Another Mother Kills Her Autistic Child: Is Autism Awareness Really Enough?

The news about autism this summer has been difficult. 

A Bronx mother killed her 12-year-old autistic son Wednesday night before taking her own life, the July 29th New York Daily News reports. Last week, a mother in Dallas killed her two young autistic children. Another New York city mother and a mother in Wales killed their autistic sons earlier this year. A Colorado mother killed her baby because she thought he might be autistic. A Chinese mother who admitted to killing her autistic daughter in Canada walked free from prison. And many in the autism community will remember the case of Dr. Karen McCarron, an Indiana woman who killed her young autistic daughter, Katherine, and was sentenced to 36 years in prison in 2008.

Hard Questions

Are there really more parents—mothers—killing their autistic children?

Is it rather that, due to the explosion of interest in autism in the past decade, the media is reporting more about such crimes?

I don’t know. I’m not sure that we can know. 

The Rise of Autism Awareness in the Past Decade
All the interest in autism in the past couple of years has been fueled by the efforts to raise awareness about autism, by organizations like the Autism Society of America and Autism Speaks. There have been many, many more books, blogs, movies, charity fundraising events, more everything, all with the general belief that, by increasing the amount of information available to the public, people will understand more about autism and things will be better. Things will be better from better services, more understanding in the community, school programs.

But is all this autism awareness really helping autistic individuals and their families and caretakers? Or is it just promoting a rather sensationalistic and tragic view of what life with autism is?

For myself, I’m sticking with the example of the late Clara Claiborne Park, for whom the ‘last word’ was ‘still love’—-love and, for my husband Jim and me, a hectic, difficult, and richly meaningful, and good, life with our son Charlie.

Photo by the author.


valentina agathagelou
valentina Loura7 years ago

totally agree with Die H.

Nina L.
Nina L7 years ago

After my opinion this side should bring more understanding to all of us. Its not about who is right or wrong! I admire all the mothers and fathers who are having disabled children and giving them what they can give. I have a Down Syndrome daughter, now 27 years young, and I had fortunately enough money to provide for all the treatments, which are and were available.... and in plus organic food etc. She is well developed (slim and healthy) but still we have a lot to do for her because she does only little thinking for herself. We are both totally in love with her, but as well totally exhausted after so many years of care.
I can totally understand the pain and exhaustion of parents who are alone, having little money, little support ... and are having nearly no time for themselves.
To kill ones own child is the utmost helplessness ... and it shows the missing support for such a difficult task as raising a disabled child. Nobody has the right to judge this mother or father!!

kendra Pinder
Kendra P7 years ago

@Kailee....who are you exactly to think you are in the position to forgive them, or that they are seeking or need your forgivness?

kendra Pinder
Kendra P7 years ago

You cannot base your own experience on that of those who felt desperate enough to take their childs life. I cannot base my own experience on judgeing another mother of an Autistic kid for taking their childs life.
Do you know what care would have been available for that child when his mother wopuld have died? Do you know who would have been there to care for him full time? Do you know exactly to what severity Autism was affecting that child whose life was taken?What was the mental state of the mother who took her childs life?

Do you know ALL of these things? If not, dont pass judgement on someone just because you are unable to understand why they did what they did. Out of interest, if that mother who took her sons life was say diagnosed as having cancer, maybe only weeks to live. Would you personally have stepped up to the plate and took on her child as well as your own? Would you have been able to, willing to?

You nor any of us will be able to understand the reasoning,the psychology behind why a mother of an Autistic kid or any other disabled child takes their life. In their minds for reasons we will not fully know,or maybe not able to understand...They thought at that point, to take the childs life was the right thing to do...for whatever reason.
Is it right in societies eyes? No of course not it is not, was it right in that mothers eyes? Obviously yes? Maybe only option she felt she had for whatever reason.

Does society assume when someone takes a life t

Jay Bird
J D7 years ago

DIE HARD - What a nasty attack upon me, the namecalling and accusations you fling indicate to me that YOU are a pompous arrogant hateful fool; you know nothing about me & your remarks you purport as knowledgeable, indicate that you've little personal experience in this realm; & you dare intimate that I have not. It is not your business & certainly not in this public forum, what my personal education & experience is, but I DO have experience with geniuses, with those on the spectrum & not, & includes those on the spectrum due to various causes, INCLUDING THOSE WITH A DIRECT CORRELATION to IMMUNIZATIONS. You are either uneducated, inexperienced, or worse, intentionally spreading disinformation. That environmental triggers may exacerbate a preexisting condition is not disputed, but reputing that conditions such as autism are absolutely not caused by immunizations is ABSOLUTE BS. You dare attack those facing this challenge when you obviously have not lived it yourself.You are of the ilk that wants to blame the parents, blame it on their genetic contribution, or blame it on bad parenting. Anything but admit to & identify the cause, or at least contributing factors, that may lead to the prevention of this epidemic. What a hateful person you are; that is my theory.

Hannah M.
Hannah M.8 years ago

This is insane I have an autistic child and I'm a single parent my only support in my nan who has obvarian cancer and will probably not make it to the end of the year and I have NO other support and I would never ever hurt my child No matter what! I'd rather die then lay a single finger on him he's my world and I wouldnt change him for the world he is who he is and he can be extremely hard work but he's worth every single second minute hour week months years of my time! Xx

kendra Pinder
Kendra P8 years ago

Kailee, what alternatives would suggest then? Ones that could guarantee for the rest of that childs life they will always be cared for,loved,protected?

kendra Pinder
Kendra P8 years ago

@ Joyce...
lol, quite difficult???Are you being serious?

Kailee Olson
Kailee Olson8 years ago

I don't forgive any of these women for their decisions because taking a life is wrong no matter what but providing alternatives to parents who have a hard time coping with the responsibilities of an autistic child should be offered.

Joyce Squillante
Joyce S8 years ago

I understand that it's quite difficult to raise an autistic child, but are you serious!?