In Toronto the trial of 32 year old Allison Cox, on charges of manslaughter and failing to provide the necessities of life for her 23 year old adoptive sister Tiffany Pinckney has begun. The prosecution, as reported in the Toronto Star, has stated that Ms Pinckney was found lying dead in her own urine and feces, weighing 84 1/2 pounds down from 200 pounds. The Star also reports that Ms Pinckney was a non verbal autistic person, who although toilet trained, functioned at a mental age of about 3.
The court will determine Ms Cox's guilt or innocence on these charges. But regardless of that legal determination this situation should be one more example to illustrate the foolishness of those who persistently advocate for the view that autism is not a disability. Ms. Pinckney was dependent on the good will and sense of responsibility of others because of her autism, her intelligence deficit and her lack of verbal abilities. And now she is dead, starved to death at age 23.
There are high functioning autistic persons who accomplish great things in life and some who get interviewed on CNN. And then there are more severely autistic persons like Ms. Pinckney who are vulnerable and dependent on the good will of others.
There was no Joy of Autism for Tiffany Pinckney.