Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Autism and Suicide

Ok I am going to apologize for the doom and gloom of this post but I think it is important.  I think people often ignore this side of autism. We pay a lot of attention to the children at the low end of the spectrum the ones who we can see the disability, we can see that they have trouble talking, we can see that they struggle. By no means am I saying we should ignore or cast them aside. They need help but they get tend to get something more often that people on the opposite end do not get compassion.
On the whole opposite end we have our high functioning kids and adults, we may not be able to see it but they need our help, they need our compassion. A little bit of compassion goes a long way to tell someone you are important. On the high end we cannot always see where they struggle a lot of times it is socially.
I have been in multiple arguments with the school where they say social skills are not important. If you can pass a test you are fine. This is just the thinking that can make autism deadly. It is not the autism its self it is suicide. Suicide can happen to anyone anywhere on the spectrum. When you have a lack of or impairment of your social skills and people ignore you, avoid you, and bully you, the world becomes a very lonely place. That isolation can make people do drastic things. The rate of depression and anxiety is high. Some studies even suggest that the rate of suicide is higher than the general population. So when you add all the factors together absolutely autism can become deadly, but it does not have to be. Think about it next time someone does something that seems a little off. Maybe they have a unseen disability maybe they don't but hey they deserve a little respect. Every human being in this world is worth something and has something to offer lets start acting like it.

Just type autism and suicide in google there are over 244,000 hits. These are just some stories:
"Tyler Lee Long, diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder, a form of autism that causes social anxiety, was found dead in October, dangling from a belt in his closet. His parents, David and Tina Long, say the honor student was depressed about the abuse he had suffered at school. The teen complained of being mocked, pushed and punched for years, they said." Dodd, D. A. (2010, Lawsuit blames school in suicide: Parents claim bullying led to son's death and system didn't prevent it. The Atlanta Journal - Constitution, pp. B.1.

"Now, four decades after she was born and after that piece of music was written for her, Lea Nikki Bacharach has been swallowed up by the bad times. Having struggled all her life with the developmental disorder Asperger's syndrome (AS) - a form of autism - the young woman known as Nikki took her own life last week. Her body was found in her California home. "   full article here

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