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Suicide and Autism - Parents of Autistic Children Speak out on Sunnyvale Murder - Suicide

Autor:   •  June 13, 2012  •  Essay  •  741 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,124 Views

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Parents of Autistic children speak out on Sunnyvale murder-suicide

As if it wasn’t hard enough to raise a child with Autism, once the child is considered to be adult, parents have a whole new challenge. They now must find a way to provide adequate care for their child without the aid of the school or government programs. Until the age of twenty two, a child with a disability, such as Autism, has services provided by the school district as mandated by law. Once the child “ages out”, or reaches age twenty two, the school is no longer required to provide services and the family is lost as what the next steps are. This, all too real life situation, was too much for one, Sunnyvale, California mother to handle.

This tragedy began when Elizabeth Hodgins, became distraught over the inability to attain appropriate services for her 22 year old son, George. George had severe Autism, meaning he was low functioning, and in December 2011, had aged out and thus no longer qualified for services through the state of California. Mrs. Hodgins was inept at finding suitable care for George and became increasingly distressed. Last Tuesday, she cracked; fatally shooting George and then herself.

This article focused on parents of special needs children, from the local community and their reactions to the incident. Many parents interviewed, expressed they could see themselves in a similar situation and feeling the same distress as Mrs. Hodgins, based on their own experiences. It is no secret; it is hard to get services and resources for special needs children. It is hard to identify where to turn and who to talk to when it seems everything leads to barriers. What many fail to realize is the challenges increase ten-fold for acquiring assistance for grown children with disabilities.

I have a personal reason for choosing this article, as my wife and I, have a son with Autism. We are founding members of a local support group for parents of children with disabilities. We have an understanding of the resources available, the avenues that parents must travel to get those services, the laws of the state, as well as the rights of the child, and we strive to share those with those less knowledgeable. As with any child, the concerns


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