autism · Uncategorized

Alex Spourdalakis didn’t die because of his autism.

Alex Spourdalakis did not die because of his autism. He wasn’t “mercy killed” to relieve his suffering. He didn’t die because there aren’t enough services for people with autism. He didn’t die because people didn’t donate to Andrew Wakefield to “cure” him. He died because his mother and godmother chose to fill him full of sleeping pills. When that didn’t work, they stabbed him repeatedly and slit his wrists while he laid defenseless in his bed.

Alex’s mother didn’t murder her son because she couldn’t get him help. She didn’t murder her son to put him out of his misery.  She’s not a martyr.  She’s mentally ill, any parent who can murder their child has got to be. Her mental break wasn’t Alex’s fault.

It sickens me to see the media playing this story in a way that almost makes what those two women did excusable on any level. That blames everyone else besides the people who actually had the knife in their hands. They chose this. THEY CHOSE THIS. They chose to not seek further help. They chose to believe that his autism was a curse. They chose to not keep fighting. They chose to murder that boy.

I get that there aren’t enough services for people with disabilities. I understand this better than I can detail in a short blog post. But that doesn’t for a second lessen what these people did here.  I get being at the end of your rope. I’ve been there. But there are OTHER options. ANY OTHER OPTION would have sufficed.

My rage in this story only grew when I saw that the video the media is putting out with Alex strapped to a hospital bed has Andrew Wakefield asking for donations. This to me SCREAMS that the mother was being fed the lie that she could cure her son if only she could pay Wakefield enough. Wakefield is a horrible excuse for a human being. He’s not a doctor, that got stripped from him. He’s not a scientist, nor has he ever been. He’s been selling myths, lies and downright dangerous practices because it’s made him RICH. He treats autism as a disease rather than a neurology. He’s perpetuated the myth that autism is caused by vaccines and what’s more, can be cured by such horrific “treatments” as bleach enemas and chelation.  In his effort to be the Prophet of The Cure, he’s made autism something that needs to be cured instead of something that should be accepted. He’s made it so having autism or a child with autism is something to be feared, be sad about, and a situation where it’s okay to kill the child to alleviate suffering.  If you’re a Wakefield supporter, I’m asking you kindly to do your research about him, his methods, both past and present.  If you want to argue about him, this is not the place. There is no defense for him and what his supporters do to their children. None. In a video you can find here, Wakefield says,

“When I first became involved in this fifteen years ago I got a call from a parent in Northern England who said, ‘Dr. Wakefield please do not judge me harshly, but when I die, I’m taking my child with me, because I’m the only one who loves him.’ I did not judge that mother at all, in fact I was moved by the love the mother had, must have, for her child to take her his life rather than rather than have him fall upon a society that really didn’t give a damn.”

I don’t know if there’s a crime worse in this world than a parent killing their child, especially a child with a disability. We need to stop making excuses for people who murder their children. Murder is murder. If the child has a disability, it should be MORE shameful, more heinous because that child is more vulnerable.  We do need better services for families, but this should never be used as an excuse to pardon someone who had other options.

Alex didn’t die because he was autistic. He died because the people who should have cared for him the most gave up. They do not deserve our sympathy.

14 thoughts on “Alex Spourdalakis didn’t die because of his autism.

  1. There is so much absolute bullshit being passed around out there. Never dawned on me to ‘cure’ my kid.

    Great post. Agree 100%.

  2. I don’t entirely agree because if he had not had autism, his entire lifespan, as well as, his mothers experience with him would have been totally different. I agree that she had other options presented to her. I agree that she chose to murder him. I agree that she was definitely mentally ill. He was not the first child with autism to die at the hands of their mother. Dear god, I wish he could be the last.

    1. Would they have been? There are plenty of non-disabled teenagers out there who are holy hellions, and who are not murdered by their parents.

  3. She made a choice. A terrible one. And she shouldn’t be martyred for it. She murdered her son. In a heinous way. People need to stop making excuses for her. There are no excuses for that. The fact that he needed her so much because he couldn’t survive without her help makes this an even more despicable act.

  4. here’s the part that’s not ok about what you said: it’s not ok to label a criminal and monstrous person as mentally ill because they did a criminal and monstrous thing. when people do bad things, we do not get to call them mentally ill because “only a mentally ill person would do such a thing”.

    it’s kind of popular to say that, though.

    and from your writings about how people shift blame onto people with autism that isn’t about autism, you maybe might understand that neither is evil behavior about mental illness.

    1. Flask,

      I totally understand where you’re coming from, and I thought a lot about putting that sentence in in the way that I did. I thought about people thinking I was implying what you said here. I chose those words in that way to convey that no person in their right mind would kill their own child. I don’t know that I truly believe in evil, so I couldn’t call her acts that. I don’t think she’s criminally insane, but something has to be really wrong with your thought process to plan to murder your child, clean up the knife you stabbed him to death with and put it away before trying to take your own life. My background is in psychology, and I have yet to find a case where a mother killed her own child who wasn’t suffering from some sort of mental disorder.

      I did jump to a conclusion that wasn’t founded in the facts (that I know of yet) and I’m sorry if my choice of words was offensive. I have depression and anxiety. I wouldn’t have implied that mental illness causes such a person to do such thing, but I do think it plays a huge part in this.

  5. Well, this is how our world works right? Everything is expendable. Now we are having sympathy for this “poor” family, right? The most vulnerable in our society are supposed to be the most closely guarded, but instead, in our society, they are in the most danger. Add to that fact that so many parents of special needs kids want to be martyrs, and crap like this is what you get. They are both guilty of first degree murder. Period.

  6. This whole situation just makes me so sad. I can’t imagine losing a child involuntarily even – but choosing to kill your own child? I don’t know how anyone could view that as noble or heroic in any way. I keep seeing in other blogs today that this behavior is not as rare as I would have thought it to be either. That scares me – how many times has this happened? How many more times will it happen? It’s heart-wrenching.

    1. Too many times Lisa. in fact, it happened a year or so ago here in my town. a mom shot her 22 year old Autistic son, and then herself. So many people tried to help her. In the end, she made a horrible choice.

  7. Im a mother that fights for my son and will never give up on him! He is an adult with autism that was attacked and assaulted in an state of ohio facility! He was mislabeled “moderately retarded” so they could commit here there. HE HAS BEEN THRU HELL from a system that doesn’t understand autism, doesn’t know how to work with autistic individuals and blames him and even me for his disability! Because of my advocacy for my son, the corrupt system court appointed an “go along get along” attorney as an interim guardian for placement and medical decisions. The court says “im uncooperative with health care professionals” They know their court-appointed attorney wont challenge them like I will for the survival and rights of my son! I haven’t had much support from the autism community. I hope this never happens to another autistic individual and their family.

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