Let me start out by saying, 100%, I do not condone any parent murdering his/her child, for any reason. I don't care how hard life gets, killing an innocent person is wrong. Period.
(Please read each link before continuing to read this post).
A lot of us within the autism community first heard about Alex in this story. A young man left to languish at a hospital, not getting the care he required for medical issues, due to his autistic behaviors. It was heartbreaking to read about this mother's struggle to get help for her child. How could anyone allow a child to suffer like that? There were petitions and pleas for calls to be made to the hospital, begging for someone to help this child.
But, I admit, I lost track of the story. Life happens, and after the initial shock and outrage, it slipped from my mind.
And then this happened.
I thought to myself, is that the same boy? The same one that was locked away in that hospital for so long, not getting care (according to his mother). It couldn't be, I thought. It couldn't be the same child. His mother was fighting tirelessly for him. There was no way this could be the same young man I read about weeks before.
But it was.
And I felt sick.
I'll be the first to admit I do not know what life is like with a severely autistic child. That is not my world. I would never claim to understand the lives of these children, or their families. But, I know murder would never be an option.
What upsets me, too, is how this family was failed. And not just by the government, or the hospital. By members of the autism community, like me, who forgot. Who got lost in our daily lives, while Alex's story faded into the background. We want services for our children. Help for families. Yet, most of us do nothing beyond posting a story to Facebook, or writing a soon forgotten blog post. Blog posts and status updates don't help families. They don't help autistic individuals like Alex (I am in no way using the lack of servies as justification. There is no justification for what this mother did. The thing that matters is this boy did not get the help he needed, and that's not OK. It's about him, not his mother).
I'm ashamed that I forgot about him until yesterday.
I don't deny life was hard for his mother. I cannot, and will not, defend her actions, though. Alex was a person, not a diagnosis. He was a human being who deserved so much more, including not being forgotten about by his own community.
We can all do something. Write a letter (many letters!), contact our legislatures, do what we can to fight for kids like Alex. There should have been somewhere for him to get help. Real help. Regardless of what his mother believed, or who disagreed with those beliefs. It's not about that. It's about a person!
You don't have to buy a plane ticket to D.C. and march on Capitol Hill to make a difference. Maybe it feels like our voices won't be heard, like one person can't make a difference, but a lot of voices will, have to, make a difference. Our kids shouldn't be murdered. There needs to be help for them! Kids like Alex...for whom autism is a matter of life and death.
(I know Age of Autism is not a favorite site to some, and I certainly do not go along with a lot of what they believe, but they have several posts on Alex's situation that I think are important to read, just because they provide more specific information on his case. In no way am I looking for a debate on bio-med, or anything else. It's just gives a bigger picture of what this poor kid was going through. What he was going through, beause in my opinion he should be the focus. Not the ones who decided to take his life).
Here, Here, and Here.