Thursday, April 24, 2014

Members of the Media: Stop endangering my son's life

**Update: As was brought to my attention by an advocate I hugely respect, one of the lines in my original post alluded the to need for 'mandatory psychological evaluations' for caregivers. This idea was hastily written, and not considered.  Upon reflection, it in no way is one that I actually agree with or promote, and I do not in any way believe that we should vilify any human being with mental health issues, including invading their privacy and imposing government sanctions on their ability to parents. As someone who has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I know first the social judgment that accompanies a mental health diagnosis. The neurodivergent community needs our support and understanding- whether that be for those who are Autistic or for those who have depression. As such, I have edited this post and hope that those who were hurt by my comments accept my very deepest apologies.  Many thanks for my friend Deanne Shoyer at Small, But Kinda Mighty for bringing this to my attention.**

Dear Members of the Media,

My name is Zita and I am a mother. I have two beautiful children, my son Sam who is almost-four and my daughter Charlize who is 14 months.

I want to talk to you about Sam.

Sam is a beautiful boy. He has curly blonde hair and big, soulful blue eyes. He loves to swim. He loves to play in parks, especially on the swings and on the slides. He loves trains, and carebears, and puzzles, and building blocks, and music. He laughs- a lot- the kind of big, boisterous laughing characteristic of a four year-old boy. He is learning to read and write and can even spell out his name with puzzle pieces. He adores being outside, and happily takes long walks to commute with nature. He is extraordinary.

And today, you put his life at risk.

Yes, members of the media. You are endangering my son's life.

How, you ask?

Well, aside from being a loving, affectionate child who is full of life and joy, Sam also happens to be Autistic. So "severely autistic that he [can] not speak" (to quote this article from The Province). 

Sam's world can be a very intense place to live in. Bright lights, loud sounds, crowded spaces, and strong smells can all lead to very strong reactions in his body.  These sensory differences, along with his significant communication challenges, can sometimes create barriers to socializing in a way that is expected and deemed 'typical' for his age. He loves things intensely- some would even describe this as obsessively- and feels just as strongly about the things he dislikes.  Sam's world is a complex tapestry of extremes, battling it out with each other.

Sam is, at this time, unable to use any words, signs or alternative communication with consistency or regularity, and communicates exclusively through his body and his behaviour. He has repetitive stereotyped behaviours that he uses to calm his extremely sensitive sensory system, and generally maintains a very happy, calm demeanour.

But sometimes, as we are all prone to doing, Sam gets frustrated.

And sometimes, this means that he has very intense and physical manifestations of his frustrations.

There are many reasons why Sam gets frustrated. Some are related to his Autism and some are not. But without adequate alternatives for expressing himself, Sam is left with little option but to express his feelings in the only way that he is able to do so. To some, this may be perceived as aggression. It may even be perceived to be "violent and out of control" (to quote this article from Global News Vancouver). But violence, by its very nature, insinuates an intention to do harm.

Sammie has no intention of doing harm. To him, his physicality is the only form of communication that is currently within his control.  This is typical for many Autistic people.

But he is not "suffering from Autism".

He is a happy, loving and well-adjusted Autistic boy. And the only thing that he suffers from is an extraordinary amount of misinformation, propaganda, and dehumanization at the hands of our society.

And, at the hands of you- members of the media- by virtue of being the primary agents for the proliferation of these stereotypes, propagated under the guise of "news".

Today, I learned of another death in our Autism community. The death of a child at the hands of his "loving" mother.

The murder of a child. Sadly, he is not the first, but his story hit me on a deeply personal level.

His name was Robert Robinson. He was "a big 16 year old", non-speaking Autistic child, and he loved the outdoors. He felt calm and free when walking beside the ocean.

Sam loves the outdoors too...

I would love to tell you more about Robert...really, I would. But I can't.

Because you didn't tell me about who Robert was. All you told me was how difficult he was for his "100 pound, shy, loving mother" to manage.

All you told me was about how his existence was a 'burden'; how he made his family, especially his poor mother, feel overwhelmed; how his death was the result of deficiencies in the 'system'.

Yes, members of the media, you told a story. And in doing so, whether intentionally or not, you propagated the same lie that you have been telling for hundreds of years: That disabled people's right to life is solely dependent on whether or not abled people are willing to grant it. 

You see, in your stories, you miss the point: A child was brutally murdered by their parent. 

There can be no excuses for this. There can be no sympathy or compromise. There can be no justification that allows for parents to take the lives of their children- the most vulnerable members in our society.

You are spreading a lie when you say that the 'system' failed Robert.

His mother failed him.

His mother systematically planned out and executed his murder.

And then she executed herself, unwilling to live with the consequences of her heinous crime.

You called her 'loving'. You said she was a 'victim'.

Your headlines spoke of her.

"Prince Rupert mom left suicide note saying she could no longer care for severely autistic son."
"Distraught woman killed autistic son then took her own life"
"Prince Rupert family's ordeal ends in tragedy"
"Tragic deaths in Prince Rupert avoidable"

No where in your headlines do we read the word "murder".

Nowhere do we see "Disabled, vulnerable child executed by the one person in the world who was supposed to protect him."

In fact, throughout almost every article, Robert's death is treated as a side-line item, an almost inconsequential aspect of the story. The real story that you are telling is of a 'system' that failed a mother in need- so gravely overwhelmed by her violent, 'unmanageable' son.

And, in doing so, implicitly, you are blaming Robert for his own death. After all, if he had only been easier to manage, this would never have happened.

And while there are certainly questions that need to be asked of the system, not once do you ask what the government is going to do to protect vulnerable children from their 'potentially-murderous' parents- because we know that to imply that all parents are capable of killing children is wrong (Edited to add: implying that all parents of special needs children, if they aren't given the right amount of 'supports' are capable of murdering their children is equally wrong which is another significant issue with the language in these types of articles.)

Not once do you ask what sort of non-violent crisis intervention parents are required to take, despite knowing that the biggest risk of violence towards children is at the hands of their caregivers.

Not once do you examine the need for complete access to family and child counselling services that is free of any economic and/or social barrier.

Not once did you comment on the need to ensure that disabled children are in environments where they are not placed at further risk.

Instead, you are busily portraying the caregiver as the victim, instead of the perpetrator.

Why is that?

I don't know.

Maybe that's the kind of story that will sell newspapers. Or maybe it's just that you have an incredibly difficult time understanding how any caregiver who has a severely disabled son could ever refrain from attempting to kill them.

Either way, here's what I know:

You, members of the media, have a social responsibility. As the ones charged with bringing the world its news, you must be accountable for the information that you are disseminating. And, as such, you have a responsibility to be accountable for the consequences of these stories.

The story you told when Robert Robinson died is one that reenforces that a disabled child's right to life is proportionate to the amount of government services a family receives. That it should be up to the government to ensure that these children are not killed, instead of up to the parents who should be charged with keeping them alive, at the very least. That Robert Robinson was murdered by the state, and not by his own mother.

You have devalued his life down to a dollar figure, and in doing so, you have also devalued my child's life as well. You have painted me out as a victim of the overwhelming burden my child places on my life, instead of as a mother who has the legal, ethical and moral responsibility to provide him with the a life in which he can thrive.

You have placed his life at risk by telling society that violence towards him is understandable. This is a message that is being heard by his peers, his teachers, and every single human being he will have contact with.

When you blame the victim- when you call into question whether their behaviour was an understandable reason for the violence committed against them- you are tacitly exonerating the perpetrator.  This is as true for the murder of disabled people as it is for rape, hate crimes, or any other crime against one's person.

When you normalize violence towards disabled people, you tell others that it is ok to do harm to my son. And while his father and I will never harm him, we are- sadly- not the only people who would have the power to do so. He will have other caregivers throughout his life. We will not always be there to protect him. 

 I am begging you to consider this the next time a child dies at the hand of their caregivers. I am begging you to tell the child's story, to see the world through their eyes, to understand their vulnerability, to care about their humanity. 

Robert Robinson was 16.
Sam will be 16 one day. 
He was a big, strong teenaged boy.
Sam is big and strong already. He will surely become bigger and stronger with every passing day.
He loved nature and the ocean.
Sam loves nature and the ocean.
He was non-speaking.
Sam is non-speaking. 
He was like my child.

And he was murdered because of it.

Robert Robinson, age 16. You will not be forgotten. RIP <3

That is the story you need to tell in order to save lives.


A heartbroken and terrified mother.

It should be noted that, at this time, Sam has received the following services from the Alberta government: Early Invention, in which a caregiver came to our home to teach us how to better meet his communication needs, and an early-learning program unit funding that has allowed his to attend a special needs preschool every morning. We have not received any additional services or financial supports for Sam, though these are being made available to us in the near future and will include funding for family coaching in speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavioural support, as well as some limited funding for respite care. For further information on the supports available to families caring for children with disabilities in Alberta, please visit the Human Services Ministry page.


  1. I am very saddened to hear of Robert's murder and of his mother's anguish.

    Things like this, and the way the media and people respond all change how things in the future are handled.

    It is not the governments responsibility to have kept Robert alive. But I am afraid that is what the government will decide. Thus parents with children with autism, or any other diagnosis could be at risk of the government stepping in to 'help'. A parent who asks for help, could be deemed too overwhelmed and instead of receiving help, the parent could have their child removed from their own loving care and placed into the foster system.

    I have never had any of my children diagnosed with anything. However once when I had 2 young children I was at my wits end. I didn't know what to do, I needed help, I asked for help. And I was given some hoops to jump through, or my children would be taken away.

    In the time that's passed I've learned one thing very well, do not ask for help, making mistakes - and mean BIG mistakes - is better than loosing your child.

    Cases like this could place even more people into situations like I was in, where asking for help gets you in trouble, but not asking for help leaves you with nothing left to give.

    Parents need help, parents need support, they do not need the government stepping in and taking over. And you're right, the media has placed the blame on the government. I am terrified of what'll happen if the government just steps blindly in looking for a way to make the noise stop, vs actually trying to find a solution.

    1. Thank you for reading, Sarah. <3

    2. Hi Sarah,
      I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to more thoroughly respond to your comment yesterday. I was overwhelmed with notifications, but wanted to give it my full attention.

      I think that there is an awful lot of misunderstanding surrounding child apprehension, particulary in Alberta. There is actually a very small percentage of children who are taken away from their homes and placed elsewhere. In the event that a parent is deemed unfit, the first steps are always to investigate in-home supports and/or kinship care.

      I have come to know dozens (probably more than 100) families with children who have disabilities. Unless there were situations of neglect, these families were never threatened with having their children removed. While the help they receive may not always be perfectly expedient, the intention is always to do what is best for the children.

      The system is not perfect- not by a long shot- but it is also not the bad guy. I am very sorry that you did not receive the support that you needed when you felt desperate and needed help. I am sorry that you were not given the help that you needed. But I could not disagree with you more when you say that making mistakes is better than having your children taken away. The sad thing is that sometimes we are not the best caregivers for our children. There have been nights where I have had to hand over parental control to my mother in order to find my place of mental health and stability.

      While having children removed from your home temporarily would be traumatic and horrible (and incredibly wrong if there was no negligence), it is infinitely preferable to murdering them.

      There is no excuse for murder. Not ever.

  2. There are times when I am frightened by "autism parents" - when I start to think that I somehow got the only parent on the planet who didn't see me as broken because of my neurology. And then I read things like this, or like Ariane Zurcher's blog or Beth Ryan's. It gives me a bit of hope.

    Thank you for what you do, and for presuming competence in us. It means quite a lot.

    1. I agree- Autism Parent Culture can be a terrifying thing. But some of the most amazing people I have met are parenting Autistic kids- they are the ones who are hearing the voices of Autistic advocates and are sharing messages of love and acceptance. They inspire me as well. Thank you for reading and for commenting. And thank you for building the roots of a strong community and better world for my son. <3

  3. Very well said, all i could think was the same thing my son is autistic too yet i would never consider this no matter how bad it got and he doesn't "suffer" either, he's a happy child. It's stuff like this that make people fear things like ASD.

    1. I agree. Fear is the worst thing that can happen to our children. The fear culture needs to stop so that they can live full, rich and happy lives.

  4. Beautiful pen and mind. Many thanks for telling Robert's sad story, and good for you for having such a lovely son. Parents need to be responsible and that, unfortunately, seems to be fading away from the society!

    1. Thank you for reading, and thank you for taking the time to comment.

  5. The worst thing you can do to anyone who is desperately struggling to manage from one minute to the next is to pass judgement. Before you say anything, stop and think about how many times you as parents are judged by others based on what they perceive to be the situation. Hopefully you will never have to know what this mother and son had to go through. Shaming and judging others is exactly why more people don't come forward to ask for help. Don't judge please.

    1. If you have actually 'been there', as your name suggests, I fear for you and for your children and suggest that you get psychological intervention immediately. Contemplating killing another person is a serious thing and should be addressed, even if the thought has passed. Please call your intervention services or, if none are available, your local police. If this is an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

      Do not kill your children. Killing your children is not the answer. Ever.

      And "the very worst thing we can to do anyone" is to argue that their life is so insignificant that it is disposable. People don't come forward and ask for help for a variety of reasons. But they don't come forward and ask for help when it comes to killing their child because it is wrong.

    2. I did not see any judgment passed on the mother besides murdering your child for any reason in any circumstance is wrong. The judgment is put on the media coverage of it making murder seem justifiable and ok.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Until you walk in my shoes and deal with the lack of services, no family or friends to help and an extremely violent child, you really have no place to judge. If you read the article, she DID ask for help, she asked for placement, they denied it, saying it wasn't possible - she tried to ask for help - but no one answered her. She wanted help, not to have him in a jail cell, if you think abuse happens now, what do you think happens to kids/adults like this in a jail setting? Lots of difference between a 4 year old and a big, very strong 16 year old, who is the size of a grown man. I agree with Been There - "Shaming and judging others is exactly why more people don't come forward to ask for help. Don't judge please."

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Dee Jax:

      I have absolutely no reservations with judging a murder as being a horrendous crime. As for the mother, I have very little input aside from the fact that she murdered her child and that doing so is a heinous crime.

      If you have a problem with this, then I strongly recommend you find a different blog to read.

  6. The story is heartbreaking from all perspectives and I really appreciate what you've written here but I just don't understand your inference above that temporary removal of Robert from his mother's home was a threat or an option or something else. That doesn't appear to be the case at all so I'm just wondering where that comes from and how it comes in to play. I'm a mother and don't want to even think about being so desperate that I would even consider harming my child but this woman appears to have pleaded for help and the answer she got was "No." I do not want to detract from the horror of what happened here but it's not like putting this child into care, temporary or otherwise, was an option.

    From the story that I read: "Ron Watson said he and Angie Robinson went together to a Family Services office in late March, pleading for help. Robinson spoke with a social worker and asked for a long-term placement for Robert. According to the family, on or around April 2, she was informed a residential placement for Robert wasn’t possible."

    1. Thank you for your comment. I guess my question is this:

      Had the mother called 911 and said "I'm thinking about murdering my son. Please place me under arrest", what do you think would have happened?

  7. The more I look at these events, the more I begin to think they are not isolated incidents. Is a cereal killer of some sort trying to cover up the fraud and crime going on at Autism Speaks? I don't know exactly what is going on but the shooting, stabbing, marathon bombing, suspicious car accidents stuff, sex abuse allegations parents killing children, and children killing parents all seem to center around this organization. Why would parents who actively fought for and loved their children kill them? perhaps these cases should be investigated further.

    1. I do not think that they are isolated events- they are part of a bigger social picture in which disabled people have been dehumanized to the point of their lives being considered disposable. I do think that Autism Speaks is an incredibly corrupt, unethical corporation. But I think that their involvement is more in the tacit approval of violence against Autism than it is in orchestrating a mass cover up.

      Thank you for your comments, and thank you for reading.

  8. Wow... heartless view to take towards a woman who really needed understanding. Yes, maybe she needed some mental health support for herself as well... Do you think she would have gotten it? Hah!

    I hope you never know what kind of helplessness she felt. Does Sam beat you? Overpower you regularly? Smash the windows out of your vehicle with his skull? Do you fear he may take his own life? Your life? Anyone's life? Imagine being beaten for years by someone you loved so very much, who you dedicated your life too, who you tried so desperately to keep at home and whom you feared would end up in jail or another institution that could not meet the needs of that person you loved with your whole heart. Do you know the impossibility of holding down a half decent job when you have to always be advocating for your child? To be called into the school so often that you should have your own office there. To be always out of money, energy and hope? Imagine being turned away when you asked desperately for help, upon realizing that 16 years of solitary and intensely trying effort was just not enough.
    Consider what would have been done if he didn't have autism and damaged himself and others and property... Or if it was a story of a spouse abusing his wife. (Worth noting, an autistic man horrifically killed and dismembered his wife not too long ago on the island. - - Can we say "poor woman" about her, without summoning your judgement? Or can we rightfully say that the system failed them both?)
    This mother likely had very deep and real fears that her son would hurt her or someone else and end up in a system she could not protect him from. What would his life be like in a cell? This boy who loved nature and being outdoors. If she had called 911 that day, assume the ministry would have taken him, though we don’t know they would have... Do you know of many children who thrive in, or benefit from a life in, the “care” of social services? In particular, children with special needs. She killed him, and herself, not because of the "consequence of her heinous crime" but because she was desperate and felt hopeless, among other things. I'm not saying her actions were ideal, but even with a clear head, and while not currently being beaten and left to handle it alone, I have trouble thinking of reasonable alternatives for her.

    This is a failure of a system, not of a parent. She was a human being who needed support, in order to support another human being, with an incredibly unmanageable condition. It is unreasonable to assume that intense of a burden should have been hers alone.

    The government doesn't want to support its citizens, so we should no longer support the government. If citizens didn't have to pay the government nearly half of their lifetime earnings in various taxes, to fund these marginal services... just to witness most of the funds squandered on bureaucracy anyway... I believe we would have stronger communities. People WANT TO help people! ...and animals, and farmers, etc. They don't want to help corporations, nor so called "leaders" to fund expensive trips/meetings/pandas/orange juice, etc. We need a system where people pay their "taxes" directly to the causes they support (or public services, etc) in the form of donations and assistance. We would see a much more humane system and a lot less waste. A project that didn't get support of enough people would simply not happen and vice versa, a project (ie; mental health) that citizens are passionate about, would see a rise in funding and increased ease of access.

    Please. Let's not point fingers at a broken down human but at a broken down system that has failed and should be put out of its/our misery. No one is "blaming" the child victim, as you say. No one believes he deserved to die for his condition. This story has a family, even a province, full of victims, one of whom you are unfairly blaming.

    Very sad.


      *Source for how much we pay in taxes over a lifetime.

      Was too many characters to fit into my reply.

  9. Yes. I have had those fears. I have lived those hard days. I have had similar experiences, just as terrifying, just as hard.

    I did not murder my child.

    Murder is wrong.

    Not once in your post did you mention the victim, the child- murdered at the hands of the person who has supposed to protect him. Not once did you show any empathy for Robin's life and for their experiences. Your entire comment reenforces everything that I have said in this post.

    The mother is not the victim. The child is the victim. The mother made a choice surrounding her ending her own life. But she took away Robin's life as well. There can be no excuse for that.

    Murder is wrong.

    You are the one lacking understanding.

    Murder is always wrong. End of story.

  10. "I'm not saying her actions were ideal, but even with a clear head, and while not currently being beaten and left to handle it alone, I have trouble thinking of reasonable alternatives for her."

    Two things to add: First, this act was not a crime of passion. It was premeditated. It was first degree murder. All facts in this case indicate presence of mind. And if you have 'trouble thinking of reasonable alternatives for her' you should get psychiatric help immediately, and it is completely not healthy to consider murder a reasonable response in any situation, regardless of stress level.

  11. "Not once in your post did you mention the victim, the child- murdered at the hands of the person who has supposed to protect him. Not once did you show any empathy for Robin's life and for their experiences."
    Then you didn't read my post...
    I feel for the entire family. The child victim, the mother at the end of her resources, the family and friends left behind... but you are getting angry at someone who took their own life in desperation, because you drew a parallel to your own life and decided you would make a better choice in her place... Maybe you would, but we can't know because YOU are NOT in the same place. Judging the desperate act of a desperate woman is not helping anyone. "Not a crime of passion" ?? Is hopeless desperation a healthy "presence of mind" ?

    Also, notice I wrote "REASONABLE alternatives". I would love to know, as I'm sure would thousands of others, exactly what she could have done to provide a decent life for her child and herself. Please advise... because there are a lot more people out there on the edge than we know. HELP THEM PLEASE!!!

    Yah, I probably do need "psychiatric help immediately" but fucked if I'll be getting any at my income level, in this province of my birth, where I pay bucketloads of taxes to fund a failed system and still won't have enough left over to pay for basic costs of living for myself and my child.

    1. If you need psychiatric help immediately, dial 911.

      This is what Angie Robinson should have done.

      You have the opportunity to not put yourself and your child in further danger by calling the authorities and asking them to intervene.

    2. Pia, Lots of good points... big difference between a 4 year old and a big, very strong 16 year old the size of a grown man who can be uncontrollable. You have NOT had the same kind of experience when you are dealing with a 4 year old. I am sad that this woman did not get the help she so desperately was crying out for and that she felt there was no other way. Every one is quick to come out and say how wrong this was - but where are the solutions? Momma, I love how the way to deal with someone who disagrees with you with VALID points... just delete their comments - good on 'ya, you can make it look like everyone agrees with you!

    3. Dee Jax: The only reason you are able to read Pia's posts is because I didn't delete them. I said that subsequent posts would be deleted as I have no intention of allowing this page to degenerate into a space where my child and I are personally attacked.

      That being said, if you were experienced with this page at all, you would know that I actually have extensive experience working closely with the disabled community. My views and opinions are those of a parent yes, but also of a community worker, and human being in general. It does not take a lot for me to figure out that murder is wrong; society has deemed it as such for thousands of years. This is why murderers go to jail.

      There is no excuse for murder. None.

  12. Calling 911 is a reasonable alternative.

    Are you the parent of an Autistic or disabled child, Pia?
    Because you do know that you are lecturing me about what MY life is like and what you believe MY needs to be...right?

    I am not angry with someone who took their own life in desperation. I am angry with someone who took her child's life before taking her own life. Her own life is hers to do with as she pleases- that's Canadian law. Surely, I would have preferred for her to seek out additional alternatives, but at least it was her own life.

    But her son's life did not belong to her. She did not have the right to make that decision for him. End of story.

    Murder is always wrong.

    I'm done with this conversation.

    Any further comments from you will be deleted.

  13. I am a mother of a 15 year old autistic daughter and I agree with you completely. Murder is wrong, and the worst thing that could have happened if he was given up is that she would have to live with the shame of not being able to care for him, and he may have bounced around to a few temporary foster homes. That's it. No need to kill. She was a selfish murderer!

    1. Gina. I agree. Thank you for reading and for sharing your comment.

    2. She DID ask for placement for him and was turned down, that's it...nice spin.

    3. What she needed was placement for herself. It's called 911.

      It is NEVER ok to commit murder.

      Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you??? Why are you so damn intent on justifying that murdering a child is ok? You are a whole new level of messed up.

      And yeah- any further comments from you will also be deleted. Why? Cause it's my page and I am tired of your hatred towards the disabled.

  14. (full disclosure - I am diagnosed with an ASD)

    I have a theory about the "justification" slant the media pushes. Simply put, it allows people to shift blame away from themselves. No one wants to believe that they are capable of such a crime. A "normal" person would never cross over to the dark side, would never be so fully consumed by the unfairness of raising a severely autistic child that they would capitulate to an act of evil. Because a normal person would not do this, then something must have "forced" the behavior upon them. This "forcing" is critical, because if a normal person would do this without forcing, without some external push, then ANYONE is capable of doing it. Any normal person is capable of murder. And since very few people are willing to admit they are capable of such an act, there is a powerful need to find external forces that can bear the blame.

    Not enough support. Not enough services. Not enough money, therapy, mental health interventions, pills, diets, books, government programs, information - not enough STUFF to counteract the oppressive monster than is autism.

    Surely, the cause is not within. Surely the blame is not within our own hearts and minds. Surely, no normal person can commit such a crime.

    So the voices are raised to DO SOMETHING. The anger and outrage is directed outward and SOMEBODY NEEDS TO FIX THIS. But once the news has faded and the instant gratification of internet socialization has done it's job (wow - I feel so much better now that I expressed my outrage), our lives can go on undisturbed, safe in the knowledge that the net effect of our collective outrage is that somebody will actually do something,

    News flash - nothing happens simply for the wishing.. If you really think something needs to be done - go do something about it. Don't be complicit in the media driven assignment of blame to anonymous forces that absolve us of our personal responsibilities. These crimes are committed by normal, everyday people. People like you and me. Whatever is to be done about this starts with us.

  15. We need to be gentle with parents, and those who deserve help need to RECEIVE IT... and not assume that families have supports, as many, if not most, do NOT, particularly if the child is in the severe range. The supports need to be granted to such families, w/ county workers assessing and responding to families in crisis. Our communities have ample funds for community centers, ballparks, holiday decor and trees, etc. The money is there, we need to connect it with the people who need it for respite care, therapeutic equipment, alterations to the home, things to HELP. The understanding needs to be that only those who have a loved one with a disability or those trained to assist them are the ONLY ones who GET IT. Not only do the funds assist but the parents know that others DO understand. That will save lives.

    1. I am a parent. I am a parent of a severe, non-speaking Autistic child.

      I do not expect people to be gentle with me when it comes to any behaviour that can harm my children.

      This post is not about supports. It is about the fact that it is wrong to murder children, regardless of their disability and/or funding.

      There is no excuse for the murder of a child. End of story.

      That is the ONLY thing that will save children's lives from being stolen from them.

    2. The way to prevent murder is with support. That is the prequel to the 'story'. No parent has a child with the intent for a family to end in murder.

    3. Megan, how true...very well said.

    4. No, the way to prevent murder is not kill.

      Kind of like the way to prevent a rape is for rapists not to rape. It's not up to girls to get educated and to learn to 'dress right'. It's up to men to not rape. And it's up to parents to not kill.

      There is no correlation between the amount of supports received and the commission of murder towards an Autistic child. This happens in areas with a wide variety of levels of funding- some from zero all the way to over 100K per year. This is not about funding. It is not about supports. It is about a society that is full of people (like you) who are intent on devaluing an Autistic person's right to life.

      Murder is never ok. End of story.

    5. I can't really formulate a reply to fantasy land, so I will wish you well and let each blog viewer draw their own conclusions on the causes and effects. Dee Jax, thanks!

    6. Translation: "That's a good point and you have no response to it."

  16. I applaud your response to this article. I work with developmentally disabled individuals, and you are absolutely correct in the media twisting the story here. Thank you for speaking out for Robert, Sam and all of the others that need a voice.

    1. Thank you for reading it and for working to make the world a better place for disabled people.