So last week most of the internet noise in the autism sphere was about Alex Spourdalakis. In case you don’t know, he was an autistic teenager who was murdered by his mother and his caregiver. The murder was premeditated and violent.
I sort of wanted to blog about it, but sort of didn’t. I don’t want to ignore it, but I also don’t know what to say. I still don’t. It’s just so terrible. The whole thing is a bit of a mess in ways I don’t want to get into, but you can read some more about it here if you want to. The short version is that he was murdered because he was autistic.
That’s not where it ends, though. This is just another example, out of entirely too many, of children murdered by their parents due to their autism – and the general response being sympathy for the parents/killers. When a parent kills their child, it’s usually understood that it was a terrible thing to do and everyone feels bad for the poor child. Unless the child is autistic, apparently. Then it’s all about how hard it was for the parent.
This article spent most of it’s time talking about how challenging it is to parent an autistic child and passing the blame to other people or groups. As if the only reason his mother chose that route was because of the failure of other groups.
I don’t really want to get into that as it’s part of the whole mess that you can read about if you want to. What I do want to say, what lots of people have been saying because apparently we live in a society where this actually still needs to be said, is that it is NOT OK to murder your child, no matter what.
Much of my blog is about wanting respect. Wanting to change society so that there is more room for people who are outside the usual standard of what is “normal.” How can I even hope to do that when a premeditated and violent murder will garner sympathy for the killer, if the victim happened to be autistic.
So I don’t really know what to say. I don’t think I have anything to say that hasn’t been said already, by people who are more eloquent than I. Nonetheless, I think it’s pretty clear that we need to talk about this. I find myself wondering how well known this case is outside the autism internet-o-sphere. How many people who are not connected to autism in some way know that this is a thing – both the murder and the sympathy for the killer?