Sunday, 8 September 2013


That is the word for what I’m feeling- disgusted.  I have continued to follow the story regarding the woman in Michigan and the attempted murder of her autistic daughter- of course I have, I read this woman’s blog, felt a “connection” to her, and remain in shock that this happened.  And I would venture to guess that much of the autism community is feeling the same. 

If you are on the outside looking in on this situation, I can see how you might think that the autism community is “supporting” this woman, even find it disgusting.  I think that this view is  huge misconception of what we, as a community are feeling.  I am about to turn off notifications on “Status Woe”, her blog, because I can no longer stand some of the horrific comments that keep appearing.  It’s a war between autism parents, autistic adults, and some other morons that are there just to make the whole situation worse. 

The autistic individuals are accusing the autism parents of codoning murder; if the victim is autistic.  Speaking from my personal point of view, this could not be further from the truth.  My mama bear instincts are stronger than most and I do whatever I can to protect my two autistic children.  The last thing I can ever, ever imagine is hurting either of them.  They are my world, and I would venture to guess that this is the consensus among parents in the autism community.  Especially those who are online talking about this issue- these are parents who have made the effort to reach out for much needed support, treatment strategies, behavioral strategies, and other educational resources.  And many of them are expressing “empathy” for this woman- NOT for her act, which is certainly not one to be accepted or supported, but for her SITUATION, what led to the clear mental instability that caused this horrible decision.  Because we are all frustrated. We are all lacking the resources we need to help improve our children’s lives.  I am going to repost some comments- please gird your loins, and understand that I am posting these to make my readers aware of the disconnect that exists.  P.S. Don’t let your kiddos near this, the foul language alone is upsetting, the content, well, see for yourself.
1.     Adventures in Autism says:
I doubt that as you were growing up that you put people in the hospital with your violent outbursts. I’m sure it is really not the same situation. I don’t know this woman but, as a mom with a child with autism, I can understand some of the hopelessness you feel for you child because you love them so much. The despair when you can’t seem to help them when they are in so much pain. The autistic adults around the web that are commenting on this story in different places…I doubt they had this version of autism. This isn’t about murdering an innocent child because you hate them or you think they are a burden. This isn’t about getting your own way. This is a person who has spent years fighting for her child. This is about having the rug pulled out from under you when the plan you have in place is cancelled with almost no time to plan for something else. This is about a desperate person in the pit of despair. If you can’t feel compassion for her then I hope you never have a child with special needs because you need empathy and compassion in large abundance in order to constantly meet their needs while often ignoring your own. It can take over your whole life.
Fuck you lady.
You don’t know anything about our “versions” of autism. You don’t know how and if our parents fought for us. The only thing you can know, is that we survived. We survived, and some of us are in worse shape than others, despite surviving, and we’re angry, because this girl, Issy, might well NOT survive.
We’re justifiably angry, because one of our own might well have died because her mother “loved her so much.”
I’m just glad my mother obviously didn’t love me that much, if the ultimate sign of love is attempting murder on your autistic child

    • My 3 Sons says:
How dare you.
Not seeing the good, only the negative? You think there are such amazing supports and such understanding of ASD children these days? Oh, its such a small trial, to raise a child like this. How could we be so weak, so stupid, so very lazy? NT parents don’t understand sacrifice, don’t honor diversity and just want a easy spoiled life. How awful and selfish we are! We just don’t try hard enough and we tire so easily. We are so busy living for ourselves, we don’t know what love really is. Please connect me to the plethora of options and treatments for my son. (I’ve never even tried to find any.) Then come over and show me how to raise my son correctly because I am sure you will do it with more knowledge and grace than I can muster
2.     From The Trenches says:
As a parent of an autistic child, we have a perspective that others will never understand. All any parent wants for their child is that they lead a happy, healthy and productive life. You never forget the devastation you feel when you sit in the doctor’s office and get the diagnosis. Nothing is ever the same again. Now you spend every waking minute trying to find the ‘silver bullet’ that leads to your child’s recovery. Recovery means that your child will grow up and have friends; they will not be bullied or ostracized; they will go to school dances and play in sports; people will not stare at them; they will be able to hold down a job and someday get married and have children of their own. These can be lofty goals for many.
We spend all of our time and money chasing that elusive dream that one day our child will be mainstreamed. Unfortunately, for many parents, the day comes when they realize that their child will never lead a ‘normal’ life. You must always be there to provide for and protect your child -until the day you die.
I think that day came for Mrs. Stapleton. After 13 years of chasing the dream, she realized that this what is in store for her daughter and her family. She could not help Issy and no one could help her. With nowhere to turn, I think she was terrified that her daughter was going to end up taken from her and institutionalized. This is what Alex’s mother saw, her son being restrained for hours and in her words treated like an animal. These women believed that their children needed to be spared from any further pain and suffering.
Do I condone such an action? No. However misguided this may be, I think they believed they were protecting their children from a very cruel world. From the viewpoint of a parent of a special needs child, it is indeed a cruel world. Many of the posters here are confirmation.
    • Alexis says:
Oh, pffffft. Your special snowflake, ooops, I mean special needs child is no better than my healthy child . You chose to have him/her – deal. And stop expecting hero status and a free pass to murder because OMG, stress!
tdspringer says:
Alexis, you are a clueless idiot. Tell you what….one of the mom’s on here with a difficult to deal with autistic teen will send you her child for a week…..then you can maybe comment with some intelligence….if you can still comment.
    • Alexis says:
I don’t want anyone to send me their kid. I don’t care about their ‘special needs’. I don’t want to ‘walk in their shoes’. I couldn’t give a flying feather. They have support, they have assistance, they even [according to some of you] have a free pass to murder. What more do you people need?? I suggest you all get off social media and parent your brats.

 loveexplosions says:
Nobody is perfect? Seriously? Did you really say that she, “snapped”? When I “snap”, I bark at my husband, I let someone have it on the phone, I cry. I don’t try to kill my children. She can’t take the blame? Someone that changed the rules is to blame? Um, no. She tried to KILL her daughter. She IS to blame. Mothers that love their children, do not try to kill them. No matter what.
Erin says:
Jenny M says:
Exactly. I can’t believe people are making excuses for this!
Autism momx3 says:
Do you have a profoundly autistic, violent child? And then hit road blocks at every single turn? While still caring for said child? Who are you to judge a woman whose life you cannot even begin to comprehend?
@Autism momX3– I’m not going to share the most private details of my child’s ife with you, an out of touch stranger, on the internet. Parents that are more interested in the welfare of their children than in fame/sympathy grabbing don’t go around publicly characterizing their children as violent. Who am I to judge? Well, I am a parent that would never conceive of killing my Autistic child. No matter what. Since you can conceive of murdering one’s own child, you are either not a parent. Or you’re a loathsome parent. Period.
tdspringer says:
Hmm…I see a lack of education here. There is a BIG difference between losing your temper because hubby forgot to put the toilet seat down again and having a psychotic break after 14 years of mental stress, years of physical abuse, and a system which has, once again, torn away ANY hope at a semi-normal life.
As for deciding whether Kelli loves Issy or not…how dare you? READ the blog. This woman devoted 14 years to helping her daughter try to have a life. To 14 years of FIGHTING the system which refused to give her ANY hope. She allowed Issy to abuse her, take her attention away from her other children (because I guarantee that caring for Issy was more than a full-time effort), and yet she was SO happy when the behavioural plan devised for Issy was WORKING because it meant Issy could have SOME semblance of a life! Then the school ripped that hope away, again leaving this family alone to battle it’s demons. Yes, Issy has two parents. But WHO was the parent who had virtually all of the day-to-day responsibility?? Someone had to work to earn money to pay the bills. Too bad Kelli wasn’t the one with the degrees and the good-paying job.
What she did was wrong. Of COURSE it was. But for all of you to judge her….to say she doesn’t love Issy, to say that she did this out of hate or malice or whatever, YOU lack compassion and empathy and you have NO CLUE what this poor woman was going through nor what she will now have to go through.
Goatsong1 says:
You are right! Thank you.
Goatsong1 says:
Thank you!

3.     Autistigirl says:
As an Autistic of an abusive mother who ended up in foster care for crap like this… My heart and prayers go out to ISSY. She deserves life just like any other human being, and there’s no excuse for someone trying to take that from her.
So, wait, are you autistic?
Rebecca says:
Why yes she says she is!! See! It says so on her crown. I AM AUTISTIC LOOK AT MEEEEE!
Carol says:
Your mother should have aborted you. And now STFU!
nonmouse says:
Fuck you, you POS. autistigirl is angry and upset for a fucking reason. Hell, many of us are. Because for us, this is a reality we might fucking face, being murdered by a carer, and everybody saying they understand why it was done.
The overwhelming calls of “shut up” and the insults show nicely just how much people like you actually care about autistic people. Not one whit, obviously.
Goatsong1 says:
Rebecca, Kelli tried to murder her child. She told her husband she was going to do it. Then she tried to. There’s no excuse for trying to kill another human being. This woman was supposed to be Issy’s protector and advocate.

How do I feel about all of this at this point?  One word- sick.  I can’t read it anymore, I just can’t.  But I wanted to make you all aware.  Not that Kelli was justified, I don’t believe that, not that she is evil, because I don’t believe that either.  I want you to be aware of what both people with autism and parent of children with autism are facing.  Both populations are treated like crap, and frankly treat each other like crap in these comments.  And of course it’s a highly emotional topic for all of us.  But this vitriol is not solving one thing.  And the fact that if these people read the most current updates they would know that Issy is awake and responsive at this point does not change the horror of what was done to her, nor does it change the fact that her mom is going to have to live with what she did for the rest of her life- likely behind bars.  Knowing that she has now left her husband and children alone to do deal with this issue while she will look on powerless to change anything around her.  More support is needed for parents, more support is needed for autistic individuals.  No one EVER deserves to be hurt.  This horrible thing happened, and it’s devastating, but the resulting crap being hurled back and forth is only deepening the wounds for people who can relate to this situation on all sides of the fence. 

To the adults with autism who are upset and commenting on the blog- I hear you, and suspect that most of the parents who are posting hear you as well.  In no way did Issy or anyone else ever deserve to endure something this awful.  I completely agree that there is no excuse for murder, no matter what the circumstance.  And she could have called 911, she could have called a family member and said “I can’t” and any of those options would have resulted in a relatively good outcome for all.  That being said, I know how desperate I feel to HELP my little boys each and every day of my life.  We  have been fortunate thus far- right now they have what they need and I will continue to move heaven and earth to give them the best life I possibly can.  It is my responsibility and honor to do this for the children that I carried for 9 months, they are my heart and my greatest accomplishment. 

On the flip side, I pray for my younger son to communicate with me every single day.  He is frustrated, he is only 3, it’s going to get worse if I don’t find a “better” way to help him.  I am scared, so very scared for him.  I am scared that I am doing it wrong, I am scared that I did something wrong and that is why he has these challenges.  I am depressed that all of my efforts have not been more effective.  I repeat, he is only 3.  As the person who knows and loves him more than anyone else on earth, the thought of him existing in this state breaks my heart.  I hate sending him to school or daycare because I feel like he won’t be able to make his needs known, I fear that he will be treated inappropriately and I will never know, because once again, he can’t tell me.  He is not aggressive, at all, if anything he is my squishy lovey teddy bear.  I do not know how I would handle it if my precious boy gave me multiple head injuries.  I just don’t know.  I know that I would be seeking help from any and all resources available.  If I did this for years, and years, and years, thought I finally had a plan in place for him and then was told that in fact nothing that I had spent the last number of years working for would ever come to fruition, who am I to say how I would react?  Because I don’t know.  My “guess” is that I would go home and bury my head under my pillow, cry for a day or two, steel myself and do what needs to be done.  That’s what I do when I experience a set back now.  I can’t say what happened in this case, nor can you.  We can AGREE that it was horrible and wrong.  I think that all the moms and dads are asking for on the blog is the same degree of respect for what we try to do for our children with autism that you want for being a functioning and deserving human being.  We all deserve respect for the challenges that we all face on a daily basis.  You have my respect.  I see autism in its “purest” form every day.  I shield my older son with auditory sensitivities as much as I can, I spend hours with my younger son going through every item in the cabinet until I can figure out what he wants.  And like I said before, it’s my privilege.  Because I love them.  I would never be able to accept, let alone condone someone hurting my babies. 

The hate on this woman’s blog really needs to stop.  It is too heated for any solution or resolution to ever occur.  It is not productive.  I would rather hear more from people with autism about how they handle the world around them, especially sensory issues.  I would rather know what I can do, from someone who has experienced these issues, to help my children feel more comfortable in their surroundings.  That is something worth discussing.  And we can all pray for Issy.


  1. My only issues were people seemed to condone her behavior which I found strange. As a parent of a child with special needs I could not fathom hurting my child. I can be sympathetic but no one will force me to feel that what she did was justified. Autism is hard. The woman reached her breaking point and felt helpless but what she did was not right. I skipped over the comment that used foul language but I agreed with the majority of the people who said she was wrong.

  2. Many autistics feel murder is being condoned because many non-autistics remain silent about the attempted murder of Izzy, what Izzy must be feeling, what Izzy's state of mind is and was, and what Izzy must be going through now that she is awake. Autistics feel murder is being condoned because many non-autistics only break the silence to write and talk about Kelli, what Kelli must be feeling, what Kelli's state of mind is and was, and what Kelli must be going through now.

    Many autistics see people breaking the silence to talk about the victims when parents murder or attempt to murder non-autistic children. Many autistics see this as a double-standard and as a sign that autistics are not valued by society or by non-autistic family members.

    Breaking the silence about autistic victims, and criticizing the decisions and actions of the perpetrator of crimes against autistic victims sends a clear message that crimes against autistics is a crime, is not tolerated, is not acceptable, is not to be expected, is not normal, and is not justifiable.

    For many autistics, staying silent sends a clear message that crimes against autistics are not a crime, is tolerated, is accepted, is expected, is normal, and is justifiable.

    Can you imagine how must worst the world would be today if Martin Luther King had decided to remain silent about his dream, or many people had decided to remain at home instead of marching to Washington D.C? Can you imagine how world war two might never have happened if more Germans had broken the silence and said, "this isn't right, Jews are people, they have a right to live, its not their fault are economy is collapsing"?.

    1. As an autistic woman myself, with an autistic husband and one autistic child, I feel the same way. Yes raising children can be extremely hard, but murder is always wrong. No excuse for autism abuse!

    2. I can appreciate what you are saying on many different levels, not just this horrific aspect of murder. I think autism is misunderstood or more importantly not understood at all by so many and that is a crime as well. I hope for more writing from autistic individuals because as my boys grow up I find that that is what I am craving. I want to know how my little guy, who is non-verbal and just starting with some assistive technology is feeling, I want to kow what he needs. I want you to speak up on behalf of Issy as well. My point was more that many of the parents and autistic individuals (and people who are both) are fighting about this when in reality they actually agree. That this was horrible, that this was wrong. Inexcusable. The empathy the parents are feeling is not for the murder attempt (TRUST me on this, it is NOT) but the exhaustion and hopelessness- for which there were other solutions that this mother did not choose. The issue is so emotional for every one (for obvious reasons) that semantics are getting in the way.

    3. Nice words, emotional words, but the autistic community are seeing news stories every single week of another parent or guardian having killed their autistic child.
      Enough is enough. Stop killing autistic kids. Period.

      There used to be excuses made for domestic abuse where a man felt under pressure with his job and family and he beat his wife. Poor guys felt under stress. Poor guy snapped.

      Those excuses are long gone now with feminism.

      If any person feels at risk of killing their child, any child, STOP, dial 911, go to a hospital, go to a friends house and tell them, go to a family member, do anything except kill your child! There are no excuses after the fact. Murder is murder.

    4. Victims rarely want to know what a nice person the perpetrator is or what hardships the perpetrator are/was facing. Mindful use of language is important to minimize victim blaming or secondary victimization. Suffering can be prolonged or increased even when people don't mean to through their language or semantic choices.

    5. I get where you are coming from on that. And you have made me think of all the statements from a different perspective. Sometimes it's hard for me to put myself in an adult with autism''s shoes as my kiddos are so little. There are many people on that blog that have clearly been abused and experienced trauma at the hands of "autism parents". I can't make others be more mindful of that but I can make that effort myself. Thank you for your perspective and your reminder of what living through trauma can do to an individual.

  3. Autistic people are capable of empathy and sympathy. There is no need for an autistic individual to have experienced abuse or trauma at the hands of anyone to appreciate how someone who has experienced abuse or trauma feels.

    A website and it's many external links that may be worth reading:

    1. Ummmm no where in any post or comment did I say that people with autism do not have empathy! Please do not attempt to twist my words. My autistic son cries when he sees a child in a wheelchair, if anything other people's plights affect him MORE. And if you have read the comments on her blog you will see numerous people with autism posting about previous traumas, I was speaking of being respectful of that

  4. I guess Issy's mother and most parents could have benefited from some advice early on like can be found in these articles, instead of doom and gloom:


    1. no offense "anonymous" but is not exactly my go to guide for autism parenting. That being said there are some valid points in one of the articles, but there is no one equipped to offer true advice to an autism parent. Every parent and child situation is different and no "guide" can cover all the bases.