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April 10, 2012

Florida Mom of Severely-Autistic Son with SIB in Crisis

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Just saw this Jacksonville, Florida news story (Jacksonville Mother Feels the Pain of Caring for 20-year old Autistic Son) and it is yet another severe autism reality that must be seen. The mom in this video is at her wit's end. Her son, Harley, is destroying the home. He's slapping himself in the face and head. He's still in diapers. He screams. He punches holes in the wall. Anti-psychotics aren't helping. And he's no small guy. At 6'2" and 252 lbs, he looks more like a running back than a young man with profound autism.

Like so many of us who have family members with severe autism, our lives are upside down. How we make it through some days is only by the grace of God. And by having tangible, effective supports. This mom needs help. Sadly, getting help for your severely-autistic family member is never easy. And I mean never. Matt Soergel, the writer of the newspaper story about this case reminds us, "Life with Harley means Sheffield has stepped on a nonstop treadmill of bureaucracy."

Why can't legislators make it easier? Something has to change.

Clearly, in cases like this an expedited process is in order. The mom also suffers from post-traumatic disorder. No surprise there. After all, when you live in a world where your autistic child has been banging, slamming and screaming for years, you tend to get a little jumpy. She says she needs a stiff drink, shoot I'd like to send her a case of Merlot. Apparently, an attorney is helping with the case. It's a travesty that families have to rely on attorneys for a situation that is an obvious on-going crisis.

Ven Sequenzia of Autism Society of Florida reminds us, "A lot of these kids don't end up getting anywhere near what they need...the only way the state responds is to litigation." The mom tried home care, but caregivers sent were "untrained and ill-equipped to take care of him." Not surprising either. It took me months to find nurses who could handle my autistic son. The state agency charged with helping me find caregivers never did. As the mom speaks you can see and hear the urgency and distress. Are we not a nation who prides itself on caring for our most vulnerable citizens? Every night I see commercials about abused animals. And shows telling us to support illegal immigrants and transgender rights. And how we must help poor people in other countries. How is it then that America's severely-autistic citizens in constant crisis remain so invisible?

No doubt, our priorities in this nation are out of order. If only the mainstream media were so obsessed with severe autism we may see some real progress in getting this population the help they so desperately need.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AMEN TO THAT>>>SO SICK OF LETS HELP THE CATS OR ETHOPIANS OR WHATEVER>>WAKE UP AMERICA >>THE BIGGEST NEED IS RIGHT HERE AUTISM UNDER YOUR NOSE BUT NOONE WANTS TO HELP

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