Showing posts with label autism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label autism. Show all posts

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mother Who Tried To Murder Her Autistic Daughter Sentenced To Minimum 10 Years

Kelli Stapleton at her sentencing hearing on Wednesday. (source)
Remember that blogger mom who tried to kill her autistic daughter, Kelli Stapleton? She even went so far as starting up a fundraiser to raise money for her legal defense, and plenty of people donated out of sympathy for her -- because, I suppose, killing your children is totally excusable if they're disabled. Her blog is even called The Status Woe.

Well, good news! She's been found guilty and has been sentenced to a hefty time in jail.
A judge Wednesday sentenced the mother of an autistic Michigan teenager to 10 to 22 years in prison in the defendant described as a failed murder-suicide attempt brought on by despair, after years of violent attacks by the child and failure to find affordable and effective treatment.
I hope she, along with other parents, will learn the lesson that having an autistic child is no excuse to kill them! Please, if this crosses anyone's mind, call child services and tell them. Call the police. Call the newspaper. Do whatever it takes, but do not kill your child. I know it sounds heartless, but if you kill yourself, do not kill your child too.
Kelli Rai Stapleton, 46, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree child abuse in a bargain with prosecutors who dismissed an attempted murder charge. She admitted driving her daughter Isabelle to an isolated spot in rural Benzie County, giving her a sleep-inducing drug and placing two charcoal-burning grills inside their van.
Her 15 yr old daughter was in a coma for days, but she's awake and still alive now.
Stapleton wrote in the summer of 2013 that her daughter, nicknamed Issy, had gone through an intense program for severely autistic children near Kalamazoo. But Stapleton said she was "suffering from a severe case of battle fatigue" after the insurance company stopped paying for the treatment and local school officials changed Issy's education plan.

She later told authorities she had concluded the best solution would be if she and her daughter "went to heaven."
Ah, religion. Are murder and suicide not rather severe sins in Christianity? I mean, her daughter would likely pass right on through the gates... but mom?
Ari Ne'eman, president of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, argued previously for sentencing Stapleton "the same way a mother of a non-disabled child would be sentenced for a comparable crime" and said lenient treatment would encourage copycat crimes.
Agreed. Murder is illegal and carries certain penalties in the penal system. If we start going easy on people because their children are autistic then we are effectively declaring that autistics are less than human.

Listen, I'm all for more safeguards and social services put into place to help parents deal with challenging situations arising from their autistic children. This involves both help for the children and the parents. However, the final responsibility for caring for -- not killing! -- children rests with the parents, always. If they are unable to cope then the responsible thing to do is to surrender the children to relatives or the state, not kill them.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Authentically Autistic!


My wife, who blogs over at One Quarter Mama and Solo Woman Traveler, just got her first article published over at Huffington Post!

Authentically Autistic -- Like Mother, Like Son
Watching him develop brought back memories of my own childhood, and I started to see a lot of similarities. I also seemed to have much more of a sense of what he was going through than others did, beyond regular "mom intuition." I started to read writings by autistic adult females and started to see a lot of myself in them. Finally, about a year and a half after my son was diagnosed with ASD and SPD, I received the same diagnosis. As my son would say, "We're both the same!"
Go check it out!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Richard Dawkins: It's Immoral To Bring A Down's Syndrome Child Into The World

Richard Dawkins (source)
I know I'm going to catch flack for this from all sides, but Richard Dawkins' latest tweets about terminating pregnancies when the tests come back positive for Down's Syndrome really struck a nerve with me. I usually stay out of this stuff but I can't stay quiet about this one. I'm sure you've all seen this tweet.
Before I go any further, I'd like to make a full disclosure. I'm the father of an autistic child and the husband of an autistic woman. Even though I have no personal experience parenting children with Down's Syndrome, I still have strong feelings about disability and ableism.

I've read Dawkins' apology, Abortion & Down Syndrome: An Apology for Letting Slip the Dogs of Twitterwar and at some level I can agree with him. Although, even the title irritates me because it screams non-pology to me -- it implies he's not apologizing for anything other than causing a ruckus.

But then Twitter is no place for implications or nuance. It's definitely no place for expressing opinions about difficult and complex issues. Dawkins, as an accomplished author really should be aware of this and it leads me to think that he really doesn't understand that this is a complicated and highly emotional subject.
That’s what I would have said, if a woman were to ask my advice. As you might notice, it takes a lot more than 140 characters! I condensed it down to a tweet, and the result was understandably seen in some quarters as rather heartless and callous: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” Of course I regret using abbreviated phraseology which caused so much upset. I never wanted to “cry havoc”!
That's an understatement! Here's what Dawkins would have said if he had more than 140 characters -- like in a blog or even a book!
“Obviously the choice would be yours. For what it’s worth, my own choice would be to abort the Down fetus and, assuming you want a baby at all, try again. Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort. And, indeed, that is what the great majority of women, in America and especially in Europe, actually do.  I personally would go further and say that, if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare. I agree that that personal opinion is contentious and needs to be argued further, possibly to be withdrawn. In any case, you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child. Your child would probably have a short life expectancy but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. Having said that, the choice would be entirely yours and I would never dream of trying to impose my views on you or anyone else.”
I'll agree that most of it was in the delivery. Dawkins, who is falsely portrayed regularly by religious media as some kind of Pope of the Atheists speaking for countless mindless followers, should be aware that tweets like the above without proper qualification that 'for what it's worth, my own choice would be to abort' is absolutely essential for it not to come off as some sort moral decree from on high. This isn't Dawkins' fault, it's just a sad reality.

It is also true that the majority of people do, indeed, abort early to avoid having a child with Down's Syndrome. In fact, my wife and I were pressured quite a bit to get amniocentesis. The doctor informed us it would be so we could screen against Down's. However, we both had previously decided we would not abort to prevent against Down's. We did not see this as immoral like Dawkins does.
I personally would go further and say that, if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare. 
I think this contains the very false assumption that children with Down's Syndrome automatically reduce the sum of happiness. Who's happiness? What sort of happiness?

Although more challenging -- and perhaps fraught with some more suffering -- parents of Downs syndrome children do find themselves happy. In the end, all of parenting contains sacrifice and suffering! I've read several articles by parents of Down children who simply do not understand what Dawkins is talking about and are not the slightest bit impressed with his judgement that their children do not contribute to human happiness. What is Dawkins saying here?

The children themselves are often happy as well. They are kids, after all. They are not in constant pain. As far as I can tell, they are not suffering.
In any case, you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child. Your child would probably have a short life expectancy but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. 
Yes. I think these are all important things to consider for couples. I agree that it is wrong to force this upon anyone and to do so would likely breed terrible resentment and frustration that would be counterproductive to both parent and child. I've seen this before with some parents of autistic children who have left some horrible comments on my blog about how they cannot stand their children. These are people who -- if the technology existed -- probably should have opted to abort early to reduce suffering.

That said, we know what Dawkins would do -- and I'm fine with that. And we know what other parents would do -- also fine. The problem was with Dawkins' delivery and his automatic assumption that Down Syndrome is a net negative -- a non-contribution to society. It sort of implies he means a drag on society. I'll go no further. I don't want to drag this downhill, but you can probably tell where this path can lead in the minds of some of his readers.
I don't know what he bases this on. Is it his own personal experience or something more? It is this absolute judgement which disturbs me the most. He is here comparing one broad spectrum of functionality with another and calling one a enhancement and another a negative. 

It's undeniable that there are autistic people with a complex of delays and disabilities which can place them far below the functionality of many Down's people -- as far as society judges them and as far as their abilities to be self-sufficient and autonomous. I've also read articles about the great ability to carry on friendships and to express love possessed by many children with Downs Syndrome which could be judged by broader society as excelling the social skills of some autistic people. This is not black and white, and I think this tweet sums up Dawkins' seeming inabilities to see the greys and at least acknowledge them.

And yes, I have concerns about how my son will get on in the world and so does another father of an autistic child I've spoken with. There's just one thing. This is thinking very very far into a future we know nothing about. The quality of care depends very much on the society we will live in and our own circumstances.  The future is unknown. Anything can happen.

I have no ill-will towards Dawkins. I think he's done a lot of excellent work and it was his book The God Delusion that finally gave me the resolve to call myself an atheist. Like me, he is a human being with ideas and feelings and a father. On this topic, we do not see eye-to-eye and that's okay -- he doesn't speak for all atheists all the time.

Monday, 26 May 2014

A Young Autistic's Journey out of Institutionalized Education and Socialization toward Clarity

(source)
This is a guest post by author Michael Scott Monje, Jr. who blogs over at Shaping Clay. Michael is running an Indiegogo campaign to write about their own experience being an Autistic atheist through the imagery of an upcoming fictional web serial. 

Their story is a fascinating one and I've asked them to share a little of it here and tell us about their upcoming project, Imaginary Friends, and how we can directly help give time to work on it.



I have been an atheist for much, much longer than I have known myself to be autistic. In some ways, it feels like a stronger, better-mapped part of my identity. In other ways, though, it hardly feels like a part of myself any more. From the time that I first read the Gospel of John on my way through the New Testament, I have known, deep in the part of myself that speaks moral truths in a physical language, that the stories are stories, and not histories. Years before I had a way to explain how I knew this, I felt it as I read my way through fantastic story after fantastic story about miraculous events and world-shaking prophecies.

My lack of belief did not prevent me from cheerfully participating in the Catholic church at first. As a child, it seemed natural to me that I would know something is make-believe and still act as if I was dedicated to the belief that it was otherwise. It felt like a healthy suspension of something that I was asked to wear like a cloak over my natural attitude all week, and I imagined that this playing time (mixed with the discussions about morality that ran through each week's sessions) was a healthy and natural thing that everyone did to stay relaxed.

It wasn't until middle school, or rather, until the Sunday night youth groups for teenagers, that I realized how different my theory of religious participation was from everyone else's. It was a rough and rude awakening—I had taken it so for granted that everyone else understood our religious practice the same way I did, and as I realized through the social events and the classes that they did not, I became very disillusioned with the character of my community. It ceased to be a comfortable place for me, and instead it became a place where people I did not understand reassured one another that things that could not possibly be true were, in fact, true. When you add to that the kind of rude and confrontational social atmosphere that is almost like air to adolescents as they first start to negotiate adult socialization, the youth group was a terrifying place for a young Autistic to find themself in.

Years later, after my diagnosis, I started to reflect on the social structures within the church and on the way that they shaped my level of comfort with the practice of the faith. It's not that I think being Autistic necessarily made me more or less likely to be an atheist. On the contrary, I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with it, since I know many, many Autistic people who practice a faith tradition. I do think, though, that the combination of my communication difficulties and my divergent social development produced situations where I was not participating in the same conversations that other people thought I was participating in, and the resolution of these miscommunications—both negatively and positively—definitely had an effect on my ability to participate in these communities.

I also think that my divergent intellectual development, along with my fascination with belief and myth as structures, strongly influenced my orientation toward my faith community. Given some slight differences in the level of guidance and the exact order of my literary development, I might easily have turned into a practitioner of the “of course it's not literal, it's a moral metaphor” kind of faith tradition that many of my friends practice. That did not happen, though, and partially, I do think it was early exposure to a wide and diverse range of myths and traditions that primed me to see a recursive pattern of fulfilling cultural needs where other people saw a truth that they could live by.

In my new web serial, Imaginary Friends, I will be telling a story that is very close to my own developmental pattern. The goal of the project is to use fiction to do what I have always understood it is supposed to be used to do: To create an imaginary allegory for a specific cultural understanding or event. In this case, Clay Dillon, an Autistic boy around the age of 8 or 9, is thrust into a nexus of early literacy, religious instruction, and institutionalized education and socialization (American public schooling), and the narrative focuses on how the intersection of these factors, along with many others (including class, ethnicity, and family structure) shape his emerging sense of himself and his relationship to his community.

The first chapter of this story will go live on June 6, and it will run for roughly 50 chapters. I have an Indiegogo page up (see below), and I'm offering perks that include my other books and some authorial services. If we make the funding goal, I will be able to run 2-3 chapters per week. If we fall short, the project will still go forward and the perks that are purchased will still be honored, but I will only be able to afford to run 1 chapter per week.

You can check out my campaign here. You can also find my blog, Shaping Clay, here.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Toni Braxton: My Son's Autism Is God's Payback For My Previous Abortion

Toni Braxton in Romania, 2012 (source)

Ever since it was posted on this blog's Facebook Page today, I've been dying to comment on this outrageous story.

Toni Braxton laments son’s autism as ‘God’s payback’ for abortion

It's all in her upcoming memoir, Unbreak My Heart.

Back in 2001, Braxton got pregnant but was taking Accutane for her acne, which has been known to cause birth defects. She also decided it wasn't the right time to have a baby. Hence, she had an abortion. I don't see a problem with this, but Braxton was raised in an uber cult-like Christian family and so apparently still feels immense guilt for this.
Braxton notes in her book that she grew up in a very strict household where she was forced to fast for two weeks during Lent, could not wear pants, and often had to neglect her homework in order to memorize Scripture. At the church where she and her family attended, students were forced to memorize at least 25 Scriptures per week.
What paints her God as a horrendous monster is that she honestly wonders whether her parents' divorce was caused by her abortion. Presumably God inflicted great pain and suffering onto her parents because of something she did.
She also believed that God may be punishing her with a diagnosis of lupus and her parents' divorce.
Because he wasn't done yet, apparently this God also decided that her son be autistic. Oh no, sorry, he let him have autism.
‘I have sometimes wondered whether God was punishing me for the abortion I had years ago by allowing my son to have autism. Or by giving me so many health issues’, she writes.
I honestly wonder what this says about her thoughts of autistic people as well. I know autistic children and adults and this kind of talk - of an affliction - can be seen as rather offensive. My own son and wife are both autistic and I do not see them as punishments from some (non-existent) God.

On top of this, jerk-God decided to also give Braxton Lupus. What a dick. And just how many abortions has he let happen recently?

Among women who know they are pregnant, the miscarriage rate is roughly 15-20%. Miscarriage may occur for many reasons, not all of which can be identified. Some of these causes include genetic, uterine, or hormonal abnormalities, reproductive tract infections, and tissue rejection. Miscarriage caused by invasive prenatal diagnosis (chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis) is rare (about 1%).
Not to mention being strangled by their own umbilical cords!

Although she's been through a lot and it's not easy. I notice a common thread in all of these cases; they all point back to Toni Braxton and something she did. This can be either seen as rather self-centered of her or a symptom of way way too much guilt and ownership of a bad situation. This appears to be an unhealthy condition and the cause is a twisted up guilt-ridden religious view that attaches unproven consequences onto unrelated actions. Being ex-Catholic, I think I might get some of it.

I hope Braxton can try to get over this and realize it is not anything she did, but that will require getting over the sort of abuse it looks like she had to endure. I think she owes it to her kids to try.

Oh, and it is infact, even worse than it sounds. In her upcoming memoir, Braxton also mentions that her second son's Autism symptoms just so happened to coincide with the MMR vaccine. If you're going to go off the superstitious conspiracy theory deep end, you may as well go for broke.
"Maybe it's just a coincidence that after my son's first MMR vaccine, I began to notice changes in him," Braxton noted in the book.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Discrimination Against B.C. Autistic Teen

Melanie Bowen (right) and her 15 year old daughter Brooklyn (left) (source)
Being the father of an autistic child, I am likely a little more sensitive to stories like this than average folk. I've posted about mothers who kill their autistic children in the past - and I'm sorry to say it happened again recently in British Columbia. I may write about that story later, but for now I'll concentrate on a case of discrimination against an autistic girl also in British Columbia.

B.C. girl with autism, epilepsy denied student exchange trip to PEI

In a nutshell, she applied for and got accepted into a student exchange program with her school, raised the funds required to go to Prince Edward Island, hosted the PEI students and was all set to go. She did all that was required and even raised the money (!) but apparently that's not good enough. Apparently, someone decided that there is nothing Brooklyn can do to deserve fair treatment.
Melanie Bowen, Brooklyn’s mom, says she signed waivers about her daughter’s mild disabilities back in November and was accepted to go on a trip on May 13.

However, while hosting students from PEI last month, she had a complex partial seizure, which means she gets flushed and appears to be daydreaming. She was walked to the sick room where she rested before heading home with her mom.

Days later her entire trip was cancelled by Bluefield High School on PEI.

“We feel that Brooklyn was not currently able to meet the mandate of the exchange with regards to social interaction with her twin and PEI peers,” a letter from the school stated.
Apparently because of the uber mild seizure (or perhaps any old excuse at all), the host school in PEI decided to cancel her trip for her because they felt 'that Brooklyn was not currently able to meet the mandate of the exchange with regards to social interaction with her twin and PEI peers.' What does this even mean?

You know, I knew someone who was diabetic who once had a reaction to her insulin during art class. She seemed pretty flushed and informed someone his hair was fire and that there was a fish floating in mid-air. Nobody cancelled any of her school-related trips.

And the exchange program, SEVEC, claims to accept those with disabilities. Well, it took awhile for them to even entertain the idea of hosting Brooklyn.
After dozens of emails and phone calls, Bowen claims the school says the only way Brooklyn can participate is if she stays in a hotel room alone along with a teacher next door.
Apparently, the school thinks that this girl is scary, dangerous or infectious, or something. The whole point of the trip is a cultural exchange with youth of her age and their families in a province thousands of miles away and the school suggests house arrest and isolation. 

Thankfully Brooklyn didn't back down. She's strong. She bravely started a Facebook page, Fight Discrimination With Brooklyn, which has received more than 1,200 likes. This triggered an outpouring for support from Prince Edward Islanders - some have offered to host her at their own homes.
“My son graduated from Bluefield High School in PEI. He has autism – albeit mild and high function. He went on two Europe trips with students from Bluefield while there. I may be missing something, but my experience was inclusiveness at Bluefield… we live close to Bluefield and would be more than willing to accept her as a billet,” said Neila Auld.
Still no comment from the school, though. I imagine they must be a little concerned now about all this negative exposure.

The exchange organization, SEVEC, hasn't offered any solutions either. They could work to solve the problem. Nothing so far.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Response to A Reader About Parents Who Kill Their Autistic Children

(source)
A long time ago, in September, I wrote about the latest in what seemed to be a rash of mothers killing their autistic kids. I started out by mentioning some of the prior cases and then weighed in rather harshly against mother Marilyn Edge who murdered her son and killed herself.
In this latest case, the mother, Marilyn Edge, believed that vaccines caused her son Jaelen's autism and tried to sue to government.  She lost because her case was based on woo. She then decided to kill her kids and herself, because - you know- that's what's best for everyone.
As I mentioned in my latest post about mothers who kill their kids because they think that's what's best for them, it really strikes me more as them not being able to cope and believing that nobody else should get the chance to try to help their kids. So they take their own lives and the lives of their children on the hypothetical assumption that their kids can never be happy at all, ever in this world.

I'd feel sorry about them if they killed themselves and stopped there. But murdering your kids crosses the line. What bothered me then and bothers me now, is all those who make excuses for the murderous parents - taking care of autistic children is too hard.

Well, I got this comment from Bob on the September post. My commenting system wasn't working and it never came through. So here it is.
You sound smug; I can't help but wonder if you'd still be such a "happy father" if you were beaten and abused every day and knocked unconscious and ultimately hospitalized. All without a whole heck of a lot of support from your spouse.
Of course I wouldn't be a happy father if I were hospitalized by my kid and had a crappy spouse. I think that's a pretty easy question.

Would this give me an excuse to murder my kid? Of course not.

Is this your situation? If so, I feel sorry for you. If I were in your shoes I would be very unhappy. I would try to get help with my own non-violent communication skills and work out ways to attempt to diffuse the situation. I would also try to get help for my (obviously quite grown up) child to see if their anger could be properly regulated and other modes of expression could be worked in.

The closest we came to this was when our child was pre-verbal and was unable to express his anger. This became so frustrating for him that he would kick and hit us. Luckily he was only a toddler and he began to speak a year or so ago and this has diffused the situation greatly. I realize this is not the case with many autistic children and some adults.

If all else fails, I would attempt to get the child put into a home or even try to give him up to the state. Perhaps even child protective services. Also, to me this case you bring up seems to be in a different category than these other cases, where the child was smaller and the mother didn't seem to be doing it in self-defence but rather as a kind of mercy killing (because apparently being autistic could be worse than death).

But in the end, this is your child. You don't kill them and then excuse yourself because they are autistic. These are human beings and they deserve to live.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Mother Kills Her Autistic Son... Again...

So, after this and this, it's gone and happened ... again. Yet another mother has killed her kid and herself, presumably because death is preferable than her having to care for an autistic child.  Or perhaps it's preferable, in today's society, to be a dead autistic child than a living one?

LINK: Mother-son deaths at west-side apartment ruled murder, suicide

Image from a 1960s experiment where they tried to violently yell and slap the autism out of children. (source)
In any event, all it took was a single small indication in the story that the child was autistic and people leaped to the defense of mother April Veraghen, who apparently was of the mind that if she wasn't up to task for parenting the child then nobody else bloody was going to get a chance.

you know what though you didn't her and what she was going through and yes it was wrong for her to kill her son but in her eyes she know he would be better off dead then alive with his family because you don't know how his family could be towards him. and she was only doing what she thought would be better for him.
Posts like this make me wonder whether autistic people are seen as people. Who is this woman to determine by fiat that she can murder her son because, perhaps, she doesn't think he'll do well with family? I'm sorry, but killing your son because you think it would be better for him is just not acceptable. And is death preferable to being autistic?

Severe autism is a RELENTLESS disorder that never ever takes a break. It's easy for you to stand in judgement, consider yourself lucky that you have never been so beaten down by a disorder that has NO sympathy and NO consistent treatment. It is attitudes like yours that are part of the problem.

Look, I know it's not easy. But killing your kid is never an option, even if things are really hard. If you cannot take care of your child then you will need to give them up to relatives, hospice, the state.

More sympathy for mom. And I'm not sure how I would feel if I were her son and she showed up in Heaven. I'd likely ask her why she killed me. I wonder if religious belief factored into this at any point? Did she believe God would forgive her, "fix" her son and they would "live" happily ever after in the after?

All I know that this is very sad ... I don't know April or what silent suffering she was dealing with .... I'm not justifying what happened , but it sounds to me she needed help and never got it .... I will pray to God that he forgives April so her son will have his mom beside him in heaven .....
And then there is a plea to not condemn mom because there are family and friends trying to cope. I can sympathize with this to a degree, but what about friends and family trying to cope with the death of this child?

While we are all busy condemning this mother, we need to realize that the son was not the only one with issues. Her world, in her mind was spinning out of control. It's easy to mention all the alternatives, but did anyone offer them to her? Instead of name calling every one of us should reach out to someone else today and try to make a difference in just one other person's life - you just might be saving it. Let's also remember that there are family and friends trying to cope. If you now them, reach out.
I admire the sentiment and much of the message I agree with wholeheartedly. But this does not excuse the mother's conduct in any way.

Notice how they put themselves into the shoes of the mother and really identify with her. Her mind was spinning out of control. She was dealing with silent suffering. She was beaten down. She was only doing what she thought better for him.

What a martyr to have suffered and died caring for an autistic child. I'm happy that we had a couple of reasonable responses.

What about the child? What do you think he was feeling? Do you not think he knew something was strange that day when mamma told him to take all that medicine?

To everyone trying to give this "mother/monster," ANY sympathy, be ashamed. There is no justification for this crime! I am starting to lose track of the number of murders of disabled people by their caregivers, this is Not a failure of the system, or a lack of resources! This woman is a child murderer, unworthy any sympathy or compassion.

THANK YOU. As a father of an autistic child and a husband of an autistic woman, I'm happy someone else sees the victims as people who deserve to live and who's lives have just as much value as neurotypical people.

Commenter Michelle Skigen wins the prize for quoting a response from an autistic person to this inexcusable inexcusable defense of murder.

There was a post, by an amazing lady, in another thread about this, and I HAD to share her thoughts, because they are totally spot-on to the situation --- Emily writes: See, here's the thing. A lot of us are autistic. We've grown up watching parents and caregivers who murder their autistic and/or otherwise disabled children, adult children, or people they care for kill us *and get away with a slap on the wrist if anything* and listening to people attempt to justify or explain away or sympathize with these murderers. There, I said it. MURDERERS.
It keeps going. I really suggest you visit the page and read the whole thing to get a better understanding that killing off an autistic person is murder -- no matter how hard it is for you personally to deal with them.

Monday, 6 January 2014

5 Ways Parents Abuse Their Autistic Children

Okay, first-off, I need to get one thing off my chest here.

As a blogger, I really cannot stand the formulaic list post that tell you N Ways or N Most or N Best, etc. It brings back horrible memories of those terrible countdown television programmes back when I used to watch it outside the safe confines of Netflix or Crackle.

Okay, so here's an article in Forbes that my wife pointed out to me. Given my utter revulsion at the alternative Autism treatment racket, I cannot help but pass it on. Read the woo and feel sorry for the children.

The 5 Scariest Autism 'Treatments'

This is a really good article that sums these dangerous and abusive treatments up really well. Author, Emily Willingham also provides links to her own scientific demonstrations of just how harmful or insane they are.

I'd quote more from the post but it seems like I'm unable to actually select any text on the page. No matter, I actually manually transcribed this part since so few horrendous treatments still rise up to be surprising to me and this one was one nasty surprise.
2. Chemical castration. Burning off the lining of an autistic child's intestines might seem pretty horrific, but it can pale in comparison to the tragedy that is chemical castration to "treat" autism. I have previously broken down the background of this concept, introduced to the world of autism treatment by the now notorious father-son team of the Geiers. These two, in a 20-year-long run of damage, might now be reaching the end of their particular race. The father has had his medical license stripped in several states. That didn't stop the Geiers père et fils from recently filing a patent for the chemical castration protocol.
How utterly nonsensical and ghastly. Have we fallen back into some kind of eugenic nightmare?

And it hits me at a personal level. Both my son and wife are autistic.

Anyway, go check it out and prepare yourself for the next time you run into someone who's convinced feeding bleach to children or injecting their own feces into their kid's butt is a good idea.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Disgusting Autism Research From The 1960s

(source)
You may already know that I am the happy father of a four year old autistic boy- who is simply amazing!

Granted, I started out really scared and a little sad when we first got the diagnosis. Then I would find myself getting down about some of his behaviours at first as well -- like at the poo poo park.

But in the past six months or so, he's changed and I've changed. He's talking now and tells me he's my best friend and that I'm his best friend. He's right! I will cherish this for as long as I can, because I don't know where we'll be at when he's in his teens.

I've come to totally accept him and his stimming. My concern about it was my problem and not his in any way. It's who he is and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now a couple of days ago, my wife sent me this photo essay about a study done in 1964 where researchers physically and verbally abused little kids. Because they're mentally crippled. How did these people sleep at night?

Screams, Slaps & LoveA surprising, shocking treatment helps far-gone mental cripples

Okay, where the hell do I start with this? It's thoroughly disturbing and depressing - not at all because the children are autistic but because of the horrendous treatment of the children!

By helping they mean yelling and beating them until they must do something - anything - to defend themselves. Children who cannot defend themselves.
They have taken on three boys and a girl with a special form of schizophrenia called autism — utterly withdrawn children whose minds are sealed against all human contact and whose uncontrolled madness had turned their homes into hells (p. 96). And, by alternating methods of shocking roughness with persistent and loving attention, the researchers have broken through the first barriers. 
Roughness and persistent and loving attention -- like cycles of abuse.

Researcher slapping this kid in the face. (source)
The process involved yelling, slapping and electrocution to get them to stop their stimming habits -- for the sake of their parents and everyone around them.
At one point Pamela had been making progress, learning to read a little, speak a few words sensibly. But then she came to a blank wall, drifting off during lessons into her wild expressions and gesticulations. Scoldings and stern shakings did nothing. Like many autistic children, Pamela simply did not have enough anxiety to be frightened.
What the hell? They apparently need to be scared out of their minds to learn. So after being shaken and scolded, they decide to electrocute her.
To give her something to be anxious about, she was taken to the shock room, where the floor is laced with metallic strips. Two electrodes were put on her bare back, and her shoes removed.
After being scolded, shaken and electrocuted, she attempts to hug the researcher with instinctive cunning. Perhaps get a little mercy out of him. The researcher denies her and insists she continue with her lessons. I wonder if he ever considered why she didn't want to do the lessons, that she would be punished if she failed or perhaps she may not believe she is capable.

Then, just like an abusive parent, the researchers would come in and offer affection and cuddling as if there was nothing wrong with the previous abuse.
Even more than punishment, patience and tenderness are lavished on the children by the staff. Every hour of lesson time has a 10-minute break for affectionate play. The key to the program is a painstaking system of rewarding the children —first with food and later with approval — whenever they do something correctly. These four were picked because they are avid eaters to whom food is very important. In the first months they got no regular meals. Spoonfuls of food were doled out only for right answers.
Go read it. You need to read it to believe it.

Original caption: 'Like a fragile Buddha, Chuck sits endlessly contemplating nothing while mutely rocking
back and forth.'
Or he could be stimming to try to deal with the fact he's being tortured. (source)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mother Who Tries To Kill Her Daughter Starts Fundraiser For Legal Defence Fund

Quinn, a ~18 month old autistic boy, obsessively
stacking cans. (source)
So a couple of days ago I posted my perspective, as the father of an autistic child, about mothers who try to kill their autistic children and get sympathy from people.

It seems as if the most heinous and unforgivable crime towards neurotypical children becomes an object of sympathy and pity for the mother if the child is autistic.

Well now blogger Kelli Stapleton, who tried to kill herself and her autistic daughter by asphyxiation in her van, has set up a fundraiser online to collect money for her legal defence fund.

Kelli Stapleton supporters help legal defense in alleged poisoning of autistic daughter, herself

The Friends of Kelli Stapleton need $25,000. They've made $2,600 so far. It seems that people are not lining up with their credit cards.
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. 
I wonder why she's being held without bond? It could be because this tragic incident with her autistic daughter was actually her trying to kill her own child. I'm pretty sure is a no-no no matter how fed up you are with her behaviour.  We're not living in Biblical times anymore here.

I'll admit that I'm Canadian and so do not understand how lawyer fees work in America (or here really). But doesn't one get a lawyer with or without $25,000?

Anyway, the updates page on the fundraiser has this to say about the role autism had.
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. 
The fact is, Kelli could not care for her daughter and her attempt to kill her is a clear sign that her daughter would be safer outside her house in alternate care.

I agree, Kelli needs to be psychologically assessed and provided treatment - as with any other mother who tries to murder her daughter, autistic or not. Then, like any other mother in this situation, regardless of the behaviour of her 14 year old daughter, Kelli needs to go before a judge and answer for her behaviour. Perhaps she can plead insanity or temporary insanity.  Again, autism is not the problem here.

If your child hits and abuses you and you cannot cope with this, you need to seek help or even give the child you. Killing the child is never an option.

Comments to the story are encouraging.


Yes, Paula, I agree completely.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Another mother tries to kill her autistic children, and succeeds.

Autism-stacking-cans 2nd edit" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/Autism-stacking-cans_2nd_edit.jpg
Subject: Quinn, an ~18 month old autistic child, 
obsessively stacking cans (source).
Some of you may know that I am the happy father of a wonderful autistic four year old. So occasionally, I read a story about Autism that probably has very little to do with atheism that still ticks me off just enough to write about it here.

So first we have Satpal Kaur-Singh who made her autistic son drink bleach and die in the UK back in 2010. She gave him a lethal drink and then she tried to kill herself. All of this was because social workers advised her they would be taking her son away as they didn't see her as in a fit enough state to care for him.

Chicago area Dorothy Spourdalakis and Jolanta Agata Skrodzka were involved in the killing of Dorothy's 14-year old autistic son, Alex. They apparently grew frustrated with the lack of resources available to help care for the boy. Department of Children and Family Services offered her help, but apparently she declined.

The fraudster doctor Andrew Wakefield even made Youtube video to appeal for aid for the child.  Alex had severe gastrointestinal problems that would send him into violent rages.

There has been some speculation that MMS (bleach drinking), an alternative and unproven woo-based autism cure, might have contributed to this problem - but this is just speculation and rumour. I wouldn't be surprised though if she were in cahoots with the anti-vaccination and alternative treatment crowd.

Now just this month, Kelli Stapleton, a blogger who wrote the depressing sounding Status Woe, decided to end her life and the life of her autistic daughter, Issy. She sat herself and her daughter in her mini van and burned coals inside with the windows rolled up.

They both ended up in the hospital in bad shape after the father found them. He had received a messed up call from her.

It seems as if Kelli's concern was they would not have enough money to continue therapy for her daughter (private insurance). So rather than deal with her own disappointment that her daughter may have to take a break from therapy - instead of just loving her and treating her the best she could on her own! - she tried to kill her. Thanks, mom.

And now it's happened again.

Mother 'killed autistic son, 13, and daughter, 10, and left them in a hotel before trying to kill herself by crashing propane-filled car'

Okay, there is a real problem here. What's with the sudden rash of mothers killing their autistic children?

In this latest case, the mother, Marilyn Edge, believed that vaccines caused her son Jaelen's autism and tried to sue to government.  She lost because her case was based on woo. She then decided to kill her kids and herself, because - you know- that's what's best for everyone.

This is of course insane. But what get's me is the comments on the news coverage of this event. At the blog Justice For All, blogger Alyssa points to several news releases. All but one do not mention that the son is autistic.

Anyone who peruses the comments will notice a marked difference here. On the articles that do not mention Jaelen's autism all the comments condemned the mother with no excuses. They were actually rather ruthless with the mother and the more compassionate ones simply could not fathom why she would kill her own children. However, on the article that mentioned her son's autism, many people started making excuses for the mothers actions. Who could blame her, right? Her son was autistic - there's an excuse for filicide. They wouldn't condone such a thing but...
Autism can be deadly and often is. Autism is not the need for awareness. a picnic in the park, an illness we must accept. I am dead right when I tell you that autism is the worst man made disease in the history of medicine. Maurine Meleck SC grandmother to 1 in 31(vaccine injured)
Yes, deadly when mom decides to kill you. What does this have to do with autism awareness, exactly? How about don't kill your kids awareness.  Or blame vaccines - a scientifically unproven link. Yes, they are the guilty ones here.
Unless you walk in the shoes of a parent with a child with Autism, you will never know the desperation and depression these parents feel. She clearly tried to take her own life and took her kids' lives because she reached a dead end. Tragic!
You do not kill your kids when you reach a dead end. This is not an excuse but it seems to be echoed on the article where it is stated the son has autism.
Terrible story. Autism is so taxing on married couples, it must be awful when you are single and financially hurting. What lengths people will go to is astounding.
Poor mom. No, wait, poor kids! What are you talking about?!?
Where was the father to help her out. Especially with a disabled child...... Oh wait ....
Who cares where dad was. She killed her kids. But she had to take care of an autistic child, so I guess that explains that.
Autism is caused by Aspartame.
Why is it all of a sudden about Autism when it's mentioned but none of this nonsense came up in the other articles? Really?
Maybe she lacked the resources to help her children - care can cost in the hundreds of thousand even millions for an autistic child over their lifetime. I'm not condoning what she did but simply trying tonunderstand what lead to her desperate actions. I'm sure that they will paint it as her ridding herself of the burden of these kids which may or not be true. My heart goes out to the kids.
And...
As the sister of a person with severe mental disability, I know it is all too common for caretakers of the handicapped, and particularly severely autistic children, to "snap" like this. Being a parent to someone who is severely autistic can be a miserable, thankless job...these kids are iincapable of any interaction -no smiles, no words, no sign of any affection or even recognition. This is in NO WAY an excuse, I don't condone her actions, but I do wish there was support available to parents of these children who feel and essentially are trapped for life. All adoption and foster care officials will tell you that there are no homes waiting for these children, and if entered in the system they will likely end up in truly miserable conditions. Knowing this problem exists, I wish there were better options available, ways to relieve some of the daily, never-ending pressures of being the caregiver to someone so demanding and helpless. It's a terrible tragedy that occurs too often.
Yes, I realize that this is no walk in the park. Autistic children often have special needs that can be a challenge to find resources to meet. But for whom is this a thankless job, exactly? Who lost their cope? Was she doing the kids any favours by killing them or just for herself? Although these children are incapable of interaction and smiles and words, does this give us the excuse to kill them - apparently because it disappoints and upsets us?

Thankfully, there were many good comments from autistic adults who weren't going to take this insanity.
I am an Autistic adult and none of you realize every time someone say "walk in the mother's shoes" or "lack of services caused this" you are verbally stabbing one of us in the heart! Stop, just stop!!!!!
Editor's Update 2013-09-19 7:44am ET: I believe I just caught and replaced all phrases "children with autism" and replaced them with "autistic children". The difference can be subtle to many and I leave it as an exercise to my readers to consider this. Thanks so much to my wife, Kelly, for pointing this out!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Jenny McCarthy Is Working For Big Tobacco Now

Jenny McCarthy blowing smoke from an e-cigarette that
contains tobacco and anti-freeze.
My four year old son has high functioning autism. So I've heard both sides of the whole Jenny McCarthy MMR vaccines-cause-autism fiasco.

We got our son vaccinated because there is no credible scientific proof that vaccines do cause autism. In fact, the original study that prompted all this was retracted three years ago.

We wanted our child to be vaccinated against diseases that could seriously harm him or even kill him.

Well, now Jenny McCarthy is saying: tobacco good and vaccine bad. Have we just landed back into the 1950s?

Sullivan (Matt Carey) over at Left Brain Right Brain has this excellent commentary:

Jenny McCarthy, shilling for big tobacco

In addition to pure nicotine, the e-cigs contain propylene glycol, which is what Jenny and her anti-vaxer ilk claim to be a cause for concern in vaccines. I understand that newborns aren't going to be smoking e-cigs but it's more than a little ironic. And then there's second hand smoke.
“Propylene Glycol“. That’s a form of antifreeze. A form that has been approved by the FDA for some food uses. Ms. McCarthy and her team falsely claimed that vaccines contain “antifreeze”. It’s scary in vaccines but OK in an e-cigarette. Is propylene glycol scary? No. But there is heavy irony in her promoting a product using an antifreeze after using this term (falsely) as a scare tactic about vaccines.
Go read it and prepare to be infuriated.

Editor's Note 2013-08-12: Here's another excellent article at the Globe and Mail: Why there’s nothing sexy about Jenny McCarthy’s e-cigarette commercial


Editor's Note 2013-08-12: I realized that I added "second hand smoke" which may actually not be nearly as bad as regular cigarettes. The science still hasn't been done on this yet so nobody really knows.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Plea To Autism Theorists: Test Your Theories! But Should It Be Them Doing The Testing?

Bottle of Household Bleaching Solution.
Some of you may remember reading my posts about the epidemic of outright quackery in the autism community. Eventually, I just got fed up with the extreme level of woo when it comes to untested treatments of autism out there: In Need of Woo-Less Help For Parents of Autistic Children.

Here is my rant.
Then there is the insane den of woo that is Autism One.  It decks itself out as being a legitimate scientific convention and forum for parents to have access to the latest in therapies.  But it turns out to be a forum for self-serving entrepreneurs to peddle unscientific, abusive and dangerous so-called treatments for Autism. Downright dangerous woo. 
But what's my point here?  My point is, it would be nice to have an organization out there to help support parents of children with Autism who are skeptical and rational.  Those of us who are not prone to jump onto the woo and religious bandwagons and for whom these crutches that people often reach for in times of utter desperation are no better than smoke and mirrors. 
Fellow skeptics, humanists and atheists, lend me your ear.  Does such a group exist?
Well, there is a similar sentiment in a recent article by Andrew Whitehouse, professor Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia.

Dear autism theorists, please stump up or shut up

For anyone else out there who doesn't know, stump up means to unwillingly pay for something. Essentially, it means pay your dues.

Like what I've been saying, much of the woo seems to be sincerely believed by its providers. There is an extreme desperation by loving parents and sympathetic people to find proper treatments for autistic children. Often, the mainstream medical community - the faces of which are doctors who are often improperly educated concerning autism - have unwittingly stood in their way.

My wife had to fight for two years with health professional after health professional until she was able to find a trained psychologist who could even diagnose our son's condition. And then there are the endless lines for government provided therapies that force us to seek out private providers.  It's no wonder parents of autistic children often give up hope in science based medicine as they watch their children's development flag and fall behind their peers, as they stand hopelessly while the window of optimal treatment opportunity closes before them with each passing day. It's not medical science itself, it's the implementation - the machine - that is at fault.

Whitehouse points out this problem. The problem of woo.
Taking autism as an example, there exists theories that vaccines, wi-fi, electronic media, and milk, cause the disorder. We also have people claiming that diet changes, bowel bleaching, and homeopathy can ‘cure’ the condition. 
All of these theories are scientifically unproven.
Like me, Whitehouse has serious problems watching families be worn down with untested treatment after treatment. Some waste thousands into unproven pseudo-science.
It is troubling to see families believe theory after theory, and try treatment after treatment, in the hope that these may help their child. It’s distressing to see hopes dashed time and again, but only after significant amounts of money has been expended. The needless drain on the energy, time and emotional capital of families breaks just about every code that we, as health practitioners and researchers, stand for when we seek to help those in need.
Whitehouse then offers a challenge - test your scientific theories.
But what people must do is test their theories. It is no longer acceptable to begin and end with the proposal of a theory. If you have a theory, then scientifically test it.
I agree completely with the sentiment! Believe me, these theories need to be either scientifically demonstrated or clearly shown to have no benefit whatsoever. And our family has even taken up this approach by limiting our intake of gluten - both parents and child.

But I understand that my little experiment is not a scientific study.
Here’s my challenge to those who have a theory: scientifically test your theories, or stop promoting them.
Again, I agree with the principle. But I would be very careful to qualify this appropriately. I would wager that the majority of people promoting alternative autism treatments actually do believe they are being scientific! Like the person who believes in scientific evidence of his daily God-affirming experiences, many of these people are also likely to be feeding off their own subjective confirmation biases and do not possess a firm enough grasp on the nuts and bolts of proper scientific method to truly do meaningful scientific research.

Remember, not eating wheat is one thing - that kind of scientific (or rather anecdotal) experimentation is rather harmless. It's when the stakes are even more high - when the experiment could be seen as abusive to any ethics committee, that we run into a serious problem.

Like when parents poison their children with bleach, or when they inject their children's anuses with their own fecal matter, or when they stop vaccinating them and compromise heard immunity.

Scientists should be doing the real science. But I'm also all for parents experimenting with alternate remedies. My only concern is with the stakes so high, with emotions of desperation so strong, who will serve as their objective ethics committee?  Who will be there to make sure they don't go too far?


Children standing in front of Kasese Humanist Primary School.
I've started a fundraiser to help build classrooms on newly purchased land for the Kasese Humanist Primary School.

Please consider donating!

Build a Humanist School in Uganda!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Turkish Sociologist Who Declared Link Between Atheism And Autism Apologizes (Sort of)

So around a week ago, I posted about Turkish sociologist Fehmi Kaya, head of the Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children who made the crackpot declaration that all autistic children are atheists and that atheism is actually a form of autism. Ironically, I was too busy today bringing my atheist son (un-indoctrinated) to an interview at a special school for autistic children to comment on the latest developments in this sad story, but here it is now.

Turkish Sociologist Fehmi Kaya Apologises For Suggesting Link Between Atheism And Autism

Right, so I think The Huffington Post left out the word NON from the front of Apologises in their headline, because if any apology exists there than it must be an absolutely perfect specimen of the genus non-apologetica. I'm sure the apology botanist readers will agree with me once forage through the article and present to you what's not merely rehash of previous reports.

Wikepedia has this to say about non-apologies:
A non-apology apology is a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition. It is common in both politics and public relations. It most commonly entails the speaker saying that he or she is sorry not for a behavior, statement or misdeed, but rather is sorry only because a person who has been aggrieved is requesting the apology, expressing a grievance, or is threatening some form of retribution or retaliation. 
An example of a non-apology apology would be saying "I'm sorry that you feel that way" to someone who has been offended by a statement. This apology does not admit that there was anything wrong with the remarks made, and additionally, it may be taken as insinuating that the person taking offense was excessively thin-skinned or irrational in taking offense at the remarks in the first place.
Now, observe exhibit #1:
The comments have caused a media storm in the country, with Turkish autism charities condemning the statement.
“This is a statement that could upset around 3.5 to 4 million people." 
Adem Kuyumcu, A Life Without Disabilities Association chairperson, told bianet: "We can't sue the association chair for his remarks, but we fear that the unscientific therapy practice could spread across the country," he said.
This demonstrates that his remarks are unfortunate in that they caused a veritable shit-storm of controversy across the country and drew some very negative international attention towards Turkey as well. This media shit-storm is key characteristic #1 in the formation of any good non-apology.

Observe exhibit #2:
Kaya, whose organisation is based in the southern Turkish city of Adana, said in a statement, intended for broadcast on Turkish television, that his remarks had been taken out of context, but apologised to families he had offended.
Notice how he isn't admitting he was wrong in any way or that he was doing anything wrong or misguided. He is only apologizes to families he had offended. This is classic non-apology makeup. I'm sorry what I said offended anyone. Now perhaps his words were taken out of context and we was misrepresented. But I see no alteration in his original course. The Huffington Post re-iterates his plans to  treat autism with a little good-ol' churchin'.
He explained plans for his organisation to hold sessions to help autistic children embrace religion, set to begin in June, according to Hürriyet.
The articles gives a couple of good follow-up comments from president of Atheist UK psychologist Mark Embleton and Carlos Diaz, president of the Atheist Alliance International. It ends to a link to a 2011 University of Boston study suggesting a higher propensity towards atheism amongst high functioning autistics. This is an intriguing study, but I have yet to hear of any other collaborating studies.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Turkish Sociologist: All Autistic Children Are Atheists And Atheism Is A Form Of Autism

Fehmi Kaya
Okay, so everyone knows I'm an atheist.  The blog title gives that one away. But some of you may not know I have a son with autism. So, this next story fires so many triggers on an emotional level with me that I'm really not sure where to begin.

All autistic children are atheists and atheism is a form of autism, says association head

This gem comes from the Hürriyet Daily News in Turkey.

It seems that sociologist Fehmi Kaya, who's the head of the Adana’s Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children is convinced that autistic children are “atheists due to a lack of a section for faith in their brains.”  He went even further and diagnosed atheism as a form of autism.

This, naturally, caused a great deal of outrage among autism associations around Turkey. Now, I find it outrageous because there appears to be no credible scientific study to back it up.  And if it is true that people with autism are statistically more likely to be atheists, then what's the problem?  In this sense they likely see the world more clearly than many neurotypical people who's brains seem to fall prey to superstitious mumbo jumbo.

But I suspect many people in Turkey (and pretty much everywhere outside of Sweden) find it downright threatening.  Because being identified as an atheist there is unlikely to help anyone who already has the sufficiently burdensome challenges of being on the spectrum or caring for someone who is autistic.  It's more than likely going to compound any problems you would already have navigating the healthcare system trying to find plausible treatments.
“The message I wished to give was not about autism and atheism, but to highlight that these children cannot communicate, cannot form empathy, live in their own worlds and are isolated. I meant that we should take them out of their isolation with proper therapy methods,” he said.
So these autistic kids (aka atheists), cannot form empathy and live in their own worlds.  Apparently a belief in god - faith - is an essential component for this. Teach them to believe in god and their empathy points will go through the roof.  Sure, we've all seen that play out over and over again ever since the Old Testament genocides.

But if there is anything that makes us human is the humane in all of us. The ability of empathizing with others forms the very bedrock of many ethical theories out there.  It makes me wonder a little what Kaya thinks about atheists.

He goes on to say that faith is a normal development in neurotypical children, while children on the spectrum are not aware of why people believe and so, like people with a hearing disability. And apparently what we need is proper therapy methods.

Kaya's solution to this problem? Brainwash the children until they share the same delusions as normal children.
Kaya also said they would turn autistic children into believers through sessions that would be offered for free at therapy centers in the future.  
The sessions, which have been confirmed by the Culture Houses of Adana’s Yüreğir Municipality, are set to start in June and will be able to serve over 30 children. The same houses will also offer further therapy sessions for children with disabilities. 
The story ends with Kaya asserting “every child understands when you tell him or her to fear God, but an autistic child will not.” So, naturally, one must brainwash the child and force this fear into them.  Because everyone knows that anyone who doesn't believe in a god and fear him is abnormal.

This is nothing new of course.  I cannot count the number of times I've heard people say that the cure to all our woes is belief in Jesus Christ.  He's essentially suggesting putting autistic children into churches. Here it's likely to be a belief in the prophet Muhammed.
“Once he starts to develop normally, belief will come in time. "
So... angry... so... angry...

The autism community is known here in North America for being soaked with woo.  It can range from the mildly amusing - hyperbaric oxygen treatment - to the downright criminally harmful: anti-vaxers and people who force their kids to drink bleach or injecting their butts with fecal matter.  But, truly, this takes the cake.