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Please pray for this young man and his family. If you don’t pray, then think kind thoughts. They count, too.
It is now Sunday, a day of reflection and worship for many in our country. I have developed a relationship with God, over time. Unfortunately, none of his houses were ever kindly to a child/adult experiencing the sensory integration disorder aspect of autism spectrum disorders. I learned at age 4 that any church I entered was man’s house. If a church cannot even understand someone with sensory issues and try to accommodate them instead of yelling at the parents in exasperation, and later, at the grown (forgotten) child, how are other aspects of the community supposed to act? Regardless of religion, we’re talking about an institution that is, in theory at least, looking out for an individual’s best (spiritual) interests. Schools are another place that should be doing this by default, and many I read about in my newspaper seem to have some anti-bullying policy in place. Also, newspapers like mine are doing their part by doing human interest stories on people with special needs. Unfortunately, this belated awakening is not extending to all community portals.
Should you ever need to welcome the paramedics or police into your home, it should not have to be any more stressful than is going to already be. Being well-educated and well-prepared about autism spectrum disorders and how they basically affect the individual across their lifespan is something that needs to be mandatory nationwide for first responders. Help needs to be made available and the awareness that help exists period also need to be made a priority so that parents don’t feel hopeless, ashamed or helpless. One needs to not let pride stand in the way of getting that help. In the case of IL, the General Assembly needs to stop cutting funding from public service programs, many of which serve the needs of people with special needs.
I have heard a few different stories from both the local and national media about this story over the past two days. I have read some of the commentary. I will only acknowledge what is worthy of discussion. I’m not assigning blame. If you are intelligent, you already know this.
Stephon Watts was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was 9. He was 15. Why did things reach the level they did at home so they had to call on the police? Unbalanced hormones are a given for any teenager, but they are a pregnant bubble waiting to bust with someone on the autism spectrum. This is tempered with therapy for behavior and medication to temper anxiety and mood. Did Stephon Watts ever receive treatment for his AS? He was diagnosed 6 years prior to his death, I’m guessing that was by a professional.
Why were knives allowed in the home? The police said that Stephon had a history of fighting with knives when the police came. His dad said that a butter knife was used the day he was shot. There was a time here when knives were an issue. Those of you who regularly read this blog will remember with me a time before diagnosis, when I was put on medications for psychosis. The police were regular visitors here for a while. My mom removed all sharp knives and put them in a box. She then sent the box to a family member’s house. The butter knives remained, because no matter how hard I tried to cut my own arm with one, all it did was chafe my skin. The officer that was attacked by Stephon got a cut arm.
Why weren’t police WITH TASERS dispatched to the Watts’ residence? There was a long history between the Watts’ and Calumet City PD regarding Stephon Watts and his violent, out of control meltdowns. Why on EARTH would they not send someone with a taser this one time out of 99?
The other police officer: The officer who was NOT attacked. Why couldn’t they have deflected Stephon’s arm, allowing the other officer to regain control, thus both officers being able to subdue Watts? Obviously, I do not have a crime-scene map of the basement where the fatal disgrace took place, but I do think I make somewhat of a point, keeping what I just offered in mind.
Is this just another tragic story that will die along with Ben Barnhard’s? Is it OK for those outside the autism community and special needs community to think “And so it goes…”
When DOES it get better? For WHO?
Listen, I love being able to help some of you through my life experience, but I, autisticaplanet with sensory integration disorder, sitting here behind my keyboard am not going to be the “Great White Hope”.
I hope there will be someone on the autism spectrum who will see beyond the partisan fighting between “curbies” and “freebees”; ”vax and ”anti-vax”, agree on some middle ground and get things in the autism community to change in the rest of the community. If you find that person, let me know. I’ll be glad to follow a voice of reason.
Enjoy your day of rest this Superbowl Sunday.
Stephon Watts is enjoying eternal rest 70 years too soon.
Stephon Watts Laid to Rest: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/illinois/calumet-city/loving-memories-longing-for-vengeance-expressed-at-teen-s-funeral/article_49737fb1-410a-5f1d-9b4b-d353450609a2.html
I think Stephon’s uncle showed remarkable faith and wisdom when he said that God’s judgement would be far greater than his vengeance. vengeance belongs to God alone. He is infinitely stronger. I can only go by multiple news reports and articles I’ve read, along with a few blog posts. My conclusion is there is poor dialogue between first responders and (develop)mentally ill persons. Though some of you may be offended (which is not my intent), this is not a racial problem in itself ( I am in no way denying that race, ethnicity and socio-economic status are not factors) I speak from lenghty, personal experience with police, EMT’s, Fire & Rescue as well as triage and psych unit hospital staff. So much more training and understanding still has to be done regarding those in the legal and medical community, especially in a first-responder situation (when adrenaline is coursing through the veins of both parties) regarding autism and how to best handle the upset and/or out of control person with ASD.
I invite you to reblog and write in your own blogs about this needless tragedy. The more we on the autism spectrum (along with those who love and know us best) share our experiences, especially triumph over struggles, the more we let others in the autism community know they are not alone. Simply telling a newly diagnosed person with autism or their parents isn’t enough.