By now the news of Kelli Stapleton has reached a world wide audience. I wasn't going to write about her, but I feel that there are certain aspects of this situation that need to be addressed. It has indeed rocked the autism community to it's core. It has pitted parents against self advocates, the real world against the autism community and so on. I honestly believe that the house has been divided. The people who support Kelli vs the ones who consider her a monster.
For those of you, who consider her a monster, I know that you can't fathom any parent trying to kill their own child. Whether it be out of malice or due the mental instability of the parent or the fact that the parent doesn't want to see their child suffer any longer, you can't wrap your mind over the fact that someone would do this. Murder is Murder.You want justice for that child(ren).
Those of you who have supported Kelli, you have understood that feeling of reaching the point of no return. When every outlet that you had, either slowly diminishes or goes away. That feeling of being backed into wall, with no where to turn.
The media has not been kind to this situation. It seems that, as usual, it has all missed the important component. Autism. Kelli Stapleton brought Autism out of the shadows. She made it possible for people to talk about it. In a very sad way, she brought to light, the pressures that most of us caregivers are under, while trying to make sure our loved ones are taken care of. It is remarkable just how much we can take, before we all snap. Kelli put that experience on the map.
It is sad to me, as a parent of not one but two children on the spectrum to see a community divided. To see the nastiness flowing so freely. Attacking one another like a pack of rabid dogs. Instead of talking rationally about how we can prevent circumstances like Kelli's. We can all agree that the final choice of Kelli's was a bad one. There is no one denying that trying to murder her children was a very poor judgement. But it was the judgement made by a person who had lost all hope. A person who thought that, this was the only way out. When she needed to have someone help her, she hit road blocks.
We, as a community need to learn from this. We need to stop pointing fingers at each other. Instead of victimizing and vilifying, we need to take a stand. So when we do have parents or caregivers out there, who have felt that they can't fight any longer or that they have reached the end, that there is a community out there that will support them. Help them get through a tough situation. We need to stop playing the blame game and stop being a house divided.
Be kind. Be accepting. Be there for someone.