Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Autistic Woman Starved to Death in Ontario

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.


John Best said...

I suppose the leaders of neurodiversity are celebrating this news since, at least she wasn't cured. I wonder if Michelle Dawson could be charged with fraud and complicity here if the negligent sister started quoting Michelle's deranged philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps those that describe autistics as wounded animals, as soul-less, as
unable to form relationships are partly to blame. After all, if she's just wounded animal...what gives her the right to life?

Unknown said...


I have never read or heard anyone describe autistic persons as "wounded animals" or "soul-less" until you just did.

Maya M said...

Mr. Doherty, it takes about a minute of gougling. Examples:
"wounded animals" - the nearest example is the above commenter "fore sam": "Autism is everyone's worst nightmare come true. It is children who can not be reached on ANY LEVEL WHO ARE LIKE WOUNDED ANIMALS run amok within civilized society." (
About soul-less: Numerous sites (e.g. cite Dr. Kartzinel's introduction to Jenny McCarthy's book: "Autism, as I see it, steals the soul from a child."
I agree than dehumanizing autistic people only encourages crimes against them. A neurodiversity blogger once said that those convicted for murdering disabled people generally receive lighter sentences than those convicted for abusing animals. You are a lawyer, is this true? In my country, neither are charged at all, so I cannot say.