the road to killing a child

A mother cannot make the leap from unconditional love for her child to the attempted murder of that same child.


You cannot love your child and kill your child in the same moment.  You cannot love your child one moment and kill your child the next.

To kill your child requires an absence of love.

And it is not just a void.  Not just a chasm.  Not just a gaping hole where the infinite love should be.

The empty is filled with all things hideous and heartbreaking.

And it is a place.  A place where you have always been or at which you arrive.

I wouldn’t know how to get there if I tried.  Most parents don’t.

But I watch other parents go there.  Other parents who have Autistic children not unlike my own Autistic child.

There are many parents of Autistic children on this unrighteous journey.  I’ve seen them traveling.  Even before I realized where they might end up, I knew they were going the wrong way.

And I’ve called out to them–that they are on the wrong path, that they’ve lost their way.  That they were going to an unfaithful place.  That their children were in peril.

Most could not hear me over their fellow travelers who were shouting back at me.  Insisting that it was me who was on the wrong path.

“Sanctimonious!” they shout, because I love my child as she is.

“Self-righteous!” because I am so certain that I am on the right path–the path of unconditional and unwavering love.

“Judgmental,” because I dare to question the perilous road they have chosen to travel, seemingly, without a thought for the harm that they expose their children to with the words they use to describe their children.

The final act of violence, that is the last leg of the journey.  Most never get all the way to that unfaithful place.  But the steps they take towards it leave muddy footprints fossilized on the souls of their children.

They lament that they are making this march.  And they do it loudly.  Publicly.  They begrudge their children for the financial cost of this trip.  But they insist on purchasing the provisions like behavior modification and aversive therapies which drain their bank accounts and their children’s spirits.

I hear them moan about the soccer games they will never attend, the words they will never hear, the parties they will never be invited to because they had to take their children on this trip instead of the one that they’d been dreaming about.  They say that they are going to Holland instead of Italy and that they are content with that.  But the bitterness burns in their eyes as they watch others board the plane to Italy.  And for all they claim to fancy Holland, that’s not where they are and that’s not where they’re going.  They’re going to that unfaithful place.

Some claim to be battle weary road warriors.  Crusaders.  Because they lack the courage and humanity to be peaceful pilgrims.

I watch them go by in droves.  In their corporate sponsored caravans–all lit up blue and covered in puzzle piece logos.  Their children are exhausted from hauling all of those expensive provisions for 40 hours a week.

Parents!  You are well on your way to that unfaithful place.  And you have chained your children to your caravans like animals.  And when you travel this way, you exhaust your children and yourselves.  Those chains devalue.  They degrade.  They dehumanize your precious child.  When you proceed on this path, you create the conditions in which unrest thrives.  The environments in which your children have not choice but to fight.

Parents!  Please travel with us.  This path is safer.  Parts of the journey are tiring.  But we are joyful on this passage.  My child is not bound and dragged on this course.  We hold hands an walk together.  Often my child knows the way better than I do, so I follow her.  When she stumbles, because there are indeed obstacles, I pick her up and carry her in my loving arms.  And she trusts that I will do her no harm.

This is the fork in the road.

You can keep progressing to that unfaithful place.

But this path.  This is the way to peace.  And love.  And happiness.

Abandon your caravans of blue.

You won’t need most of those costly provisions when you choose this itinerary.

The light of your love will illuminate the pathway.

You’ve been on a detour.

It can end.

And this over here, this is a little known shortcut home.


13 thoughts on “the road to killing a child

  1. I love this. Although I embrace being an Autism Mom, I don’t consider myself a “warrior.” My child is so sweet and so perfect as he is. He does receive therapies at school, but his home life is full of play and cuddles. He participates in a sport and goes to church and does everything other kids do… just a little differently. Bless you for advocating love, light, and taking it easy on your kid!

  2. Hi, I have just discovered your blog and I’m so glad I did! I agree wholeheartedly with this. I’m constantly learning and have been muddling through our own journey, often at sea, often feeling isolated, but never hopeless, never resentful. The love for my children, the autistic one and the one who’s not, is what determines my path. It is so great that it hurts sometimes.

  3. The last 16 years have been a wave we have had the ups and down but along with those we have learned in each and every wave. We love our son just as much as we love our other children Our son is our son and we love him just as he is, caring, sweet, loving.he does receive therapies at school and home and loves his social time out even tho he doesn’t speak in the traditional way but with FC? Plays sports is a great athlete. Loves his family so so so much, and does a lot of things differently then his peers but is happy being himself:))

  4. You are so right. You do not come to murder from a place of love, no matter how people try to twist it. It is NOT an act of love. The thing is, people are defending this woman based on blog posts (blog posts that turned me off from the get go, btw. Taping your child being aggressive, then screaming in her face, because of course YOU are the victim, and wondering why she doesn’t stop? Ummmm…) Anyway, blog posts and twitter messages doesn’t make a relationship. Not really. No one knows what went on behind closed doors. What kind of life this CHILD led. It was all about the mother. Her pain due to her daughter’s diagnosis. That hatred…her child felt it. Of course she did. I used to be on the wrong path. So wrong. I came to the conclusion myself it was time for a change. I am glad I did, and sorry it took me so long.

    No one arrives at murder without ever having thought of it before. This is a woman who had people donating to her daughter’s treatment. Who tried to get on Ellen. Who actually HAD more supports in place than most. Yet, she still tried to kill her child. Was the attention starting to wane?Did she have to kick up the “woe is me”. As long as parents play victims to their child’s diagnosis, as long as they live in that woe is me place, our kids are never safe. It’s not about US. These are KIDS. I never thought I would break away from the mainstream thinking. I never thought I would embrace this side. But I am so glad I did. And I am committed to find a way to keep the children safe whose parents refuse to be honest about their own roles in their children’s behaviors, and who think a parent who commits such an atrocious crime is in any way a victim.

    • you know for me from Australia it is really difficult to understand what ‘the system’ provides for you in the US. i also thought, if anything, her bizarre publicity of her own daughters aggression had brought her A LOT of support, online and local, including financial support via donations that helped her get Isabelle into a specialised centre and I thought at the time ‘good! as the care of the mother is obviously somewhat toxic for Isabelle’. Although this case will still be heatedly discussed in the “autism community” (urks) authorities usually go quiet as there are charges laid and also, obviously, in the interest of the family. but i would really like to know what professionals who were in touch with both, Isabelle and her intense mother, have to say about the case. What you are hinting at, this addiction to attention and drama, a sort of vicious circle of autism vs munchhausen syndrome in the mother is totally possible and sadly, the internet and social media play a massive part in making those type of cases incredibly satisfying for the sick psyche of that sort of parents. =(

      • Yeah. When I first read Kelli’s blog I was taken aback by her vocabulary -almost like a celebration of the violence with a heavy focus on herself. “I’m slowly dying every day from head trauma.”
        Something like that. And the pictures of her injuries-like she was somehow proud of them. And the weird gifs in between to make her point – she spent ALOT of time creating posts. I really do wonder what those friends closest to her are thinking now. Did they see it coming? Did they see the unbalanced-ness that came through? And she clearly was in denial about her approach – twice she wrote that people told her that her “intensity” was detrimental to herself and Issy. I work with autistic children everyday-one thing I’ve learned is that even if they can’t express it verbally – they know when they are not respected – just like anybody else. I don’t take their hand – I hold out my hand and wait for them to take mine. I have to earn their trust and they know when people don’t have good intentions – it’s ridiculous to say this but autistics are just like any other human being.

  5. Perhaps if Kelli got off social media and spent that time with Issy, she wouldn’t be where she is today. And Issy woruldn’t be further damaged. I hope she rots!

  6. Pingback: Where was I when Kelli needed help? | love explosions

  7. i don’t think that the shiny caravan of busloads of autism warrior moms necessarily leads to kill their child but the ride has deviated them from their first and most important task and that is, indeed, unconditionally loving your child and doing nothing, NOTHING that will harm it.
    this is a great post, and if anything, the different reactions and reflections about the attempted murder of Isabelle Stapleton helps us to see what kind of other autism parents we want to connect with .. and which ones we rather don’t. because as you so rightly put it, those are pretty set opinions they have and you are harshly criticized if you dare to question one or the other movement. any autistic adult will confirm this, which is incredibly troubling in my eyes, should we not listen to them first of all??
    and man, i HATE this Italy/Holland story.. whoever came up with that allegory really needs to explain to me why this makes any sense in regards to the ‘parenting journey’..

  8. Pingback: Rock Bottom: Autistic Hate Culture | love explosions

  9. Pingback: Behaviour is Communication; Violence is Behaviour | tagAught

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