Monday, June 17, 2013

No Excuses

People love Joey. He's a sweet, loving, adorable child. He has a big smile and a big laugh and a way of letting you know the world is awesome. He wants to know you and accept you and love you.

Joey is also eleven years old, over five feet tall, and about 200 pounds. He's a big kid, about to hit puberty, big-time. His emotional and social development is as splintered as so many of his other skill sets- advanced, delayed, and everything in-between. The world holds a lot of frustrations for my little man, and self-regulation can be problematic.

Reading about caregivers who murder their autistic children is not only terrifying, depressing, and frustrating, it is horrifying to see how many people believe that such murders are justified. Lack of services, lack of support, the child was getting big, aggressive, unmanageable... people, these are not good reasons to murder someone.Would it be acceptable if the victim of the murder was not disabled? NO. And believe me, lots of teenagers can seen big, aggressive, and unmanageable, without being autistic. Somehow, when the victim is disabled, is autistic, all the sudden the caregiver becomes the victim, and victim becomes... what? The aggressor?

Yes, the aggressor. That is what we can conclude by the "poor caregiver!" attitude prevalent in these news items: the person murdered brought it on themselves, by being big and "unmanageable" and needing care and services. They get swept aside as a sort of sacrifice to our society's greed and cold capitalism. After all, people with disabilities are often seen as a drain on society, needing support and services and hey those things cost money and poor caregivers...

Yes, we need to fix the services, and make it easier to get services. But we shouldn't be murdering children to prove that point. No one should have to be some kind of sacrificial lamb, dismissed as a blood offering to... who? Our poor, poor taxpayers?

Joey is getting big. He's getting increasingly frustrated. Teen angst isn't going to help. He's come at me before. He's likely to come at me again. I'll probably have some bruises before we get through these next few years. Who will be to blame for those bruises?

I am the adult here. No blame, no shame. Just do what is needful, as best I can.

There is no excuse for murdering a person over "lack of services." Being a teenager is not an excuse to murder a person. Being poor is no excuse to murder a person. When we claim these are justifications for murder, we are denying the personhood of a human being. There is no excuse for that.

No matter how big, frustrated, hormone-fueled, and yes, even aggressive Joey may get, he is still my baby, my son, my love and my joy. I am his Mom, and would gladly give up my own life to give him every possible minute he can have. His life is his, not mine.

His life is worth living.

No excuse would ever change that.


farmwifetwo said...

I think at the same time, you need to add in that the person with the disability needs to take responsibility for their behaviour.

Too many times it's excused. Too many times "they can't help it".

IMO, if you can teach a 2 year old, you can teach anyone.

Autism may be the reason, but it needs to stop being the excuse.

Stimey said...

You are right on here, Joeymom.

Paula C. Durbin-Westby said...

Yes, of course, people are responsible for their actions, including people with disabilities? If someone has difficult, even aggressive behavior, you don't murder them. What about the cat? Was the cat responsible? I really don't get people excusing murder this way. It is ALWAYS wrong to murder. The murder was BRUTAL, including almost whacking his hand off, while he was ALIVE. Amanda, thank you. YOU are a role model for dealing with difficult (at times) situations, and I wish more parents would pay attention to your model.

Paula C. Durbin-Westby said...

That was supposed to be a period, not a question mark, after "people with disabilities." Disabilities may be a reason for "undesirable behaviors," but that does not excuse doing something wrong. And, for a person without a disability, who has done the MOST undesirable behavior of all- a grisly, premeditated, Murder One, we should be lenient in our judgment???? (Those question marks are in on purpose!)

Lynn said...

People with disabilities should be responsible for their own behavior? When they can, yes. But too often their boundaries have been ignored. The world can be a very painful and confusing place when your senses don't work normally. That is not an excuse for murder. Not ever.

Joeymom said...

Farmwife, we are doing that dance with the school- trying to demonstrate the difference between "can't do this" and "won't do this." It is not acceptable to flunk my dysgraphic child because he can't write. It is not acceptable to suspend my autistic child because he can't self-regulate under stress.

It is definitely wrong to take a life because of a disability. It isn't yours to take.

Miz Kizzle said...

Joeymom, you're absolutely right. No ifs ands or buts; you're right. For a commenter who has never met you or your child to insinuate that you haven't taught Joey to control his behavior is extremely insulting.

Anonymous said...

I empathize; however I also do worry if your 200 lb. child is violent.
Is he?

Joeymom said...

Oo, missed this one, sorry Katelynn. My child, like many other children with or without disabilities, can be aggressive when extremely frustrated. "Violent" and "aggressive", though related, have very distinct connotations in my world. Joey does not lash out randomly. Also, we should all keep in mind that although my child is 200 pounds, I'm 350, so I'm going to be fine. An we are going to continue to support and help him, including teaching him how to deal with frustration and anger effectively and safely.