His name was London McCabe. He was a beautiful 6 year old, non-verbal autistic boy that was senselessly murdered by his own mother.
When I read the headlines my heart sank and I felt unbelievable pain for this innocent child. Please God, not again!
Sadly, London falls into a much too long list of autistic children murdered by their own parents. I have written about this before and it's sickening to be talking about it again.
When will it end? When will people stop murdering autistic children? This is not acceptable.
There has been a great deal of dialogue this week about London; mostly how he certainly didn't deserve the fate he was given. But surprisingly, there has been another dialogue in reference to his mother that has some people showing support and understanding for what happened.
In NBC's News article titled, "Jillian McCabe Was 'Overwhelmed' Before Autistic Son's Fatal Plunge", Dee Shepherd-Look, a psychology professor at California State University, said "quite frankly, I am surprised this doesn't happen more often."
Wait, before you get your knickers in a knot you have to hear the rest of it, it gets worse.
She goes on to say that, "These children are really unable to be in a reciprocal relationship and the moms don't really experience the love that comes back from a child -- the bonding is mitigated. That is one of the most difficult things for mothers."
Knickers twisting in progress.
Clearly her comments demonstrate how her degree in psychology does little to help her understand autistic children. Perhaps she should speak to autistic people before making such inaccurate, misinformed, misguided and completely ridiculous remarks about the mitigated bonding between mother and child.
Her words are so hurtful to autistic people, to my children who are both on the spectrum but most importantly her words are dangerous. Her words are printed in a news article to be read by thousands of people, some who know little about autism. They will read her words and believe them to be true. What a grave injustice this is.
Her words are coated with an offensive layer of understanding as to why and how a mother could reach a breaking point and kill her own child. Her words cradle the murderer as the victim, leaving London, the true victim, to be minimized as a human being; a human being that deserved to be treated with respect and dignity.
Would it be acceptable for a mother to throw her child with Down syndrome off the bridge? How about a child that was blind, or had cancer, or Spina Bifida, Cystic Fibrosis? Are any of these acceptable reasons to commit murder? No, and neither is autism.
Every single life is worthy. Every single human being, with or without special needs deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. To even slightly suggest that the difficulties in raising an autistic child can understandably lead a parent to their breaking point and kill their own flesh and blood is absolutely wrong. Murder is murder.
Allowing such inaccurate comments to exist in our dialogue poses a great danger to the future of our children. If it's acceptable for a parent to kill their child what message does this give society? Autistic children will be at risk for more abuse when they become adults and enter into the workforce and start integrating into the community.
Ms. Shepherd-Look, I am here to tell you that autistic children are capable of being in reciprocal relationships and so much more! Simply because they don't fall into your definition of what that looks like doesn't make it impossible. Different doesn't make it invisible or non-existent. Different doesn't make it any less real. Different is simply another way of being. Different is diversity and we need diversity in this world.MORE ON HUFFPOST:
According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, 1 in 68 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, based on health and education records. That figure represents a significant increase from previous prevalence estimates, released in 2012, which estimated that 1 in 88 have an ASD.
Autism is roughly five times more common in boys than girls, according to CDC estimates. One in 42 boys have been identified with autism, compared to 1 in 189 girls. Children born to older parents are also more likely to have an ASD.
According to the NIH, early indicators include: No babbling or pointing by age 1, no single words by 16 months, poor eye contact, little to no smiling or other social responses and more. (Click here for more information from NIH.) The CDC says, "Health care providers will often use a questionnaire or other screening instrument to gather information about a child’s development and behavior. Some screening instruments rely solely on parent observations, while others rely on a combination of parent and doctor observations. If screening instruments indicate the possibility of an ASD, a more comprehensive evaluation is usually indicated.”
According to the Child Mind Institute both genetic and environmental factors could contribute.
Autism is treated with therapy, education plans and medication. Doctors and scientists say that early identification and intervention for children with an ASD can help them thrive in academically and socially in the future. There are still studies being done to find better treatments and perhaps one day, even a cure. A paper in Cell, a scientific journal, discussed a study with more insight into what could cure autism. The study found that feeding rats with similar symptoms to autism a gut bacteria called B. fragilis lead to an improvement in their behavior. "They became less anxious, communicated more with other mice, and showed less repetitive behavior,” according to the Atlantic.
Even when multiple vaccines are given to a child on the same day, they are still not at risk of developing autism.
Studies have also shown that if a child with an ASD has an identical twin, the other will be affected anywhere from 36-95 percent of the time.
There is an 83% chance of co-occurrence for developmental disorders and a 10% chance for psychiatric disorders. These disorders include Bipolar Disorder, Fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome according to the CDC.
Children whose language skills regress before they turn 3 have been found to have a higher risk of developing epilepsy.
The CDC recommends children be screened when the are 9, 18 and 24-30 months.
LOOK: This Is What Autism Looks Like Study Shows Big Leap In Autism Prevalence Autism Is Not a Parenting Fail
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