Mama Slob-san's

Leftist Blogger wants to practice writing and exorcising her gaseous build up.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Another Poster Child For the Autism Society

An acquaintance ran across this story the other day. At the time, it was a straight child-neglect story. Toddler runs onto freeway, stranger rescues him, Mom found and charged with felony child abuse. This wasn't just for the fact that the child was on the freeway, but due to the conditions of the home and that of the other child in the house. Likely it's also because of her reaction, "oh, he got out again?" instead of "Oh my god, I had the door locked and just left the room for a second!".
Today, I get a notice of this story again. This time the autism community has embraced the woman and is feeling sorry for her, not the child. The family member who has spoken out has stated that the children aren't autistic but that doesn't stop Autism Society of Indiana from claiming the mom as a victim.
"State troopers who investigated the case said they were told by a social worker that the boy might be mildly autistic. But one of the boy's relatives said he wasn't."
""Damon is not autistic," the boy's aunt, Kelly Quinn, told The Star. Quinn said Dyer has told relatives that both children were evaluated for the disorder but don't have it."

"If her son has autism, Dyer could have been under enormous pressure, an advocate for families with autistic children said.
Susan Pieples, president of the Autism Society of Indiana, said she didn't know the family but that children with autism can be ingenious in figuring out locks. "They can be very fast, and they have no fear of danger."

"Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said that even if her child has autism, there's no excuse for a mother's lack of supervision that enabled a 3-year-old boy to wander onto I-465."

It's true that children, even 3 year olds, can be great escape artists. It's also true that autistic kids (especially toddlers) can have no sense of personal boundaries, home territory and safety. Though it's not impossible to keep them safely in the house. We had to put locks out of reach and hard to manipulate to both keep our son in the house and out of dangerous rooms. We never locked our son in a room, like I know some parents do. It was always about preventing wandering outside. The original story on CNN showed the apartment complex and I knew exactly where it was. Though originally from the West, I briefly lived in Indianapolis when my son was 1-4 years old. We had a hard time looking for fenced yards. But they do exist. I never understood the open yards with communal play areas. All the grounds blend into each other. However, responsible parents prioritize their kids and make sure they are safe.
Being "overwhelmed" is understandable when you are actually caring for your children, and this woman was not. She is expecting yet another child. How will she care for it in prison? I surely hope they don't let her off because of the pregnancy. It's just further evidence that she is incapable of making important decisions.
Taking care of developmentally disabled kids and well, all kids, is a hard job. One needs to prepare for it and mean to do it. I resent the non-profits using this story when they don't offer help to parents or children in the first place. Where does their money go? Do the local chapters run daycare centers? Do they provide free resources for families (besides loaning books that you have little time to read)? Autism community advocates need to shut up or put up when it comes to defending neglectful parents. If it really is so impossible to keep your kids clean, fed and safe, then show us the tangible help we need.


"Parents of children with autism often feel like "there is nothing I can do to keep my child safe, and I can't get any rest or take care of myself or anyone else because this child is so high-maintenance," Pieples said."

"In court documents, police said Dyer's apartment was in disarray, her daughter was wearing a diaper full of feces and there appeared to be feces or dirt in the children's bedroom.
But finding feces on the wall of a home with an autistic child would not be that uncommon, Pieples said.

"When you hear there was a child found in a house with feces on the wall, you have one horrible picture," Pieples said. "But if you are someone within our community, you think, 'That poor woman.' "
"Raising a child with autism alone would be a daunting task with a support network. "Without one, it's an impossible task." Pieples said."


Blogger HortenseDagle said...

According to the grandfather (just a guess though) the children aren't autistic and haven't been evaluated. I wonder if Autism Society of Indiana will retract their sympathy testimony?

5:49 PM  

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