-suicide.


17.      2009.   “The deaths of a man and his 11-year-old autistic son on Sunday were the result of a murder-suicide….At one point, the family took the boy to the emergency department of an Edmonton hospital, where he was later admitted to the psychiatric unit…But trained psychiatric staff weren't equipped to help a child with autism. Eventually, a place was found for the boy in a group home, but search was a struggle, because many group homes are not set up to deal with autistic children with extreme behavioral problems.” And of course, "government was working on” (government officials are always ‘working on’ something instead of delivering it) emergency respite services for family, but recent cutbacks meant plans were put on hold.”  Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2009/09/29/edmonton-murder-suicide-confirmed.html 

*Above case illuminates lack of emergency services to help families of severely-autistic children. Over and over, families in crisis are told to ‘call police’ who will take autistic child to psychiatric hospital or ER, but [nurses and doctors] seldom have training required to treat or help autistic patients. One doctor told news reporters, “ER room is not the place for children with autism." Oh, OK, so if a psychiatric unit, ER room, institution or group home setting can’t handle autism, then who can? WHERE DO PARENTS GO FOR HELP IF THE PLACES INTENDED TO HELP TURN THEIR AUTISTIC CHILDREN AWAY?

I wonder if an ER room, doctor or psych unit official told a Bi-Polar, schizophrenic, Alzheimer’s or suicidal Transvestite, there was NOBODY there to handle their "special needs", if it would make FRONT PAGE NEWS. Apparently, it’s still okay to discriminate against autistic people, because, well, if you say you don’t know how to handle them, that abdicates your responsibility to treat or help? How convenient. What a pathetic excuse for inaction. Yes, they are difficult to treat, but there are parents like me who, for years, have tried to illuminate this need and yet we still see INACTION. Or we find professionals who don’t understand severe autism training people to care for autistics.

 Doctors, nurses and ER staff, and other places that encounter autism must LEARN how to handle, treat and help severely-autistic patients. You can’t deny treatment because you aren’t trained. Get trained. If there is time for state, federal and county-funded  “multi-cultural sensitivity training” and “violence in the workplace seminars” and “religious sensitivity training” and “sexually harassment” workshops, officials can damn well fund training to enhance the treatment and care of autistic population.


18.      2010--Autistic son (high functioning) kills father* says law enforcement, family in shock. The family says Adam’s behavior had become increasingly agitated and aggressive in past few weeks. Family took him to emergency room over weekend and doctor on Monday. "[They were] begging for help, asking for someone to take some time and evaluate," said the autistic man’s sister. (Shortly after the doctors visit, Adam went back to father's house and that is when stabbing took place—a tragedy, the family was trying to prevent).  Source: http://www.kltv.com/story/12988950/autistic-son-kills-father-says-law-enforcement-family-in-shock?redirected=true\\
* It is rare autistics kill, and if they do, it’s not malicious, so please, if you are a teacher, law enforcement or healthcare official, don’t panic when you come across an autistic person. Clearly, this autistic man was higher functioning and may have had additional mental issues. Most autistics would never think to do kill someone. Nor possess mental or physical abilities to harm another person. Conversely, many harm themselves. The reason I posted this story is to show how this family in crisis sought help, and was denied effective emergency care. They did what professional urge families to do, and they were abandoned.

19.    2003: A 68-year-old Haifa resident yesterday shot to death his adult daughter, apparently for health reasons, and then committed suicide. The 33-year-old daughter was autistic. The father shot her in bed. He then apparently shot himself while sitting in the chair next to the bed. One could only imagine the heartache and fear this man felt. Apparently, he had mentioned he was terrified to leave his daughter behind, once he died. So, sadly, he took her with him. Source: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/father-kills-autistic-daughter-then-self-1.102222

20.        Charles-Antoine Blais was murdered in Montreal in 1996. He was six years old. He had been diagnosed autistic when he was five. He was held down and drowned in his bathtub by his mother, Danielle Blais. She was charged with first degree murder. This was later reduced to manslaughter, to which she pleaded guilty. The murder received a lot of media coverage. Autism society wanted everyone to know how devastating it is to have an autistic child, and how understandable it is that a parent would kill such a child.” Downplaying death as ‘understandable’-- because child has autism-- is dangerous thinking. Having autism should not be a death sentence. What is understandable is how ignorant society is serving severely-autistic persons. Most agencies charged with duty to provide services and supports to families raising severely-autistic children and adults don’t understand severe autism.  Worse, officials have repeatedly fumbled funds intended to provide critical services to severely-autistic persons.


21.    2011--Parents of a severely-autistic boy, who was dropped off in the lobby of the Broward General Medical Center in Florida, have been found. Source: http://www.imperfectparent.com/topics/2011/07/09/florida-the-parents-of-severely-autistic-abandoned-boy-found/


Meanwhile, many journalists fail to investigate, analyze and uncover reasons so many families of severely-autistic children are suffering. There are three primary reasons: Lack of or absurd delays in family supports and services; lack of  teaching healthcare professionals how to manage complex behavioral and medical needs of severely-autistic persons and inadequate training of hired staff to care for autistic persons.

How do we change this epidemic of failing to treat, protect and serve severely-autistic persons in the community? California is shutting down state institutions and tossing the most severely-autistic adults into group homes and adult day programs. Communities are not prepared. Hence, this is an approaching storm, which warrants pro-active steps to protect and serve vulnerable autistics in the community.

 

“Every human being has a responsibility for injustice anywhere in the community.” ----Scott Buchanan

 

 

8/5/11   Kim Oakley, M.Ed.  Advocating for Better Treatment of Severely-Autistic Persons

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding "It is rare autistics kill, and if they do, it’s not malicious.."
May I respectfully opine that the victim would be no less dead if killed by a person with autism.
My father's cousin had a son with Down syndrome (I know they are usually very loving) but not this kid.
Our family was at a wedding reception when the boy, about 10 years old at the time and whose sister was the bride, became enraged with the loud music from the band. He went into the kitchen and came out with a broom which he began swinging.
My youngest sister is blind in one eye because of him and he currently lives in the county nursing home sedated to the gills because he is so agitated.
PS== his sister is a special ed teacher and even she could not keep him.

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