Image description: woven background with faded spirograph
Text: The murder of an Autistic child, of any child, will never be about lack of services.

Pretending it is may be easier to swallow than acknowledging what it is really about. Each and every time.

Lack of love. Lack of humanity. Lack of respect for the sanctity of all human life.

There is ALWAYS another choice. And lack of services does not override the individual responsibility to make ANY other choice.

Issy Stapleton and a Compassionate Response to Violence


Trigger warnings for ableism, murder, mention of suicide, victim-blaming, and probably other things. (Let me know if I missed something.)

I have been thinking a lot about Issy Stapleton (here is an article, but note that it comes with a trigger warning for victim-blaming and murderer-sympathising)—and about Alex Spourdalakis, Jaelen and Faith Edge, Randle Barrow, Mickey Liposchok, George Hodgins, Daniel Corby, Katherine McCarron, and so many others. The autism_memorial livejournal has over 180 separate accounts of murder (or, in a few cases, reported suicide) of autistic individuals—mostly by family members, caregivers, and even police. Even that list is an understatement. Crimes so often go unreported or misreported, or when they are reported (accurately), they may never have enough media coverage for the autistic community and our allies to find out. 

Of course I’m sad. Of course I’m mad. Of course there is a very angry, very hurt part of me that just wants to run around screaming and breaking things until this finally stops, until murdering your child (or anyone, but especially someone in your care) is never okay, never justified. I’ve taken so long with this post because I don’t know how to think about this without feeling a blinding rage or overwhelming sadness or both. This sucks.

Kelli Stapleton made a disgusting, inexcusable choice. Nothing justifies attempting to murder your child, okay? Lack of support services for families (and I will just point out that the Stapletons had access to an abundance of support services) does not justify murder. Autism does not justify murder. Nothing ever, ever, ever can justify or excuse this. We shouldn’t even have to talk about this. 

I have a choice, too, and I have been thinking a lot about it over the past few weeks. While the news hurts, while it makes me feel furious and frustrated and desperate and powerless, I have a choice in how I respond and in what I write here. I am not powerless, and we can change the conversation. In fact, we absolutely must change the conversation.

The first thing we must do is stop othering autistic people and others with disabilities. We need to value and prioritise their (our) voices and experiences. Spend some time listening to (or reading) the voices of autistic people. You could start with these:

On the subject of prioritising autistic voices, I am just going to link you to an excellent masterpost on why Autism Speaks is awful and must not be allowed to speak for autistic people. The tl;dr is that Autism Speaks perpetuates violence against autistic people both directly (see: the bit about the Judge Rotenberg Center) and indirectly (see: their constant messaging of autistic people as “burdens” and so on), and uses money that could be spent on support services and advocacy and instead spends it on eugenics research. Support organisations led and run by autistic people instead, such as the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and the Autism Women’s Network.

And when we talk about voices, we have to talk about intersectionality and diversity. We have to talk about how the “face” of autism is always white, often male and middle-class when the reality is autistic people come in all races, ethnicities, classes, genders, sexualities, and so on. You might, for example, check out a blog like Queerability, which focuses on the intersection of the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities. Imagine people, including autistic people, complexly.

Once you’ve gotten a bit of a grasp on the complexity and nuance inherent in our community, it’s time to start educating those around you. Share the voices you find. Push back against stereotypes (even if they seem like “positive” stereotypes—”idiot savant” isn’t a compliment, and it devalues and erases autistic people who don’t fit that “ideal”) whenever you hear someone repeat them. Stand up to any suggestion that violence against a vulnerable population is justified.

And, bloody hell, if you are a parent (or caregiver) and the thought crosses your mind that things might be better if you killed your child (or person in your care), get help NOW. Please stop what you are doing and get help immediately. Call 911 (or the equivalent in your country). Before you reach a point of crisis, get connected with other parents and caregivers for support, such as Parenting Autistic Children with Love & Acceptance. And if someone is in any way justifying violence against your child, cut that toxicity out of your and your child’s life. 

The compassionate response to violence is not to side with the perpetuator of violence, nor is it to simply punish the perpetuator (although I am not arguing against punishment for Kelli Stapleton). Compassion goes further: it offers healing and safety to victims, and it fights to end the cycle of violence. We have a choice in how we respond, and if we are to choose compassion (which I certainly hope we will), we must do more with our pain. We must work toward a world without violence and where people like Issy Stapleton feel safe, loved, and valued. 

It’s been a tough few weeks trying to sort through all of my emotions about this, but somewhere, buried beneath all of my anger and frustration and sadness and rage and nausea and fear, I have just the tiniest bit of hope. A different world is possible. I need you to help me make it possible. Educate yourself. Educate your friends. Change the conversation.


I hate it when people say you have to be mentally ill to be a serial killer

like how far do you want to absolve neurotypical people of their crimes

how far do you want to blame society’s problems on the ‘evil crazies’ because it’s oh so much easier that way (thus leading to violence against us, an already heavily marginalised group)

how far do you want to ignore the real correlation is that most of them are white men who are entitled and violent






1. Because she’s fat, and they’re afraid to operate on fat people. (Well, they’d be fine doing much more invasive weight-loss surgery on her, but the less invasive and much more straightforward hysterectomy, they’re scared of. That tells you everything.)

2. They spent a long time eyeing her…

I do think it would be a good idea to let Fletcher Allen, and its oncology department, know that people know about this crap.

The hospital has a contact form at

 But if you prefer other ways, here are the critical cut-and-pastes:

Customer Service: (802) 847-0000 or (800) 358-1144 (toll-free)


To speak to someone about your experience at Fletcher Allen: contact Patient and Family Advocacy at (802) 847-3500. Or you may use our online contact forms to share a compliment or share a concern.

  • Gynecologic Oncology
  • Medical Center Campus
  • Main Pavilion, Level 4
  • 111 Colchester Avenue
    Burlington, VT, 05401
  • Phone: 802-847-5110
  • Fax: 802-847-0496

This. This is what we’re dealing with. They’ll do the damaging and sometimes life-threatening weight loss surgery, but not the life-saving hysterectomy.

And before any trolls start moaning about how surgery on fat people is SO HARD and SO DANGEROUS: it’s difficult because surgeons don’t practice it in medical school and then refuse to do it when they graduate, so they don’t know how to do it well and they don’t develop good techniques for doing it; and it’s only “dangerous” because there aren’t good guidelines for anesthesia for fat people, because, again, doctors aren’t developing them.

This is massive fatphobia and (if you look at the original post) ableism. They are literally saying that this woman’s life is not worth saving because she is fat and disabled. FATPHOBIA AND ABLEISM KILL PEOPLE. 

Yes, yes they do.  And if surgery on fat people is SO DANGEROUS, then WLS shouldn’t even be possible.

Not to mention the obvious: they’ve known since the 1900s how to remove a uterus (and connected parts) through the vagina. So if the anesthesia isn’t the issue, just the surgical procedure, prop this woman up in the stirrups and GO ALREADY JFC.


756. A muggleborn who has been deaf from birth gaining their hearing from Madam Pomfrey and experiencing music for the first time at the Yule Ball.

Ay, actually the vast majority of ppl in the deaf community do not want this so can we please not produce borderline inspiration porn off this shit?



Kelli Stapleton appeared on Dr. Phil, and advocates have taken to twitter for Issy: Tell Doctor Phil and the Media that Issy Stapleton is the VICTIM (


the other thing is that if we’re eternal children we can be denied autonomy forever for the sake of “our own well being”. we can be punished forever for non-compliance. we can be put completely at the mercy of our too often abusive caretakers.

autistic adults are as much adults as everyone else, and refusal to acknowledge that leads to situations like the ones above.


Image Description: 
Red textured background with dark text that reads: 
Issy Stapleton deserves justice, NOT justification of her abuser’s attempt to murder her, and light colored hashtag at the bottom: #JusticeForIssy


Stop making excuses for people who abuse and even murder autistic people. Stop saying they were a “burden” and that their abusers were “at the end of their rope.” It doesn’t matter how hard someone is to deal with, they still don’t deserve to be abused or killed.


Video transcript, in case you want to just read through and skip to the part where I dump ice on my head. Which is pretty wimpy, because I don’t have a bucket and thus used a bowl. I would love it if people would share this, tweet it, etc.:

My name is Tracey, and today I’m doing a different kind of ice bucket challenge. I want to talk about violence against Autistic people. I am not Autistic myself; I have a sister with Autism. By now you’ve all heard about the incident in Ohio where an Autistic teenager, who thought he was going to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge with his classmates, instead had urine and feces dumped over his head.

I’m not going to use the word ‘bullying’ or ‘prank,’ here, because I think it is trivializing to say something like ‘prank’ when we’re talking about genuine cruelty. I think this was an assault meant to degrade and humiliate a person. And I’m not going to link to the video that went viral, because I know the boy tried to hide the video from his mother after his attackers put it on Instagram, because he was embarrassed. And although I don’t believe victims of violence have anything to be ashamed of, I still think he deserved to have a say in whether more people saw that video. And so I think it’s sort of adding insult to injury that instead of being taken down, it went viral, and now everyone is tweeting and sharing this video that was very humiliating and that the victim didn’t want out there. So I didn’t watch it, and I’m not going to share the video or link to any article that does.

A lot of people are using this to raise awareness about Autism and what they’re calling bullying. Drew Carey and some other celebrities have offered thousands of dollars as a reward to find the perpetrators, and if the police find them without a reward, which it looks like they will, he plans on donating that money to Autism Speaks. And I’m making this video to challenge him and everyone else to please donate their money somewhere else.

Autism Speaks doesn’t have any Autistic people in positions of leadership. They actually lobbied against a proposed amendment to the Autism Cares Act that would basically mandate greater representation of Autistic people in the groups making decisions that impact their lives.

Only 4% of Autism Speaks’ budget goes toward improving the lives of people with Autism and their families. Most of their budget goes to research, and most of their research money is spent on trying to prevent and cure Autism, not on learning how to enhance the quality of life for people living with Autism.

Autism Speaks uses language that dehumanizes Autistic people. They compare Autism unfavorably to pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes, and basically speak as though if you have a child with Autism, that kid may as well be already dead.

That is the kind of language that justifies violence. In fact, Autism Speaks once did a TV spot, called Everyday Autism, where one of their board members talked about how she used to want to drive off a cliff with her daughter in the car. She said this right in front of her daughter, and the takeaway was supposed to be that this was understandable because having a child with Autism is so difficult. I haven’t asked my parents, but I have never, ever wanted to kill my sister. But parents often DO kill their disabled and Autistic children, and the rhetoric of Autism Speaks, more often than not, is the rhetoric of parents who kill their children; of hopelessness, of burden, of Autism being a plague that needs to be wiped out.

Autism Speaks has given table space at their fundraisers to the Judge Rotenberg Center a school that is under investigation for using painful electric shocks on students, a practice that has been defined by the U.N. As an act of torture. This kind of institutional abuse of disabled students is very common, and Autism Speaks has never really made this a priority. Institutional violence and caretaker violence represents as great a danger to Autistic people as peer violence does, and they come from the same place – the dehumanizing of disabled people, which Autism Speaks participates in.

So as you can see, the legacy of Autism Speaks has not really been a legacy of fighting violence against people with Autism. It’s been a legacy of normalizing violence, enabling violence, and keeping people with Autism from accessing the sort of power and agency that would let them effectively fight violence. Autistic self-advocates have tried to reform Autism Speaks for years, but Autism Speaks has ignored their critiques while continuing to take credit for their work. When you support Autism Speaks, you support silencing Autistic people, and you support the myth that the existence of Autistic people victimizes those around them. That is the language of violence.

People in Bay Village, Ohio are doing some amazing things rallying around this boy who was attacked, and they’re having some great conversations about respect and acceptance of people with cognitive disabilities. It would be such a waste if that awesome energy and that desire to foster respect and acceptance just wound up funneling money into Autism Speaks because it happens to be the biggest Autism nonprofit, when that money could so such amazing things elsewhere.

I have made a donation of forty dollars – and my boyfriend has matched it – to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network has a mission of fostering acceptance and creating opportunities for Autistic people. They organize programming at colleges and universities to make campuses more accessible and inclusive. They organize paid internships to give Autistic people job opportunities, they work to give Autistic people more of a role in shaping legislation and policy that impacts them, like the Autism Cares Act that I mentioned earlier, and most importantly, they are active in combating violence and abuse against people with disabilities.

Fighting violence against disabled people and the attitudes that normalize and enable that violence, has always been a priority of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, and it will always be a priority of mine. I challenge Drew Carey, Bay Village Ohio, and anyone who shares that priority to give their money to the Autism Self-Advocacy Network or a number of other organizations, which I have linked below, instead of Autism Speaks. None of these organizations are even half as well-funded as Autism Speaks, and ten thousand dollars would be a huge deal to any of them.

And because I feel so strongly about this, I’m going to dump ice on my head now.

About Autism Speaks:

Good alternative organizations:


Autism Women’s Network

Autism National Committee

ADAPT (disability rights organization)



I wonder how long we’ll stay friends on Facebook.

I literally just deleted someone for sharing that picture! Was a coincidence


the whole autism = mentally a child thing is awful in itself, but it’s even worse because it’s used to deny us personhood. you can take away our autonomy if it’s to ensure our care, you can criminalize every single sexual encounter we have if it’s because we’re unable to consent, you can ignore our needs because we’re non-compliant.

'mental age' is an incredibly ableist concept and it needs to stop.


Bullies Douse Ohio Boy With Bodily Fluids, Cigarettes for Ice Bucket Challenge

An Ohio autistic teenager thought he was taking the ALS ice bucket challenge, but instead of water, a group of juveniles doused the 15-year-old boy with a mix of bodily fluids and cigarette butts, family members said Wednesday.

The incident, which was recorded on the boy’s cell phone, was released to KTLA sister station WJW-TV. The teen’s family chose to share the video in an effort to make other parents aware of bullying, the Cleveland Fox affiliate reported.

In the clip, the shirtless teen is standing in front of a garage when from above comes a bucketful of liquid, which according to the boy’s family, contained feces, urine, spit and cigarette butts.

“Once we found out about it, we were just horrified,” the boy’s mother told Fox 8. “I want these kids held accountable for what they did to him, and that they targeted somebody who just didn’t really understand what was going on.”

A police investigation is underway and criminal charges could be filed, according to Bay Village Police Department Det. Kevin Krolkosky.

“Obviously, if possible, we do want to hold those individuals accountable for their actions,” Krolkosky said.

The teen’s mother and father hoped the release of the video will inspire other parents to talk about bullying with their own children.

“The bucket challenge is supposed to be raising awareness for this disease and now they’ve turned it into a sick joke,” the victim’s mom said. “I just can’t understand why kids would do something this cruel.”


I wanna beat the life out of these kids Im so pissed off by this.

Hey y’all, there’s a petition y’all can sign to get those motherfuckers prosecuted for their bullshit.