This morning, I got up, stumbled around the house for a while and didn’t get as much done as I’d have liked before sitting down at the computer. As I perused my various online hang outs, I found out about what’s thought to be an attempted murder/suicide involving a mom and her autistic daughter who has violent outbursts. It’s always extremely sad when this type of thing happens, and there’s always far more to the story than the vast majority of people know about.
Kelli, the mom, ran a blog called the status woe, which details her ongoing fight to get help for her daughter and some extremely interesting insights into their struggle. I really suggest looking through past entries. She has a lot of helpful things to add to the discussion.
However, the fact that this recent act of violence happened also highlights a few things:
Issy, the daughter, had only just come home from treatment earlier this week, but it looks like Kelli was already running into roadblocks when it came to getting the behavioral plan they’d worked so hard on implemented at school. At this point, no one knows exactly what happened between her last entry and the time their van was found, but the fact this happened is a signal of extreme desperation and hopelessness.
A person can only be a rock for so long before they break down, and the results are usually heart breaking.
Broken System and Society
Generally, it’s seen as weak to ask for help, and those who have the audacity to do so had better have connections or the right sort of “cause” to get it and request it in just the right way. Unfortunately, when it comes to education, anything involving certain types of health problems (mental health springs to mind) or behavioral issues, help is extremely difficult to get. It’s next to impossible if you don’t have the economic means to do so.
The system as it is now is extremely complicated and difficult to understand, unless you happen to be someone who works in the field. Even then, if the topic in question falls outside of the subset you’re working in, you might still have a hard time understanding what must be done, how it must be done and with whom it must be done.
It’s a massive problem that just one person can’t fix, but if enough people where to work together to restructure the system in a more common sense way, clarify procedural needs and at least provide a list of resources, it seems as if a great many problems will be avoided.
Lack of Unity
This is another example of how the education and mental health systems are so badly broken. In many ways, it’s a reflection of the uglier sides of what our society has evolved into. As a group, there’s still a great deal of “us versus them” going on when it comes to…well, everything.
I see this one in all sorts of areas, from racial relations to gender issues, income, religion, politics, disability, medical conditions…well, the list goes on.
And that is a major stumbling block. Absolutely nothing can get done when the majority of minds are closed and rigid to their own way of thinking. When it comes to treatment, sometimes medication is needed to cool the problematic behaviors down enough to get a plan set in place, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with researching alternative therapies or different training methods, either.
The problem is when people within the same community or profession start attacking each other. It happens way too often, even in the comparatively wee bitty dyslexia community. Every opinion was developed based upon personal experiences, research and some sort of thought process. Regardless of if you agree with them or not, those factors must be taken into account in order for any sort of progress to be made.
Personally, I detest arguments when it comes to this topic. Some people love them, but I see them as wastes of time. Why? Because they always involve a “you” vs “me” element that does nothing but ignite tempers. There’s also almost always a degree of ego involved that defeats the entire purpose of discussion.
I don’t think I’m alone in this, either. Blue Eyes and Butterflies, run by a friend of mine who has an autistic son and her friend, also a mom with autistic kids, is where I first came across the story. MommaDe authored the entry about it, and I agree completely that there needs to be support where there is now fighting.
I’m not a mom, but I am a part of this world, and this topic impacts everyone.
I guess my point is that before you start demonizing people, realize that these acts are symptoms of a large, complicated series of problems. Pointing fingers does no good, but learning about circumstances and at least researching problem areas are some of the first steps to helping make life a little better for everyone.