Sunday, August 03, 2008

Autism Horror As Son Attacks Caregiver

It is fashionable these days to talk about autism disorders as though they are joyful, beautiful blessings bestowed upon our children. Some internet bloggers prattle about the joy of autism. They also try to suppress any negative description of autism whether it was the "Ransom Notes" campaign of NYU Child Study Center's Dr. Harold Koplewicz or the courageous parents who participated in the Autism Every Day video. These feel good censors paint an inaccurate picture of autism, one which ignores completely, and misleads the public about, some of the harsher realities of autism disorders. In the process they do a huge disfavor to some severely autistic people, their families and caregivers.

In Desperate plea for help Susan Sherring of the Ottawa Sun reports the horror that confronted Brenda Reisch when her 15 year old autistic son, weighing more than 200 pounds attacked his caregiver, breaking his nose, leaving blood splattered on the walls and bruises on the caregivers back. Residential services have not yet been made available because her son's case is not considered a "crisis" level situation. Yet her son has become more violent, uncontrollable and aggressive in recent months.

"I can't describe the horror of looking at what my child had done, the amount of blood, it was all over the walls, all over the carpet, from one end of the house to the other," she told the Sun.

" He could potentially hurt someone else. We need help," Brenda says.


" We need a life. He needs a life, too. He needs help. I know this might mean he can't live with us and that devastates me. I can't tell you how many times I've been in tears.

"I love my son. He's the most precious thing to me in the world. If this is what we have to do, it's going to tear me apart, but I know he could potentially kill someone and I can't put him in that situation."

I have provided legal services to families whose children with autism spectrum disorders hurt family members and parents. And I have met others in the course of my autism advocacy. This situation is not that unusual. The truth should be told not hidden behind feel good stories and wishful thinking. To do so is to do a disservice to all involved.

1 comment:

Painful said...

Scary and sad story. As a parent, how do you think society should respond to or manage such situations?