Susan's Blog

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tears In Heaven

How do we even know that Sky Walker did kill his mother? I have not heard that there was evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt; maybe that’s because people are innocent until proven guilty. All I’ve heard is “autistic young man charged…”

If so, then why was Sky taken away in this monstrous restraining suit?

I feel that I need to state a few facts, “for the record.” Autism does not imply violence. Each person with autism is a different, unique individual.

Autism does not predispose people to violence. Confusion, frustration, anxiety, and profound sensory discomfort can be associated with autism, and these issues can be set off by circumstances or other people. But aggression and autism are not hand-in-hand. Aggression and human beings, however, unfortunately are intertwined. Sky might be guilty of hurting his mother. But was he aware at all of the consequences of his actions, if he even did them? Probably not. There is a death. There is not necessarily a murder.

I am not sure what else to say about this, it has gotten me all muddled and sad. I feel for Sky’s mother, and I feel for Sky.


Her op-ed in the Kent paper gave me chills. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this also.

— added by Someone Said on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 11:04 am

I feel most for Sky, who is now probably terribly confused and scared, but without his own loving mother to comfort and guide him. It is one of my biggest nightmares that I will die and leave my children without my love, my protection, and my devotion when they need it most.

I can only hope and pray that she is watching over him as best she can, comforting him however possible.

— added by ASDmomNC on Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

They have to be taught right and wrong. Aggression and harming others is wrong. If you can teach a 2 to 4 yr old, you can teach someone with special needs. If not, then through medication or placement they have to be restrained and protected.

I have more sympathy for the Man than I do for the Mother. He was never taught… she failed in teaching him.

Now society will have to clean up the mess the best way it knows how, which may not be the best way for all those involved.


— added by farmwifetwo on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I am troubled by farmwifetwo’s comments and felt I had to speak up, I am sorry it gets thrown in your comment file Susan.

How I wish the world were so black and white, ‘right and wrong’ as farmwifetwo states. It never is. Never. It sure sounds simple – teach a 2 to 4 year old the right and wrong, teach a special needs child. There. Simple. Gee, wish I would have thought of that. How condescending to all of us who struggle with our children who may hurt us at times. ‘Medicate, restrain, protect us.’ Maybe it should be our new mantra??? Hardly.

I also abhore how the blame gets placed on mom once again… ‘she failed in teaching him.’ Not he was sensory overloaded, the anxiety got too much, reasoning was at times beyond what he was capable of – no, it was mom’s fault. Lovely. And thank you Bruno Bettelheim for the reminder that once again it is all in our laps.

The last statement kicked it right to the curb for me. ‘Society will have to clean up the mess’ I guess you could call it a ‘mess. Isn’t it more than that – isn’t it deeper? Society could have helped out Sky’s mom while it was a ‘mess’ at home, but I will bet like many of us on this list, that help was scarce and very, very hard to find.

I am one of the moms who reads Susan’s post who may possibly one day be seriously hurt by her own child. I am hoping that compassion from my group of moms and dads of children with autism comes around for me. I hope the hands of empathy hold me. I hope that my child is seen and helped.


— added by Penny on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Penny, I agree wholeheartedly with you. One of my close autism mom friends has a very physically aggressive, severely autistic, nonverbal daughter. They have been trying to “teach” her for the past 2.5 years, with limited success. She is only 4 years old, and has already inflicted serious harm on 2 people, one of them MY child. I would never ever DREAM of suggesting my friend medicate and place her child in residential care, or that she has failed as a mother because her child still lashes out.

It’s so easy to sit in judgment of the mother when you have never been in her position. How do you KNOW she didn’t try and try and TRY to “teach” Sky to not react violently to aversive stimuli? How do you know she didn’t simply do the best she could with the resources she had? You don’t. That’s the whole point. Have some compassion.

Shades of Bettelheim, indeed. How sad.

— added by ASDmomNC on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 7:47 pm

farmwifetwo is also very anti ABA which is just unbelievably ignorant. So all “mothers” (why the hell doesn’t she pick on the fathers too?)are supposed to teach and reduce their childrens’ behavior…. how?? Maybe farmwife has a couple of mildly autistic children and it may have been much easier for her to teach them and reduce their behaviors. More severely affected kids don’t respond as well or generalize as well and it may have been an easier task overall regarding her kids.

I can not stand the…”all parents are horrible if their autistic kids misbehave and it’s just so simple to discipline them” attitude. Another one that constantly preaches this message is that Mom26children. Two peas in a pod the two of them. To famwife I say, YOU are the pathetic one for being so judgemental, NOT Sky’s mom!

— added by Anonymous on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Farmwifetwo, I have to respond to you. You see, you’re not somehow immune to your children being violent to you even if you teach them right/wrong, even if they’re aren’t autistic. Your post, while some what smug and self-assured, surely doesn’t allow for the mother who does try to teach her children right/wrong, but her son is addicted to drugs, and doesn’t care who he hurts to get money.
So while you can sit up on your high horse of teaching a four year old right/wrong, understand one thing. Sometimes all the home training in the world will not save you.

— added by Michael's Mom on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I feel so terrible for Sky, alone and scared without his mom. I have only pity for farmwifetwo. My son Jarrett is mildly autistic and can easily be taught but that does not mean that every child is whether they are autistic or not. His 3 year old brother is harder to handle than Jarrett and he’s “normal”! Do not judge other people difficulties with their child’s special problems unless you are dealing with the same things and can offer new ideas to try. I notice you have left similar comments before and I don’t understand why it’s always the parents failure to teach their child to act “normal” that is to blame. If you can teach a 2-4 year old anything, then please feel free to come over to my place and teach Max to act like a perfect angel all the time, because he doesn’t and clearlt that mean Mikey and I are unfit parents.

— added by cameramom on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

Susan, thank you for writing this blog post.

— added by Phil Schwarz on Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 3:14 am