Friday, September 27, 2013

Michigan Blogger Tries to Kill Her Autistic Daughter; Her Fans Rush to Her Defense

It's hard to contain my rage after reading about this case on the blog of my good friend Godless Poutine. A Michigan woman named Kelli Stapleton, who had wrote a blog about the daily struggles of being a parent to an autistic child was arrested for trying to kill herself and her autistic daughter.

What was the response of her supporters/fans of her blog? Did they condemn this horrible act of violence? No, they establish a legal defense fund for her, and beg people to donate. Here's a paragraph from their fundraising appeal:

Our friend Kelli Stapleton is currently being held in jail without bond, awaiting further action regarding a tragic incident with her autistic daughter. We believe in Kelli. We believe in her right to a fair and just trial with proper legal counsel and experts in these extreme circumstances.

"Our friend"?  "Tragic incident with her autistic daughter?" By still calling her their friend, and raising money for her defense they are showing their solidarity with her, and calling this a "tragic inident with her autistic daughter", they almost make it sound like she was injured during a robbery attempt, not nearly murdered by the very mother that they are trying to help. It gets worse, they try to excuse away her behavior, and turns on a massive dose of victim blaming, quotes via the fundraising page:
Autism plays a role in this situation but this issue goes beyond autism, it includes any parent who is being abused by their child. Feeling hopeless and responsible for a child who is harming you is overwhelming. Kelli needs help to ensure she is able to give that message. Legal fees and attorney's are expensive and we realize the cost will most likely quadruple but we wanted to set a goal that is realistic and attainable in a short time. 

I don't know if her daughter did turn violent on her, or if this is a load of BS intended to make us feel sorry for Kelli, and blame her daughter for her near death, but even if true, it would not justify trying to kill her. Kelli was a grown woman who should have known better to try and handle this some other way than trying to committ murder.

This is not the first time that parents of autistic children have killed or tried to kill their children, using the stress of caring for them as an excuse. Just this June, 14 year old Alex Spourdalakis was killed in upstate Illinois by his mother and caregiver, stabbed through the chest. Unfortantely, neither Alex, or Issy, Kelli Stapelton's daughter will not probably be the last victims of this kind of violence.

As my good blogging friend, Andrew Hall, likes to say in sitatuions like this, This Is Purgatory.

Here's a few memes I created to vent my frustation:

(The second meme is HSLDA president Micheal Farris, if you don't get the reference, then this old post of mine should explain it throughly). 


  1. Wow...

    I can only imagine how difficult an autistic child would be. My son seems perfectly normal so far and is running me ragged. I can even understand, after years pile up, having suicidal thoughts and stuff. But at that point get some help. How can people rally behind someone who tried to kill their kid?

    1. If her daughter was neurotypical, I guarantee you that those same people would not be coming to her defense. That's what really makes me angry about this, people trying to condone this kind of violence because of who the victim is, it's saying, whether they realize it or not, that the value of an autistic person's life is not equal to that of a neurotypical.

      I can understand how the stress could wear her down, but murder is still not acceptable. If you notice, she didn't try to kill any other of her children.

  2. My son has autism. Yes it's hard work but not once, in the 10 years I've been honoured to be his mum, have I ever considered giving up, let alone harming him.
    I don't even use smacking as a discipline.
    I completely agree with you, Sheldon, if her daughter was neurotypical they would be baying for her blood, yet because she has ASD somehow it's justifiable??? WTF???

    1. Is it legal to use physical punishment in England? I know some places in Europe it isn't (France and Germany come to mind).

      It really shows you what people think of autistics. I don't know if this behavior is due to good old fashioned bigotry and hatred against the mentally ill, or if people have this twisted perception that autism is so horrible that they are being released from their suffering when they die.

    2. Unfortunately smacking is still legal here, as long as it doesn't leave a mark, but using anything but your hand isn't.
      They tried to make it all illegal but too many idiots did the whole "it never did me any harm" routine, completely missing that the harm it had done them was making them believe it's ok for a fully grown adult to use pain against a child to make them do what you want :/

      For me, it's always seemed like lazy parenting though. I much prefer actually making the effort to teach our kids morals rather than just having them blindly obey through fear ;)

    3. I fully agree that getting your child to do the right thing because it's the right thing is defintely better than making them do it out of fear.

  3. Thank you, Sheldon, for posting this!

    1. I was so angry about this, I felt I had to. Since I have been questioning if I am autistic myself, it makes me so angry to see that some people view autistics like this, as though they are disposable, and not as deserving of the same rights and respect as everyone else.

    2. This is a tragic story.

      One question though: is Autism an "illness" or are utistic people "differently abled". I am probably somewhere on the spectrum myself, and I think the term "neurotypical" versus autistic might be more descriptive?

    3. I have to wonder sometimes if we are the normal ones. We don't want neurotypicals killed because they are nuerotypicals. ;)


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