Barking Mad: Mother Kills Autistic Son By Making Him Drink Bleach — Receives Only Seven Years

The Old Bailey appears to have radically changed notions of punishment in the criminal justice system. Satpal Kaur-Singh, 44, confessed to forcing his autistic son, Ajit Singh-Mahal, 12, to drink bleach to kill him. She succeeded in Barking, England. Her sentence: seven years — less than what you get in this country on some burglary charges.

Prosecutors allowed Kaur-Singh to plead guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London,explained “I recognize how difficult Ajit was to care for.” Really? Is that now a viable defense or mitigating circumstance to murder?

He noted that she was worn down and traumatized as a result of the care (which I agree is a mitigating circumstance), but hardly on the level of a reduction to seven years. Moreover he noted “You faced the prospect of Ajit being taken away from you, but you killed him.” That would appear a countervailing aggravating circumstance if she knew that he could be cared for outside her home. Beaumont then added the world’s most understated conclusion: “You were, in my judgment, making a statement, without any consideration of his interests.” Well, yea. I would put bleach ingestion as a lack of consideration and then move to other descriptions.

Once again, I am not against mitigation, but the decision to kill the boy and the manner still deserved a more severe punishment. This sends a rather chilling message to those in charge of special needs children, doesn’t it?

Source: BBC

44 thoughts on “Barking Mad: Mother Kills Autistic Son By Making Him Drink Bleach — Receives Only Seven Years”

  1. I have dealt with the most severe forms of autism; I live one of the most severe forms of autism, and my reward for so living has been shattering punishment, especially while in second grade at Marshall School, in Eureka, California, during the 1946-47 school year.~Dr. Harris
    ———————————————————–
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDMMwG7RrFQ&feature=related

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDMMwG7RrFQ?rel=0&w=640&h=390%5D

  2. RE: erykah, April 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    J Brian Harris,
    With all due respect, your autism does not appear to be severe to me. The very fact that you are blogging on this list proves my point. Autism Spectrum Disorder runs the gambit from very mild to very severe. What about kids that indulge in self injurious behavior to the point that they need padded rooms or helmets so that they do not bang their brains out, etc. I changed diapers for 15 years and still have to help my son clean himself when he uses the bathroom. I do not mean to be crude, but that is my reality and many others with autistic child. I know the heartbreak Eniobob speaks of. Visiting family and friends became so stressful that we stopped trying. We do not go to them and they do not come to us. Okay, I’ve said too much.

    #################################

    I wonder whether I can ever do anything that will not accomplish far more harm than good, because I find it nearly impossible to use words and be accurately understood.

    I have serious “bathroom” issues, not because I am autistic, but because my life came with autism and familial adenomatous polyposis such that my colon was removed in 1986 to prevent colon cancer, from which my dad had died in 1972 and my brother was dying in 1986.

    Alas, the diagnosis of autism has become a catch-all for a plethora of conditions which distinguish some people from most people.

    Methinks that, absent hard-to-refute evidence, my “bathroom” issues would be assigned to my being autistic instead of to the effects of cancer-prevention surgery.

    In 1973, Stanford psychologist David Rosenhan published his “On Being Sane in Insane Places” in the AAAS journal, Science. Rosenhan called into question the then-traditional methods of diagnosis and the result was work to make psychiatric diagnosis more reliable (different diagnosticians coming up with the same or very similar diagnosis) without any real concern regarading the accuracy of such reliable diagnoses.

    Rosenhan’s paper, in part, seemingly led to the work of the DSM-II, III, III-R, IV, and IV-TR, and is one factor which I find is leading toward the upcoming DSM-V.

    One effect of Rosenhan’s work has been clinicians coming up with a single diagnosis for multiple conditions.

    Autistic Disorder (299.00 in the DSM-IV-TR) and Asperger’s Disorder/Rett’s Disorder/Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS (all numbered 299.80 in the DSM-IV-TR) do not include “bathroom issues” among their symptom lists, whereas Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (299.10 in the DSM-IV-TR does include “bathroom issues.”

    Diagnostic errors happen. Were I asked, I would allow that a child is both autistic has co-morbidity by also having Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, a condition which has some of the characteristics of autism, but is not limited only to the characteristics of autism.

    I have known families with children who have “bathroom issues” because the nerve pathways for not having “bathroom issues” had not formed in the usual ways,and I have known families with children who were not at all “autistic” in the usual sense who had “bathroom issues,” and who, not being labeled autistic, were given sufficient medical treatment as allowed surgical/medical correction of the gut and nervous system such as has allowed the children to function quite normally, though it commonly took many years of repeated medical treatments to achieve this.

    When autism diagnosis errors include other conditions which are not really autism, the proper medical care may be denied because of such errors of diagnosis. That can be a very real tragedy, for parents and their children.

    There is a core notion in genetics, which has been named, “independent assortment.” If there are, say, 100 different genetic “defects” in a population, and if the rate of genetic defects is, say, one in a thousand for each individual genetic “defect,” sooner or later, given enough people, someone will show up with all 100 defects. I shall here omit the arithmetic.

    That such statistical understanding is rare may be shown by asking in what proportion of school classes of thirty students each will there be two students with the same birthday. It turns out to be about half of such classes. If the reason why that is so is not obvious, perhaps more studying of frequentist statistics would be useful.

    Parents of children having multiple co-morbid serious conditions tend to have, in my view, more difficulty as parents than other parents have, and, when multiple co-morbid conditions are lumped together into a single, often very flawed, diagnosis, it only tends to get vastly more difficult.

    There is a real tragedy at work when a dichotomous diagnostic tree is used in ways that lead differential diagnosis to overlook serious co-morbid conditions.

    Errors in diagnosis can have very sad results. Errors in diagnosis were why my dad and brother died as they did.

    Errors in understanding economics were why my son and his wife died as they did.

    Errors tend to lead to heartbreak.

    Is it possible that your son has a treatable “bathroom issue” medical condition which is not being properly treated because it is incorrectly deemed an aspect of autism? I have no way to know whether that is, or is not, so. Yet I do wonder about it, for I have known of many, many errors of diagnosis during the years of my work in bioengineering.

    Sufficient heartbreak can be crushing.

    I do not lack empathy; it grieves me when people struggle with suffering, especially when suffering directly results from human error which is unpreventable because sufficient understanding has yet to arrive in useful form.

    And I apologize for such of my words as cannot be correctly understood.

  3. raff,

    You know what they say: Don’t start nun, won’t be nun. :mrgreen:

  4. In those days you didn’t need to be autistic to be paddled. I was tied to my seat on more than one occasion and I was just “over active”! Of course, my experience was with the good Benedictine nuns.

  5. erykah 1, April 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    J Brian Harris,
    With all due respect, your autism does not appear to be severe to me. The very fact that you are blogging on this list proves my point. Autism Spectrum Disorder runs the gambit from very mild to very severe. What about kids that indulge in self injurious behavior to the point that they need padded rooms or helmets so that they do not bang their brains out, etc. I changed diapers for 15 years and still have to help my son clean himself when he uses the bathroom. I do not mean to be crude, but that is my reality and many others with autistic child. I know the heartbreak Eniobob speaks of. Visiting family and friends became so stressful that we stopped trying. We do not go to them and they do not come to us. Okay, I’ve said too much.

    ####################################

    You have never met me, you were not there when I was paddled for being autistic by Mrs. Edith Knudsen in second grade during the 1947-47 school year, and I am only a little way from the conduct you describe, which, had my parents required of me that I not be autistic, I imagine what you describe would have been mild compared to what my conduct would have been.

    To the extent which words allow, I do accurately describe my life and life experiences.

    Having never found a single truthful instance of any decision ever made by anyone which, in actual context, was other than the decision the context both allowed and required, I have never believed that anyone has ever actually done anything wrong.

    What I do observe is that the world (or universe) appears to be of a process of change, such that things happen which never exactly happened before (for two happenings to really be the same, they need to happen at exactly the same place, exactly the same time, and in exactly the same way, such that the wave function of the two happenings is identical for all time.

    Thus, I find that many traditional notions deeply embedded in human society appear to me to be mere, albeit often very tragic, superstitions, including especially any notion that, because one person understood something, everyone understands it (which I find to be the underlying delusion of the fantasy of any realistic “theory of mind.”

    A theory of mind, as best I can make sense of the notion, is how one person can impute purpose to the actions of another person without the “another person” having specifically informed the “one person” of the “another person’s” real intent.

    If one reads the literature on autism, it is the lack of a theory of mind which most starkly separates profoundly autistic people from profoundly non-autistic people. Alas, to me, “theory of mind” is virtually synonymous with “delusional imputation.”

    To me, it appears plausible that the “delusional imputation” of theory of mind may account for finding fault with a person for becoming depressed; for that is the terrible assigning of personal responsibility for factors outside a person’s actual, willful locus of control.

    There is a profound batch of scientific psychology research on locus of control and attribution theory, much of which interests me perhaps more than I guess it may scare the (your choice of word) out of those who believe in adversarial law as justice.

    Again, I do not question the “suffering” common to parents and relatives of profoundly autistic children. However, it is dishonest to regard me as other than I represent myself as being, and Dr. Temple Grandin, much less autistic than I find I am, developed word skills which I cannot yet approach in describing her life as an autistic person.

    I do not allow people who do neither know nor understand me to demean my life or to dismiss the effort it has taken me to do as much (or as little) as I am able to do.

    Theory of mind allows people to mistakenly (and deceptively) project their self-images onto others (the mirror neuron system may rather well “automate” this process), such that judgments not only seem possible but also necessary.

    I live without judgments, without thinking using words, and, until someone tells me that I am not as I find I am, my life works very well and I am able to be helpful to people whose inner sense of truthfulness allows them to be adequately comfortable in my immediate presence.

    When someone attempts to describe me in terms of someone not me, that is when my encounter with human society turns into what would be a hell on earth of unimaginable horror, were I ever to believe that someone not me actually understands me well enough to tell me what my inner life is.

    Consider the irony of the following. Some children have trisomy 21 (aka Down’s Syndrome) and tend to have low measured IQ scores. In working at Cook County Children’s Hospital, in Pediatric Cardiology, many babies and very young trisomy-21 children went through Pediatric Cardiology because trisomy-21 often is associated with congenital cardiac conditions which require “correction” if a baby is to live a reasonably long life. Suppose the parents of a trisomy-21 baby are college professors with over 200 IQ scores, and suppose they have a baby with an IQ score of around 71. Next, suppose these parents expect their baby to live as they did, to earn a Ph.D. in some difficult field by age 27. Might such parents be disappointed if their trisomy-21 child takes until age 59 years to get his/her Ph.D.? That is how long it took me…

    I have no doubt whatsoever that parents whose expectations are of having a non-autistic child may encounter severe difficulties with getting the child to meet proper developmental milestones. My parents never had such expectations for me, and I never had any such expectations for my daughter.

    To me, if to no one else, a core question may be whether people are “supposed to be” similar or unique. I find every person is actually unique, even so-called “identical twins.”

    Consider two artists who sculpt wood. One may decide what to sculpt and make a piece of wood comply with his decision. Another may ask the wood what it is and what it is willing to become, and let the piece of wood guide the forming of the sculpture. Or so some artists have told me.

    One Door County artist lets the canvas and paint choose what to become, and only helps the canvas and paint fulfill themselves, or so one such artist I know has said.

    Try to teach me that I did something wrong and that I knew better; and, if you press the matter enough, you may find you are as though in the fight of your life. I will never retaliate, I simply will not comply with such a view (that anyone can ever do something wrong while knowing better) and would die before I could ever come to believe such a severe distortion of denotative reality.

    On the other hand, I never make laws or rules or regulations which I cannot explain and which I would command anyone to obey in violation of conscience.

    There is the ancient model of existence, which culminated in Newtonian physics, and in which entropy never decreases. That one has gone by the wayside with accurate enough understanding of quantum mechanics, which is finally beginning to support a variation of the “continuing creation” model of British astronomer Fred Hoyle.

    One might ponder whether “dark energy” and “dark matter” are ordinary energy and matter in the process of becoming made and which are not yet fully made…

    The greatest contrast between relatively non-autistic and relatively autistic people whom I have personally known is simply that the less autistic I find a person to be, the more the person regards people as the same and interchangeable; whereas the more autistic I find a person to be, the more the person regards people as unique and not at all interchangeable. In my life experiences thus far, that, far more than anything else, is the boundary between highly non-autistic and highly autistic people.

    http://www.autreat.com/dont_mourn.html

    It may be worth while to read about autistic people who are able to live decent lives and to learn how their situations contrast with those who are autistic and have seeming difficulty living decent lives.

    Perhaps I will be able to get to Autreat this year. I finally made it to the Autism National Committee annual meeting last year.

    As for heartbreak, I am not in a contest. However, consider adopting an eleven-year-old boy said to be in need of a decent home, consider having a daughter born not long after the adoption, and consider the boy threatening to have a Chicago street gang (which I shall not name) come and kill your five-year old daughter because your adopted son had been abused and/or neglected before being adopted that he had decided he needed to be an only child because of his past deprivations, and consider getting him to the Oak Park, Illinois Police Department while your daughter was yet unharmed by the street gang, and consider going to visit him at Riveredge Hospital, in Forest Park, Illinois, whereupon he said he would kill himself if my wife and I did not get him out of there and consider telling the staff what he had said and consider visiting him the next possible time and seeing him in an orange jump suit because he was on elopement precautions. Consider many family therapy sessions for your adopted son to work out his neglect and/or abuse issues, and consider, on the Christmas before he and his wife were killed, his saying to you and your wife, “You were the only real parents I ever had.” Heartbreak, yes, I know of heartbreak… Not, however, as you do.

    I do not question other people’s experiences. If you truthfully tell me you have known or had difficult or very difficult experiences, I will believe you.

    Why do some other people, who have never met me, question my experiences?

    Have I met, in person, Amanda Baggs? Yes. At the Autism National Committee meeting already mentioned.

    Have I met, in person, DJ Savarese? Yes. At the Autism National Committee meeting already mentioned.

    Have I met, in person, Ralph James Savarese? Yes, at the Autism National Committee meeting, also…

    Google searching for

    “DJ Savarese”
    “Amanda Baggs”
    “Ralph James Savarese”

    may be informative.

    Not all parents of profoundly autistic children meet with heartbreak because of autism.

    What if it were to become useful to learn from those parents who do not meet with heartbreak in response to having profoundly autistic children?

  6. J Brian Harris,
    With all due respect, your autism does not appear to be severe to me. The very fact that you are blogging on this list proves my point. Autism Spectrum Disorder runs the gambit from very mild to very severe. What about kids that indulge in self injurious behavior to the point that they need padded rooms or helmets so that they do not bang their brains out, etc. I changed diapers for 15 years and still have to help my son clean himself when he uses the bathroom. I do not mean to be crude, but that is my reality and many others with autistic child. I know the heartbreak Eniobob speaks of. Visiting family and friends became so stressful that we stopped trying. We do not go to them and they do not come to us. Okay, I’ve said too much.

  7. eniobob 1, April 2, 2011 at 8:04 am

    erykah:

    “J Brian Harris,
    If you do not think that autism is an affliction, than you have only dealt with a very mid form of autism. The inability to effectively communicate, insomnia,pottying issues, sensory issues, and on and on and on makes life difficult for the autistic person and the people caring for him or her.”

    I can back erykah up 1000% on this one,The few moments that my grandson spends with us and I consider them few for he does not live with us and just seeing how he reacts to different situations
    around people who truley love him can be heart breaking and he is not deaf as I stated and that is your key to try and get through that haze.

    Life is rough and sometimes when we have no shoes we don’t know how rough till we see the person with no feet.

    #########################################

    I did substitute teaching for a few days at LeMoyne School, in Chicago, in an autistic classroom with the sort of autistic children who are deemed among the most difficult of all to teach.

    The children quickly recognized me as “one of us” and we got along very well, because I regarded what each child did to be appropriate within the context in which the child found himself/herself. My time in that classroom is described in my doctoral dissertation with such information not included as would otherwise violate confidentiality.

    My parents noticed that I was very slow in terms of some supposedly normal developmental milestones and very fast in some others, and they regarded what I was able to do as appropriate as I was able to do it.

    Part of my parents’ resolve to provide a safe childhood home for me was their understanding that I necessarily understood myself better than they ever could, and so, in essence, consulted with me in ways appropriate to my development, so as to avoid imposing unrealistic expectations upon me by mistake.

    It may make a stunning difference if a child is treated as not being right, as I was not treated by my parents; or is treated as being right, as I was treated by my parents.

    There is a story of childhood, one often deemed to be in a book in which I have never found it, wherein, “Spare the rod and spoil the child” may be a sincere belief.

    Methinks that story may have something to do with shepherds and a shepherd’s rod. What decent shepherd uses his or her rod to clobber the sheep being shepherded?

    Methinks a proper shepherd uses a rod to extend his/her reach with the purpose of providing safe boundaries for a sheep that might otherwise stray into danger.

    My parents’ approach to my early childhood, and my approach to my and my wife’s daughter during early childhood, was to provide very safe boundaries, such that, for my daughter, she could never do anything which would result in her needing to be punished for being disobedient.

    That early childhood had an interesting effect when our daughter was in high school. At parent-child-teacher conferences in Sturgeon Bay, teachers often remarked that, if every child were like our daughter, teaching would be the most wonderful job in the whole world.

    When other students were afraid “to show their ignorance” by asking questions, our daughter, unafraid of her ignorance, would so ask. Instead of pretending to understand to avoid being made fun of, when something was unclear to our daughter, she asked anyway. And our autistic-spectrum daughter was never a “behavior problem” in school.

    To grasp the contrast, one might reflect upon what happened on this blawg when someone (whom I shall not name) sent pejorative words my way about some aspects of my work which I attempted to describe accurately, only to learn that I have no less difficulty getting words to work decently as might the most obviously autistic person of all time.

    It was never my intention to get “fir flying” here. However, I really am a Wisconsin Registered Professional Engineer and it really is my understanding of the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Code of Ethics that I am required to protest as best I can if someone labels my work in ways suggesting deception or dishonesty on my part.

    I prefer to share ideas and understandings, the better that people may usefully learn from one another.

    That I find my life is of vastly higher quality (because of the way in which I am autistic) than it would be were I not autistic as I am does not imply that anyone else in all of eternity would share such a view of life as I have. Neither does it imply otherwise.

    Please, let us not get “fur flying” again!

    I do not know that, were someone to attempt to “cure me of being autistic,” I would not die first. …Which is why I find the story that started this thread to be so utterly, beyond any power of words I can imagine, tragic.

  8. erykah 1, April 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Eniobob,
    Thanks so much for your empathy. The combination of deafness and autism can be overwhelming indeed. It is only by grace that my husband and I have been able to maintain our sanity.

    J Brian Harris,
    If you do not think that autism is an affliction, than you have only dealt with a very mid form of autism. The inability to effectively communicate, insomnia,pottying issues, sensory issues, and on and on and on makes life difficult for the autistic person and the people caring for him or her.

    ###########################################

    I have dealt with the most severe forms of autism; I live one of the most severe forms of autism, and my reward for so living has been shattering punishment, especially while in second grade at Marshall School, in Eureka, California, during the 1946-47 school year.

    I wonder why people who apparently “think in words” are so remarkably unable to understand simple words such as I used.

    I described autism as I experience it in, and only in, my life as an individual person. I cannot describe the life of any person other than myself because I am not any person other than myself and I am able only to life my life and not the life of anyone else.

    However, I am a member of the Autism National Committee and I did attend the annual meeting of the Autism National Committee in Milwaukee last year, and there were autistic people there who can communicate effectively only using facilitated communication.

    To me, autism is not the problem which autism raises in human society, rather, the problem is what non-autistic people believe about autism which I observe to be the serious problem of autism.

    I do not minimize or dismiss the terrible problems parents, relatives, teachers, and people of general society encounter with respect to profoundly autistic people. However, I continue to observe that the difficulty is not about autism and is really only about common beliefs regarding what is normal, what is appropriate, and what is neither.

    A few years ago, I did find a relative of Mrs. Edith Knudsen, the Principal of Marshall School, who paddled me until my personality shattered into a form of multiple personality dissociation so severe that, as a Carleton College student, I was able to ace physics classes using calculus skills which the personality which was compatible with the calculus teacher had not learned. Therefore, I concurrently aced physics using very good math skills while flunking the math courses the content of which allowed me to ace physics. I plan to put my Carleton transcript, properly redacted to keep confidential information off the Internet, to demonstrate that such happened.

    What may separate me from almost every other person to ever live is my retaining the method of learning I had before I was born throughout the whole of my life. That way is so simple an unborn fetus can easily do it.

    The way works like this: Something happens which affects me, and I adapt to whatever happens as I am able to adapt. I now name this form of adaptation, “learning.” I never find anything happening which I regard as other than necessary and sufficient and I never adapt in any way I regard as other than necessary and sufficient. Whatever happens is, to me, invariably what needs to happen, and how I adapt is, to me, invariably how I need to adapt. Therefore, I never encounter anything I can possibly judge. Because I never encounter anything I can possibly judge, I never find fault with anything that happens, including how I adapt (learn from) whatever happens.

    I am well satisfied that the late Mrs. Edith Knudsen found me the most absolutely frustrating student she ever encountered, because I was totally unable to learn the lesson she was intent on teaching me. I remain totally unable to learn it, even now.

    Because I never experience anything as being both necessary and sufficient, I cannot ever get to the “First Noble Truth” of Buddhism, because I never actually experience suffering such as I understand The Buddha described it.

    I find that I am both exceptionally sensitive to other people and exceptionally incapable of being as other people who are not sufficiently autistic may believe I need to be.

    My dad never, never, never compared me or what I could do or how I learned with anyone else other than to observe that I was living a life unlike any he had ever known or heard of.

    My mother, like me, never learned to “think in words,” and we talked extensively about what it was like to live as though in a world which denies to us even the possibility of actually being alive and actually being real persons.

    I fully accept that, for many parents of autistic children, there can be no greater horror in the universe than autism.

    That simply, however, was not ever part of my parents’ experiences with me as an autistic child nor was it ever a part of my mother’s experiences or her parents’ experiences, nor of my experiences.

    How does my telling only of my subjective, personal experiences generalize into what I find to be (sincere?) imputation that I believe what I find to be utterly absurd.

    So, I shall repeat what I have attempted to communicate previously. I do what I do in part because autistic people who did not gather anywhere near the interpersonal word skills (however atrocious my skills may be) have asked me to learn whether I can ever “tell others what it is like for us (i.e., profoundly autistic people).”

    It is as though I live in a world dominated by the Pauli Exclusion Principle at every possible scale of observation. There are no two of anything that can ever actually be the same.

    Therefore, I never expect any two people to be anything hinting at even being similar to each other.

    My internal (intrapersonal) communication is only denotative (no words, not ever) and my interpersonal communication is denotative to the limit of what I find attainable, for denotative communication is remarkably free of abuse in contrast with connotative (using words) interpersonal communication, as I have consistently observed.

    What on earth leads decent people to generalize a connotative description of some few aspects of one particular autistic person’s life into an overgeneralization absurdity regarding more than one autistic person?

    I am profoundly saddened by a mother of an autistic person becoming driven (by social norms?) into deciding that her autistic child was (I am guessing) better off dead.

    In contrast with that mother, my mother wrote (indirectly about my being autistic) in 1986, that she was so very glad I was her son.

    My mother, as did my dad, welcomed and affirmed my being autistic as being what was right and proper for me to best live my life.

    Autistic people are people. Autism is not people, it is an aspect of the lives of some valid people who cannot comply with some aspects of traditional human socialization. For me, that calls into question the truthfulness of such aspects of traditional human socialization.

    I am not here to hurt people. My life is mainly about what hurts children and what people may wisely, when possible, learn and understand about what hurts children, so as to eventually reduce the hurtfulness of childhood.

  9. Again this morning the local fish wrap had a brief note about a murder here last summer.

    This guy was riding his motor scooter on a city street in broad daylight when he was run down by a drunken driver. The murderer was sentenced yesterday – 3 1/2 years. So maybe 7 years is a bit long – the guy should have said he was drunk when he did it then he would only have half the sentence.

  10. erykah:

    “J Brian Harris,
    If you do not think that autism is an affliction, than you have only dealt with a very mid form of autism. The inability to effectively communicate, insomnia,pottying issues, sensory issues, and on and on and on makes life difficult for the autistic person and the people caring for him or her.”

    I can back erykah up 1000% on this one,The few moments that my grandson spends with us and I consider them few for he does not live with us and just seeing how he reacts to different situations
    around people who truley love him can be heart breaking and he is not deaf as I stated and that is your key to try and get through that haze.

    Life is rough and sometimes when we have no shoes we don’t know how rough till we see the person with no feet.

  11. Eniobob,
    Thanks so much for your empathy. The combination of deafness and autism can be overwhelming indeed. It is only by grace that my husband and I have been able to maintain our sanity.

    J Brian Harris,
    If you do not think that autism is an affliction, than you have only dealt with a very mid form of autism. The inability to effectively communicate, insomnia,pottying issues, sensory issues, and on and on and on makes life difficult for the autistic person and the people caring for him or her.

    ShireNomad,
    I assume your comment is sarcasm.

  12. ” In the UK a criminal court will routinely call for an assessment of the defendant’s health in situations like this. ”
    ….Tony S.

    ” If she truly had diminished capacity, wouldn’t it make more sense to sentence her to a mental health facility? If she is sick, treat her. If she is not sick, put her away for a long time. ” Rafflaw

    The Canadian legal system operates in the same manner, and I agree that we, too, are more humane in our CJ system. If this crime had been committed in Canada and the woman had been deemed NCR ( Not Criminally Responsible ), she would have been hospitalized & treated.
    On a personal note……parents need to have appropriate resources and supports available to them to counter the overwhelming nature somtimes involved in raising a child with special needs. For those who feel the need to judge, you are very very fortunate to have never felt the pain and terror that goes along with this diagnosis.

  13. In my life, autism has never been an affliction; and neither has my being abused by some people who may believe, as I do not, that autism is an affliction.

    I simply forgive people who do not understand autism as I do; how can I fault a person for not understanding what the person simply is incapable of understanding?

    I do not regard people who are lacking in autism as being abnormal or mentally deficient.

    Different is not identical with Defective.

  14. erykah:

    I have a grandson who is autisic,and just seeing his interaction around family,I cannot imagine having deafness as an affliction also.

    “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
    Helen Keller (1880 – 1968)”

  15. To me, autism, like the whole realm of human biological diversity, is merely an aspect of what makes human life possible.

    My guess is that rejection of such necessary diversity makes life difficult for some autistic people and their relatives.

  16. If she truly had diminished capacity, wouldn’t it make more sense to sentence her to a mental health facility? If she is sick, treat her. If she is not sick, put her away for a long time.

  17. Poor planning. She should have gotten a prenatal exam, discovered her child would be born autistic, and aborted it.

  18. perhaps she’ll work in the laundry at the institution where she is incarcerated.

  19. Professor, you are beginning to lose my confidence. In your presentation of this case you omitted a highly relevant fact: that the mother attempted suicide by drinking bleach herself. That places the issue of diminished responsibility in an entirely different light, and reduces the outrage factor from “Barking Mad” to “Arguably too Lenient a Sentence.”

    How would you grade a student of yours if she made such an omission in a statement of facts, and left you to find it in a footnote? It’s well that you link to source material (in this case, BBC) but not all readers of the blog will take the time to follow the links. I’ve noticed this sort of skewed presentation before and if it persists I don’t see your staying on the BLAWG 100. A bit more care, please!

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