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They are going to vilify her.

I would have vilified her.

In the same way I vilified the mother of Alex Spourdalakis just a couple of months ago.

They are going to vilify my friend.

My friend who is now in the hospital after doing something so unthinkable that I feel like the whole world just crumbled beneath me.  She tried to kill her autistic daughter and herself.

There was a space between me and the mother of Alex. A space where I could believe that she was crazy. That she was evil. That she was a monster.

There is no space between me and Kelli. After speaking to her on the phone for hours one night several months ago I told my husband that the only difference between her daughter (who she had been fighting to stay in an autism residential treatment program) and my son was that the meds worked for my son’s aggression. That is all.

How does it get to this? Kelli is a fighter. She stopped at nothing to do what was right for her daughter. She fought. She fought. She fought. When did she stop fighting? How did it get to this point? Kelli is not an evil person. She’s not. How did it get so far? What do we do now to make sure that this never happens again for any of us? How do any of us know that we’re safe from that road? Something needs to happen. Parents need a safety net. WE NEED HELP.

The space between the good parents and the monsters is gone. This is too close.

What fragile strands of resolve I had left after spending the day coming to terms with Abby’s autism are frayed beyond words now.

My friend. My friend did this.

43 thoughts on “

  1. Oh…I’m so sorry. I hope that your friend and her daughter get the help that they need. And I hope that you find the strength to keep on keepin on.

  2. I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced something that hits so close to home; I hope you’re able to find peace and start recovering very soon. You are right – we all need more support – proactively, not reactively.

  3. I, too, vilified Alex’s mom. I didn’t have the facts, until about a week ago. I watched a video of him writhing in pain and his mother was powerless to help him. Nobody helped him. He was suffering so much. I pray that I am never in the position that Alex’s mom or your friend were in. I will be keeping them both in my prayers. Such sad situations.

  4. Being her friend made a difference. Depression is a wicked beast that takes hold of most mothers of special needs children. Mix it with the mother bear protectiveness we have to use daily, we are all at risk. I never fault any mother for feeling this way. Peace be with you and her family.

  5. You said what I’ve been thinking. This is no longer someone else. This is one of us. It could be us. We have to stop this cycle. I don’t know how but a system, a world, where this can happen is broken. So very broken.

  6. I think things happen for a reason. And if there is any lesson in this tragic, heartbreaking moment, it is that you know and love your friend. And you didn’t know the other woman, Alex’s mother. But, now, through this horrifying event, you know that every person who does something like this needs help. They needed help. They felt so broken, so frayed, so lost – even with love and support from friends and family – that this seemed like an alternative. It can never be an alternative. You know that. Your friend needs prayers, and love, and forgiveness. Otherwise she will never, ever be able to breathe again. The only way to survive is to breathe.

    1. The really scary thing is that Kelli had pretty much every single support that it is possible to obtain: 6+ months at the special autism boarding school, Medicaid waiver with finding for a PCA for all of Issy’s waking hours, PCAs and volunteers who have already been trained on Issy’s behavior plan, a church that’s agreed to provide space for Issy to do crafts on the weekend (as she’s less violent when kept busy), a loving and very supportive husband, etc. — everything but the school placement of her choice — possibly (or not) due to a single, spiteful school employee. A school placement that could have been appealed or changed at a later date. Heck, Issy had only been released from the special boarding school a day or two earlier. Short of winning the Powerball, Kelli had every available service and support at her disposal.

      It is not okay to to try to kill your child — EVER. A woman with the foresight to purchase disposable grills and drive her ban to a secluded location is a woman whose ability to understand cause/effect was still intact. There were other options: Call 911 and tell them you’re scared you’re going to hurt yourself or your kid. Leave Issy at an ER or the lobby of the school that just discharged her. Getting charged with child abandonment/neglect is way better than attempted murder.

      Lexi Sweatpants started a petition to have the newborn safe surrender law amended to include persons with special needs — this is a great idea and if you live in Maryland, please consider signing:

      http://www.extremeparenthood.com/2013/09/where-is-their-safe-haven.html?m=0

      (The newborn safe surrender law allows folks to abandon a newborn at a hospital or fire station and not prosecuted for abandonment/neglect. Parental rights are instantly and irrevocably terminated).

  7. At least she has you on her side, to tell her side of the story. I am guessing she did it not because she wanted to hurt her daughter, but because she felt like she was losing the battle to help her daughter, and setting her daughter free from this world was her last, desperate option. I hope they will both be okay.

  8. What a crying shame. Go hug your babies. We’ll have to come up with something…all of us parents. Like an emergency phone line…march on washington. Something. I wish I could give you a big hug and a cup of hot cocoa with lots of marshmallow fluff on top..so much that it sticks to your sweater cuffs and nose. I totally hear what you are saying. We all do.

  9. After having to deal daily with a child that you walk on eggshells with and you love and see suffering and lonely. I myself, when I heard what happened with the mother and her son and read what everyone was saying. It hurt in a way that I wondered if there was something wrong with me. You see I can’t judge a parent with a child with special needs. Not one tiny bit. Not at all. I sometimes have a different opinion but “judge” nope not me. HOW can you as a parent see your child suffer and not understand in some tiny tiny place in your brain!!!!!!!!

  10. This makes me so sad. I started following her blog a while back (you possibly shared it?) I hate that she felt like this was her only option. I am so sorry that you have so much on your plate right now!

  11. She should be vilified.

    This is a woman who tried to kill her own daughter. In no way can that be justified. She had free will, she chose of her own free will to attempt to end the life of her daughter.

    Murdering your own child, no matter whether that child is autistic or NT, is an act you should be vilified for.

    1. I’m not sure why you’re here. We’re all in immense amounts of pain. I’m trying to wrap my brain around how it got this far for someone who seemed so strong. I don’t think it needs to be stated how heinous what she did was. That’s a given.

      But vilifying her instead of trying to figure out what led to this and how to prevent it from ever happening again isn’t helping. It’s not going to save the lives of the most vulnerable. Kelli is going to prison, I’m sure. She’ll have the rest of her life to think about what she tried to do. And rightfully so. But right now, I’m scared for all of us. She was one of the strong ones. She was a fighter. Up until Tuesday, she was my hero.

      If she can fall, any of us can. We need a safety net. Our kids need a safety net. They need to be protected.

      1. I’m here because if my development had gone differently and if I had different parents I could have been a victim of this myself (i’m autistic myself, i’ve also raised a child on the spectrum – without once ever thinking about murder, even when massively stressed out).

        There is history here, other autistic children have been murdered by their parents and those children do not get justice – the murderer is given a laughably light sentence, the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. By comparison, murdering an NT child will commonly carry a life sentence.

        I have every right to be disgusted by this state of affairs and to call out people whose sympathy seems to lie more with the killer than the victim.

        Quite honestly, it’s scary to hear someone admit that they’re at risk themselves of murdering their own child – as a father myself I can imagine no scenario where i’d actually want to end my son’s life.

        If a parent kills their NT child, then the response from the general public and the media is usually one of outrage, and rightly so. For autistic children it’s one of sympathy and understanding, and that kind of attitude can only normalise the idea that autistics are somehow less valuable.

      2. You’re right about the history. It’s just beyond me how many times the system has failed to punish people who fail at their most important roll- as a parent. We’re supposed to be the ones that protect our kids. There is no excuse for what happened today. Issy being autistic does not make what she did any less horrific. Not for a second do I condone what she did, nor do I think that she doesn’t deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law.

        I doubt there is any sane parent that could imagine a scenario where they would murder their child. The thought of even harming my children – any of them- is so far beyond me. But the thing is, it was so far beyond Kelli, too. That’s what has left all of us so shaken. Never in a million years would I have thought she’d do this. Never. There weren’t signs. There weren’t any clues. When other parents did this, I could disassociate myself from them because I thought in my infinite wisdom that I was SO MUCH a better parent than them. That they had something fundamentally wrong with them. That they hated their child’s autism and could never accept it. That they were evil. So when word came that Kelli had done this the whole world shook beneath me. Because I didn’t see any difference in how she parented and lived from me. She was so happy. She loved Issy fiercely. How on earth did it come to this? What happened within Kelli to make her do this? Were there signs that we missed? Was there anything that could have been done to prevent this from happening to Issy? What is her family going to do now? She’s ruined her entire family. Her children will no longer have a mother, Issy might have permanent brain damage and now Matt has to deal with all of it on his own. She was horribly selfish and what she did was the absolute worst thing a mother can do.

        I’m reeling, Gareth. As a parent and as an advocate for my son. What do we do now? How do we protect kids?

      3. Gareth, thank you for your point of view!!!! I am the mother of 2 asd kiddos, 1 also with brain damage, 1extremely aggressive. Although often times I may be beyond stressed, I may need a time out to breathe, I would never entertain the thought of harming them. I know my kids are scared of the world, they don’t need to be scared of the people who are suppose them and protect them also. Murder, attempted murder, is inexcusable!!!!! As parents we have the ability to call upon others for help, to seek perfessional counseling or medication for depression/anxiety if need be….but often parents feel shameful in doing that. We must be humble enough to accept our short comings and seek help. If not for us, for our kids!

  12. Autism is hard. I think we need to be able to say that and be heard. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids or want what is best for them. I am sad for Kelli and her whole family.

    I am sorry that so much is going on in your life right now.

    1. To quote myself and the sentence in its entirety, “I am sad for Kelli and her whole family.” I am sad for Issy, also for her siblings, and Issy’s father. They are all victims. The course of each of their lives has been forever altered by Kelli’s actions.

      I am sad for Kelli in a different way than the rest of them, hence the reason she was listed separately from the rest(including Issy). I should have taken the time to clarify that.

      I do not know her, but I truly believe, based on her writings, that she loves Issy. I think it is very hard for most people to believe that someone could do something like this to her child and still claim to love her. I have been frustrated with my son, whom I love dearly, but killing him has never entered my mind. So for me to to try to understand how someone like Kelli carried out the act that she did, I can’t help but feel sorry for her. For Issy. For Matt. And the rest of her family that will forever be affected by her actions.

  13. This is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard in my entire life. Candles will be lit: one for Issy, one for Kelli and one for the family left behind to deal with this tragedy. My heart breaks for them.

  14. Having a child with Autism puts the whole family in crisis. I feel for both the daughter who has to deal with the limitations of her body everyday. But I also feel for the mother. The utter helplessness you feel when you are in a situation you cannot cope with and you have no idea how to help your child whom you love and you see hurting all the time, continually escalates the crisis until you can find some sort of help or something breaks. In this case something broke. This has happened more than once and will continue happening. We need community and networking. There are a few out there, the thing that saved my sanity was a wonderful online forum and the Gluten Free Casein Free Diet. Without those two things in our lives who knows how things would have turned out for us. And that is why Gareth, I and the other posters feel for this woman because if things had gone another way it could have been us. Saying that it is never an option is all well and good until you are in the situation yourself. And that is why I also cannot judge this woman. Having had but a small taste of what it is like to have an aggressive child with Autism I do feel for what she has gone through.

  15. Garreth have you never felt depression or the complete hoplessness life can bring? No what kelli tried to do to her daughter is not right, it will never be accepted by society as something thats okay to do. This mother felt like all options were exhausted and there was only one option to end the complete and utter suffering of her daughter and knew that she would never be able to live with the guilt. Hence the reason why she tried to kill her daughter and herself.

    You see an animal in suffering what do you do? Wait for it to die? Or take it to the vet to be put down? Most chose the latter because it would be cruel to sit there and watch a part of your family suffer that much. Not that i am trying to justify why any mother would do this, its shameful and sad.

    But you can’t just sit there and condemn her, everyone has issues physically and emotionally. They would be liars if they told you otherwise. Many mothers that have to deal with watching a child go thru so much would tell you they would take away their pain in a second, maybe this is what kelli’s thought process was. She needed help, she was tired of fighting and getting no results and she was tired of seeing her little girl suffer thru all of this. Again its sad, i couldn’t imagine doing this to my child. But there is always more than what appears on the surface. People hit rock bottom, the get to the breaking point. She broke and its sad that it came to this..

    1. Taylor, while I thank you for your comment, I have to strongly disagree. Children who suffer cannot be compared to animals. My daughter has suffered a lot from various illnesses and has spent too much time in intensive care. As parents, of course we want to allieviate suffering, but to make the stretch to putting a child out of her misery by killing them is too much.

      You’re right, she broke. But we cannot have sympathy for her in trying to kill her child. Everything up until that moment, sure. She fought hard for Issy. But she stopped fighting. And there is no excuse, none, for the actions she took.

      What I’m trying to get to is how. How did it come to this? What changed her from fighting for her child to this? This is not the Kelli I knew and it scares me because if someone like her can fall so far, how many others can? How do we stop it?

  16. And in no way lexi did i mean to compare a animal to a child or make them equal, but in both scenarios it is hard to watch them suffer. In different ways it is hard, its hard to watch your child get poked a proded and put on a slew of medications to function more normally and to fight those never ending battles. Its hard to see things go completely out of control and you just have to cope and try your best everyday. She very unfortuantley couldn’t do it and its a shame that things went from good to terrible in a second. And i fully believe that she should be held accountable for her actions, but like you have said that could of been me. We are imperfect humans, this place we live in expects alot. And that alone is daunting and can take a toll. She may have been strong on the outside, but its really hard to know just how strong she was on the inside. We will never know what possesed her to do such a heinous act, but she will meet her maker and he will be her judge. We can only hope that in the future caretakers, doctors, family and friends will keep watchful for the parents of children with autism and disabilites. I am truly sorry in every way, i hope that things will brighten up for you and things will get better.. Things like this happen everyday, unimaginable horrible things.. You can only learn from it. I pray for you and for the family of Issy.

  17. I simply exist. As Jack’s mom, I simply “exist”. As a fragmented person. As a well-medicated person. As a person who has access to an amazing psychologist. As an overweight shadow of my former self. I count on my amazing, incredible husband to prevent me from becoming part of a statistic. Those of us who snap? We’re not crazy. We’ve just reached “our limit”–a point where “death” seems the more logical option than “life”. That doesn’t mean it’s the BEST option; it just means that it’s the “more logical option” for those of us whose concept of “logic” has been forcibly skewed–by reality, by depression, by insanity, by whatever. I feel for anybody who finds themselves in our predicament. You have to completely let go of who you are, completely let go of your instincts, and just SURVIVE. For the sake of your child, you need to SURVIVE. You need to get a good night’s rest and re-evaluate your decisions before you act on them. Because 8 hours of sleep can mean the difference between life and death. Honestly. When you’re pushed to your limit, you need to muster up every bit of sanity remaining in your being and SLEEP. Honestly, it’s as simple as that. SLEEP. I don’t care how you go about achieving that goal. YOU NEED TO SLEEP. THEN decide how you’re going to proceed. I have a (very, VERY strong) feeling that if ANY of those moms who kill their children and/or themselves could just get a good night’s sleep, there would be no tragedy, no “statistic”, no death. That “good night’s sleep” could provide them with the one thing that all of us Special Needs Parents survive on–HOPE.

    1. I can certainly understand those who feel desperate and are driven to suicide, it’s tragic and horrible but it happens – but that’s not an excuse for taking your child with you.

  18. One of the things I’ve noticed not just here but in other forums as well is that highly functioning people who have Autism or Asperger’s do not seem to realize just how hard it can be for parents of kids who have more severe forms. It is a spectrum and if you know one person with Autism you know one person with Autism, it is different for everyone. And while I myself could never consider what Kelli did, I have been through enough hell when my son was younger before we got him some help that I can see down that spiral to an end where an otherwise rational human being would go where Kelli did. Before we got my son help I had no idea he was even in there. It wasn’t until he got a little older that I actually got to know him and understand that he was all there. He can’t tell us, he can’t show us in a way we understand and he can’t understand how to let us know. Even now when he can use limited speech, and I know from his modified IQ tests where he was one point away from typical, I only know a tiny amount of who he is and I really can’t wait to get to know more as he gets older and grows into himself and his ability to communicate. But we have been lucky I found things and people to help us, to educate me in how to help him. Without that knowledge who knows? I feel for both of them.

    1. I’m one of those higher functioning aspies (hence my personal interest in this whole affair – i’ve got a deep personal interest in fellow autistics), but I do realise that for some parents it can be incredibly stressful and even cause health problems.

      One mother I know is absolutely riddled with anxiety and is constantly battling depression due to problems with her kids, and yet when told about this case she rightly reacted in absolute horror.

      No matter how hard your life is, there’s no excuse for murder, and murdering a child, your own child, is one of the worst things you can do as a human being. This needs to be stated clearly and not apologised for or justified in any way.

      Anyone who chooses of their own free will to kill their own child deserves not an ounce of sympathy – there are ALWAYS other options.

  19. I feel for the entire family. There needs to be a better system for the ASD child and the ASD adult as well as their families. I can’t imagine doing anything to my 2 kiddos but I can’t judge someone else, I’m not in their shoes. I am also a newbie to the ASD world, my daughter was diagnosed a year ago and my son about 3 months ago. There are few resources here and I have no idea what there is for adults here. There are days that it is hard. I’m sure it is for everyone….but there needs to be more support for our families and our ASD kids/adults. Things have to change.

    I pray that Izzy makes a full recovery and I hope that her family is able to heal.

  20. Mental illness is a disease. Psychotic break is an event that is part of this disease. If the mom suddenly had a heart attack and crashed you would not blame her (besides maybe being stressed too much to drive).

    You cannot judge without a PhD. I’m sorry. Autism or not. If you have no experience as a person with or trained as a phD in the field we are all unqualified. Mom is NOT an animal either.

    A psychotic break may not have any warning. Like a stroke. Hell maybe she HAD a stroke and was trying to keep warm. We don’t know but we don’t know details. If she was kidnapped and a homeless deranged person lit fires, it would be less evil. That is what seems happened. Step away from self inflicted and see that mom was NOT THERE.

    She may have left as she drove daughter to school wondering how to face the community her family is so intertwined with that ABANDONED her. School 2.5 hours away is NOT a viable placement. ????!!!!!!??!? You would break too with the unfairness. Is this 1940 with essentially forced institutions? Can the community not find ANY other solution than EXILE because of differences?? BUILD a place if needed. Removing the problem from the city is tantamount to aborting a child.

    The situation is exactly what her blog was writing too. A person in power took advantage of existing fears at school and screwed the CHILD because of a single argument? So a runaway chemical in mom’s brain saw other powers to change and save part of their life maybe.

    But lighting BBQs in a car is absurd. AFTER disconnecting from reality, the brain likely used supplies in its reach to attempt to “solve” their unsolvable problem.

    Who uses grills to commit suicide? Her brain was “kidnapped” chemically by a very inept lunatic. That is the story.

    The villain is the admin who pulled a power play FOR SPITE & FUN.

    Praying for a miracle that we don’t know yet. A call or text proving mom was away (chemically neurologically). which we know but don’t understand.

    1. Anyone attempting to commit, or successful in committing, suicide is hurting in ways that are not easy and for some not possible to understand. Yes, choices were made, but in that moment, with the perspective that these were good choices to me shows a lack of clear thinking. Not acceptable choices for which I expect there will be appropriate consequences, but we cannot judge another’s actions when they are in some amount of a mental health crisis.

      It seems previously, Kelli made many choices to do what was best for Issy. I imagine this was one of those times. Somewhere in her mind, I imagine Kelli thought this’ was a good choice.

      There is no happy ending for anyone here.

  21. First, I am so sorry. I can’t imagine having I watch all of this from the sidelines as this all goes down. I can’t imagine everything you must be feeling.

    Forgive me. But from what I know, I do see differences between Dorothy and Kelli. Dorothy was offered services and repeatedly turned them down! Dorothy had at least one DCFS investigation. Dorothy plastered naked photos on the web and linked in with a group that wished to sensationalize Alex and use him as a poster boy for the biomedical movement. There as an agenda. We, in the autism community were only given part of the story-that was scripted by Dorothy and these women advocates. We will likely never know the hospitals side because of HIPP regulations. There was a lot of spin going on. Lastly,let’s not forget that Dorothy savagely attacked her son. She nearly SAWED HIS HANDS OFF HIS WRISTS. They planned it for WEEKS. I judge Dorothy. And her friend. You bet. And I think it’s crap that people try to justify it to push an agenda. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Wakefield.

    Now Kelli. Believe it or not, I have compassion for her. Why? (From what I read) Because she pursued and used every resource within her reach. She was advocating and problem solving constantly! And- She didn’t mutiliate her child. I know that shouldn’t matter but it does. Do I feel she needs to have the books thrown at her? Yes. I know resources suck. I know people are tired. I know our country isn’t doing enough. But does that give anyone the right to kill? No. Never. But she is the first that I have some sympathy for. May God save her soul. We can’t lose sight of that.

  22. She attempted to murder her child. Issy deserves the sympathy. Kelli has been charged with attempted murder and was found to be unworthy of bail. That’s what the law and our society has said about her actions. Should she have sympathy? Sure, she was in a tough situation but when does that excuse murder? She had a home aide a school aide a huge community raising money for her and offering her emotional support. She had a supportive husband. I just don’t see how it is being excused that she did this. Many people – including myself- live with severely disabled family members – not many choose this as a way out. What about the beautiful vibrant -and yes aggressive – Issy?

  23. Here is a comment I made to one of the popular sites in the Autism Community as linked and quoted below…One area that I found particularly disturbing is the number of ‘spoiled brat’ autistic people that have not really experienced what life can mean after 4 or 5 decades and attempted to judge other people for their there failings without any ability to experience empathy for the ‘dark night of the soul’…

    that is real and where are there are no limits as to what a human being will do to escape that place…A place of truly human hell where one second of hell is equal to a thousand years of ‘normal’ human experience without this true human hell..

    Everytime I hear someone personally judge another person I only hope that they do never have to experience the dark place of the soul..as if they do..the guilt they feel for judging any human beings actions will be as strong are stronger than the dark place of the soul if there is any human left in them…

    It’s impossible to fully understand heaven unless one has truly understood the true human hell that exists and is no dam JOKE….

    That said I live in heaven now..and truly IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AS COMPARED TO THE UGLIEST PLACE OF ALL THE HUMAN SOUL OF DARKNESS…LIVING..DEATH…

    http://theconnorchronicles.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/did-the-system-fail-both-kelli-and-issy-stapleton/#comment-4470

    I experienced a prison of the pain of trigeminal neuralgia for a solid five years…it’s the documented worst pain known to mankind…usually occurs in brief acute spurts but my ‘joy’ had no end if you will..
    I will say this as 100% true…there are dark places of the human soul that no one can understand but those who enter it…
    Anyone that doesn’t understand why someone would do this are the lucky ones..the silly green behind the ears autistic people that have not lived with the full scope of life are in never any position to judge anyone in doing this..
    Until they have themselves spent even one second in the human hell on earth that is possible and real for any human being..
    The pain I had was so bad…that a pleasant dream was dousing myself with gasoline and catching the next available match..
    I would have done it the first day without any problem if there were not people… the only people… my wife..my sister..and my mother that were not willing to live without me.
    Support means everything in this life…and there is no sin that cannot be forgiven or understood when one knows the dark place of the soul.
    For every person that does not have empathy for the dark place of the soul…one day they may experience the dark place of the soul…and then they will finally..
    understand what TRUE EMPATHY means…
    By the way the pain has been gone for 6 weeks now.. I will also tell a another little truth here..’GOD exists’..miracles exist..and for those that cannot or will not have this hope..it’s only their loss…no one else…
    That too… is a ticket to hell eventually… one way or another in the reality that is human…

    Sorry but this issue is likely more about the mental illness of the mother than anything in reality that happens in this child’s life…this is on average the way that mental illness attacks a person providing scenarios that normally would never happen given any life circumstance without the mental illness…particularly schizophrenia when there is addiction to any type of substance or for that matter behavioral addiction as well…as the American Society of Addiction Medicine considers the physiological process under behavioral addiction as the similar with substance addiction even down to the structural damages that can occur in the brain noted in some studies..

    The bottom line per the current scientific research that exists on this matter of filicides is it is more of a mental health issue than anything specific to the real challenges of raising any autistic child from those most severely impacted by co-morbid conditions to those that are like the folks on ‘the big bang theory’…to use a pop culture analogy…

    There is no proven correlation in science that this occurs greater among parents of Autistic children than any other disability demographic…but if there was.. the correlation would more like be correlated with the correlations that already show a greater incidence of mental illness among parents of children on the autism spectrum per genetic correlations of genetic associations between Autism..Schizophrenia..Bi-Polar..depression…and likely other classified mental illnesses/disorders as well…

    Sorry it disgusts me when any autistic person says that Autistic parents are greater inclined to kill their autistic children..as myself as a battle worn autistic adult fully understands now..there is no way in hell I would have made it past 21 if IT were not for the all loving nature of my mother..single parent at that…that was tasked with raising two autistic children..myself and my sister…she was a warrior mother to do this…as are so many in the Autism community I have come across in my online life when I could do nothing but type on a computer when my eyesight was incapacitated..for 5 years…

    All I can say is some people do not have a clue..about the full scope of life..and I would like to meet them face to face in real life and give them a real piece of my mind…verbal that is of course…

  24. Kelli had more resources at her disposal than most families in a similar situation. Families who make too much to receive medicaid are typically unable to get CMH services, but Kelli was able to get a medicaid waiver for Issy. The waiver in combination with their Messa insurance and donations made it possible for Issy to be at the treatment center for months, and made it possible for Issy to have an aide nearly around the clock. This is much, much more than most families are able to get, but it apparently it was not enough for Kelli.

    You may sympathize with her because you’ve read her blog, but please keep in mind that it was only one side of the story. Kelli was painting a picture of herself as the victim. A victim of Issy’s and a victim of the system. Issy didn’t have a blog to share how she was feeling. Some of Issy’s communication was through her behavior. If you read through the lines of the very personal information that Kelli chose to post about Issy, you can see that Kelli herself was contributing to Issy’s violent outbursts. Rather than try to help Issy de-escalate when she became aggressive, Kelli reacted by screaming – further agitating Issy’s sensory system. From the pictures we can see that Issy was not violent all the time, with everyone, regardless of the environment. From the behavior graph that Kelli posted, we can see that Issy’s behaviors dramatically decreased as soon as a behavior plan was put in place. From the video, we can see that her aggression again escalated when Kelli was involved. Kelli may have been inadvertently reinforcing Issy’s aggressive behaviors for years.

    In her blog Kelly mentions that people suggested that she herself get some counseling. She never mentions if she ever did. She really could have used some. Kelli states that she had to parent Issy differently than her other children, when in fact typically developing children benefit from the same successful parenting techniques recommended for use with autistic children. What needed to change was Kelli.

    Some of the people posting have suggested that Kelli had a psychotic break and that this should be used as mitigation in the charges against her. Even if this were to happen, she can clearly never be trusted to care for Issy or any child again. She tried to kill Issy. Many parents of autistic children worry about what will happen to their child once the parent dies. Is this what motivated Kelli to want to kill Issy along with herself? Or did she feel that Issy would be better off dead and tried to kill herself as well to avoid the guilt and prosecution of killing her own child? Now Issy will have to live without Kelli, and Kelli will have to live with the guilt and prosecution of trying to kill her own child. Whatever her motive, it was wrong!

    The judge has ordered Kelli to have no contact with any of her children. In Michigan, premeditated attempted murder carries a Life sentence. In Kelli’s mug shot she is wearing a Ferguson suicide prevention smock to prevent her from tearing her clothing and hanging herself with them.

    My hope is that Issy fully recovers from her mother trying to murder her, and that she, her dad and siblings are able to adjust to their new normal of life without Kelli.

    If you, yourself are parenting a child with special needs, please seek out counseling to deal with any stress you may be feeling. It looks like Kelli was relying on her own blog to help deal with her stress, unfortunately, blog followers typically just reinforce the thoughts of the blogger and anyone who dares to question is vilified.

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