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Man with Autism Beats Mother: We Can Not Remain Silent

Domestic_violence Managing Editor's Note: For countless families whose kids are getting older, autism may be the norm in their household, as it is in my own, but it is hardly normal when you live in fear of violence at the hand of your precious child. Institutionalizing your child, whether you call it camp, residential school school or something else, isn't normal either. It's an agonizing decision I've watched friends make. No one wants to have to send their child away because they pose a threat to the rest of the family.  This sort of violence is not criminal. People with autism who suffer from myriad physical ailments and live with unrelenting frustration by virtue of their communication deficits are not vicious or evil or bad.  But they can be violent - and it's foolish and naive to deny that. Autism is NOT the new normal. Families are drowning, dying even, and the answer isn't "acceptance" because society is not going to accept people who pose a threat. Men who beat their family members or caretakers will face a life of chemical and physical incarceration. We'd best find treatments for those here, prevention for those yet to fall to autism and a whole hell of a lot of services for families like the Koumoutseas, whose lives have been changed forever by their son's autism.  We can not remain silent on this issue. It's only going to get worse as the kids get older. We need families in the Koumoutseas's dilemma on the IACC.  President Obama, Senator Dodd, Dr. Insel, the disability community leaders need to hear from a Mom with a fat lip and her arm in a sling. THIS IS AUTISM TOO. From The Telegram.com. Please comment on their article.

A crime clearly occurred when 23-year-old Adam Koumoutseas slammed his mother’s head against an asphalt driveway, but the perpetrator wasn’t Adam, according to his father.

“The crime is the lack of services,” said John Koumoutseas of Southboro, a sentiment echoed across the country by parents plagued with the near-impossible challenges of caring for older — and sometimes aggressive — autistic children. “If you took the time to know what I’ve been through in the past 20 years, you’d say my story can’t be true.”

But the elder Koumoutseas was too emotionally drained to share his story when we spoke Tuesday night. Exhausted and likely overwhelmed, he was at the hospital waiting to learn the condition of Pamela Koumoutseas, 60, who was out for a drive with her son on Saturday when he allegedly head-butted her repeatedly and then smashed her skull against a driveway in Westboro. Police arrived to find her lying on her back, semiconscious and covered in blood. When police tried to question Adam, he responded with grunts and unintelligible sounds.


The profoundly autistic young man was arrested and has thus begun his odyssey through a criminal justice system that doesn’t know what to do with people like him. Legally an adult, but unable to control or appreciate the wrongfulness of his behavior, Adam is the latest sad poster child for a system at a loss. And his violent outburst once again exposes the dark and controversial nature of the mysterious disorder.

In April, 20-year-old John Odgren of Princeton was sentenced to life in prison for the fatal stabbing of a fellow student. Odgren has Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. In October 2008, police say Shelleigh Wilcox was fatally stabbed by Benjamin Makinen, a 22-year-old autistic man who randomly knocked on her door at 10 Lancaster St. In Ohio last year, a professor at Kent State was beaten to death by her autistic son, 18-year-old Sky Steuernagel, a case that attracted national headlines.

Let’s be clear. Not everyone with autism is violent, and those with the disorder hardly deserve the added stigma. But we can’t deny that an aggressive strain exists in some. And while information on such a link is scarce, a 2008 study found “disruptive, irritable or aggressive behavior” in 8 to 32 percent of children with autism.

“It points out the need for better services and treatments,” said Rita Shreffler, executive director of the National Autism Association. “These situations are horribly sad for everyone involved. Families are overwhelmed and left without resources. Most children with autism are under 21. But a big group of them are getting older, bigger and stronger. And their parents are aging and no longer capable of caring for them.”

John Koumoutseas, 60, has been caring for Adam since birth and assumed custody after he and his wife divorced. He acknowledged that Adam has been violent in the past, both to him and his ex-wife, and said he was in the process of trying to place Adam in a residential facility. Adam has attended 10 schools — he was kicked out of two, and his father removed him from three that failed to provide adequate services. A small-business owner, the elder Koumoutseas said he was once affluent but now faces possible foreclosure because of the expense of keeping his son at home.

“My life has gone to shambles, slowly but surely,” he said. Asked if he loves his son, he said softly, “I love my son too much.”

Peter Wyman of Lancaster understands. Two of his sons are autistic, similar in age and temperament to Adam, he said. He, too, has struggled to keep them at home, but that requires support services not adequately funded by the state. Instead, the state is often willing to place autistic children in residential homes that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

“The system which enables severely challenged kids to stay home is broken,” Wyman said. “The odds are stacked high against us.”

Worse still, Wyman said he’s sickened that Adam was arrested and hauled into court. He said his own autistic sons have adult bodies with the cognitive abilities of 2-year-old children. Adam was charged with assault and battery and other crimes, and his bail was set at $20,000.

Meanwhile, his mother is in stable condition and his father is hiring a defense lawyer. Neither parent believes that Adam should be subjected to the legal process when he has no idea what he’s done. But as children with autism grow bigger and stronger, solutions and alternatives are scarce

“It’s like something out of 1940,” Wyman said. “These children shouldn’t have to become front-page news before they get help. That’s the bottom line.”



Read more: http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101216/COLUMN01/12160854&CSAuthReq=1#ixzz18I2k5RjV

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I found this old article because I have an aggressive 22 yr old autistic son that I take care of alone. If it were not for medication he could not live with me and even on it, he is still aggressive, but it is much milder like sticking his tongue out at me and flipping me off and an occasional four letter word. I can deal with that stuff, as long as it does not turn physical. He still attacks me about once ever 4 months. Fortunately it has not been severe enough to warrant hospital attention.

Well what can I say, but I am in the same boat. I have a very charming and lovely son whom we love to bits. We also are having big problems. Despite being on biomedical treatments we are still not there yet. When our d/s has a meltdown, ( he's 11 now)' he is very manipulative in his speech, very intelligent, very able to get people who don't know him on his side. He told a boys club that he was going to that we beat him and stopped him from going on the computer. We were reported to social services and we got a visit. He was so nice to them like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He is a compulsive liar when he doesn't get his own way. What the hell am I going to do. He takes situations all the way not knowing when to stop. I had to tell him what happens to kids that go into care. He said sorry mummy, I didn't know. The boys club believed him. They said its very rare that autistic kids lie. How do you prove something like that. He is putting mine and his life in jeopardy and nobody understands. Since he knows that they believed him, he now says, if you don't do this or that, I will tell the school . I am living on tender hooks. My blood pressure is off the scales and I am scared. I love him so much and in other areas he is so capable. He just passed his music theory exam grade 3 with a distinction. What do we do now, we are trying to give him a chance. I don't want to report my own son. God help him and us.

Suitoneuk; I am so very sorry for what you are going through. A couple of thoughts, don't know which if any would work for you.
1. Record him secretly (assuming it is legal in your state? not a lawyer..)using nanny cam, or similar, when he is threatening to tell people whatever he's going to say if you don't give in. Make sure by your responses that it is really plain what is going on, and then play it back to the people at the boys club, or at the school...And keep a copy in case social services comes calling again.
Record him doing it more than once is even better.
2.Find a good psychologist to assess him and help him.
3.Do know of a friend whose response to a similar threat was "If that's your choice, then sure , here's the phone. Now of course, in foster care, you won't need your computer or have music lessons etc etc, so we'll be selling all that. You can go pack your bags if you want".
Seems harsh, but it worked for her.

Well what can I say, but I am in the same boat. I have a very charming and lovely son whom we love to bits. We also are having big problems. Despite being on biomedical treatments we are still not there yet. When our d/s has a meltdown, ( he's 11 now)' he is very manipulative in his speech, very intelligent, very able to get people who don't know him on his side. He told a boys club that he was going to that we beat him and stopped him from going on the computer. We were reported to social services and we got a visit. He was so nice to them like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He is a compulsive liar when he doesn't get his own way. What the hell am I going to do. He takes situations all the way not knowing when to stop. I had to tell him what happens to kids that go into care. He said sorry mummy, I didn't know. The boys club believed him. They said its very rare that autistic kids lie. How do you prove something like that. He is putting mine and his life in jeopardy and nobody understands. Since he knows that they believed him, he now says, if you don't do this or that, I will tell the school . I am living on tender hooks. My blood pressure is off the scales and I am scared. I love him so much and in other areas he is so capable. He just passed his music theory exam grade 3 with a distinction. What do we do now, we are trying to give him a chance. I don't want to report my own son. God help him and us.

I know this is a pretty old article, but I found it while doing a quick search and I have to say something because of my own experience just this morning.

My son is 14. He is non verbal autistic with MR and epilepsy. We finally had to give up and put him in a group home two years ago. He was still in diapers, extremely violent and just regressing twice as hard with every small step forward. His doctors had all told me it was time to do something. The state kept sending "helpers" who quit out of fear of my son. There just were no more choices. Even his teacher who had literally been his teacher for almost every year of his school life finally said she could no longer handle him anymore, even though she just loved him dearly.

The group home has been a wonder for him. It has completely changed his life. He is now on meds for his seizures and is constantly watched and cared for, 24 hours a day, by a fantastic staff. He has gone from pacing around naked in a diaper tearing phone book pages and throwing furniture to calmly sitting, fully dressed and "playing" with a string of beads and a few toy cars.

Having said that though, there are a few problems. His group home is on the other side of the state. And we are extremely poor. Our car is very old and barely gets my husband back and forth to work, so we don't get to see our son very often. The group home brings him out here twice a year, once for 2 weeks in the summer, and again for 2 weeks at Christmas. And this is where the problem comes in.

When he is home he reverts back to his old self. And to be honest, far more violent than he used to be. During the summer we could call and arrange for him to go back to the home if he gets to be too much, but at Christmas, the group home is closed. I am always optimistic and want to believe everything will be fine, but his behavior this Christmas has scared the hell out of me. Just a short while ago, he had been sitting and watching the Wiggles on DVD, just quietly sitting there. I went in my room and sat down for a minute to sort laundry. He burst in the room and for absolutely no reason I could figure out, started hitting and punching me. I could not stop him, and I have no idea what caused it. :( I will be alone with him for the next 5 days, before the group home can come get him. (My husband was off for the holiday but went back to work this morning.) There are no services in place to help us for when he is home visiting. I am feeling pretty trapped and helpless at the moment.

Adam Koumoutseas's mother is dead. She succumbed to injuries received at the hands of her son and died in a rehabilitation center.

http://www.eagletribune.com/obituaries/x1710455210/Pamela-Koumoutseas-62

I am terrified this scenario will happen with my son. At the moment he's a loveable bear cub of a boy but there's no denying the fact that he is fast approaching 5 feet tall and weighs close to 8 stone at 7 years old. What will puberty throw into this equation? If he hit someone now they'd certainly feel it! and he can lash out when upset or frustrated. Why do I constantly torture myself with what ifs? I constantly lurch from fearing for him to fearing for others. What if he wanders off and is hurt. I have never spent a night away from him and he has never,ever had a hospital visit. The one (& only) time my friend allowed her son to go and play with a relative he ended up with stitches.It may not happen but I look to my future and see nothing but stormy skies

This is a great tragedy for the family. I can't even start to imagine what was the feeling of the mother being beaten up by her own son, knowing he doesn't comprehend his own actions; nor I can imagine the tragedy for the father. What I don't get is the claim of the father for lack of services. MA has superior services and I doubt that the young man has not had adequate ones. The question is why was not he placed in long-term residential services facility?

I look at his picture in the newspaper and wonder why such a strong and well-built young man with violent behavior is not under proper supervision and monitoring 24/7? What was his mother thinking having him alone with her, when in cases like his, anything can trigger an episode? A tragedy that seems to have been waiting to happen for a long time...

I would like to say a few words about meltdowns with the possibility that they may be helpful to some family out there. I am not used to posting on the internet and hope what I say is appropriate. I am adult with a diagnosis of aspergers in addition to some other neurological issues. I grew up with extreme meltdowns so much so that it took many years into adulthood before I was able to perceive that they weren't normal, that they weren't "my personality" as I assumed. It was only when I kept hearing strangers or not close aquaintances remark, "I've never seen anything like that in my life," that I developed a suspicion that these intense destructive firestorms which terrified those around me were not just my personality. I feel too embarassed at the moment to go into a description of them. Just take my word, they were bad. Breaking furniture, etc, etc, etc.
A few years ago after attending a DAN conference I started experimenting with saunas. Eventually I went to a 9/11 type sauna program where I spent 80 consecutive days in the sauna for 4 hours per day. Strangely I could feel my brain improving each and every day. After that program I did 50 IVs of EDTA, starting at a low dose and building up. I was really aiming at improving some other symptoms and had forgotten about "my personality." Yet after these two interventions I remember thinking, you know, I haven't had a meltdown in kind of a long time, what's up with that? Shortly afterword, I did have one. But only one. Guess what, that was the last and three years later, it has never happened again. When I get upset now, I can feel a door closed, I just can't, thank God, escalate to that point anymore. It is definitely biological. I had years and years of other treaments which never touched these symptoms.
I do know that something went out from the saunas and IV EDTA and it took the meltdowns with it. (Mercury, lead, pesticides, really I have no idea.) I am not completely well, but life is a lot easier without that particular issue. A lot easier.
Perhaps some version of this could be useful to people with younger kids. IV edta is pretty easy to try and a milder sauna program might help. I have to say that my meltdowns did not diminish, they disappeared entirely. It still seems odd, a bit surreal even: Why did I wreck so many things, why were people afraid of me, what did it all mean?
My mother passed away recently. Shortly before she died, she said to me, "I like your new personality."

My 15 yo has SIB and aggression. We had a quality ABA program but even our experts were stumped by the behaviors that seemed triggered internally. We tried meds without good results. In fact, my son got worst at that time and was having 30+ episodes per day. The damage he did to our home, our family, and his therapists is nothing compared to what he did to himself.

Then 2 years ago, we discovered Neurotherapy and started addressing the inbalances in his brain. Now he only experiences 1 episode per week on average. I'm praying for the day when violence is no longer part of our lives. It truly is a living nightmare. Praise God for bringing us the combination we needed... ABA and Neurotherapy!


We tried various treatments for our son over the years when he was young and none of them helped. We had three years of hell where he would bite, head-butt, scratch, kick and pull hair. The special school he went to suspended him and then terminated him. The hospital he was born in had a psychiatric unit and they threatened to sue us if we didn't take him home or somewhere else. We finally had to get a lawyer and pay him to put him in a residential center in another state.

We could have been killed because at times our son was very loving but when he started in with anger and aggressions it was like he was possessed by the devil.

We received no help from anybody except the lawyer who paid for his services. We did the right thing because our family was getting hurt physically. A lesson learned besides keeping away from vaccines and realizing no one will help you including schools, hospitals, politicians and any agency in the Federal government.

No one......except yourselves!!!!

Jane;
Good luck, and I wish you and your little one the very best.
One thing that I do regret, and if I knew then what I know now, I would have put my son on a modified Atkins diet of only 15 carbs for a couple of years, slowly graduating to a low glycemic diet. He might have fully recovered. He might not have elipesy now. But he is doing well on it now - cheat'in like heck though during this Christmas season!

My son is 11 and he was definitely headed in that direction. We did sequential homeopathy along with brain exercises similar to this program: http://activehealing.org/HTML/home.htm This combination has really helped him. No meds. By the way, it took over 100 hours of floor work with these exercises (that are similar to babies creeping and crawling) to see a real difference and we are still doing them since he's not done yet. Also, it helped with more than just the rage he would experience...it helped him with focus/attention, general maturity, etc. I know everyone is different, but I wanted to post this in case it helps someone else.

my non-verbal adult autistic son had aggressive behaviour and SIB from "behaviour-control meds"....i noticed that under the influence of thioridazine at the age of 11 he would froze and forced to move he would attack. the same thing happened from benzodiazepines and other typical antipsychotics and the worse were from the atypical antipsychotics like risperdal; under its influence he almost died and he almost killed me trying to head butt me. drugs made him bang his head. zyprexa and valproic acid are the worse. what no too many people know is that these drugs linger in the brain months and years after stopping them. my son is drug-free since 06 but still has episodes of SIBs, less intense and frequent but still happening. if i knew what i know now and could turn back the clock to 1985 i would have say no psychiatrists and to their "meds"....another word for their drugs, chemicals, synthetic drugs, man-made drugs that do nothing for his condition but worsened it...

I really believe that we need to begin looking at residential care as "Normal." Typical children reach the age of eighteen and go off to college. That is acceptable and no questions asked. Why can't children with autism go to a well thought out campus that addresses sensory needs, communication and an environment where they can thrive?The "perfect storm" is brewing. In the next fifteen years 500,000 children across this country who are now diagnosed with autism will become adults! we better find a common ground between what we call an institution, group home etc. It is a difficult decision for parent to make, but if the enviroment is well thought out it can make a huge difference.

Yes, I agree with the others - contact Generation Rescue, TACA, or your local FEAT chapter if you have one. There are parents that have been exactly where you are right now Jane, and they are more than willing to help you figure out a game plan to help your son. The biggest thing to know is that you are not alone. We have been there and know how frigthening and both physically and mentally exhausting it can be. We all play it forward and help each other.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a whole generation of very compromised children coming up and there are not enough resources and experience to handle it. It is imperative that the medical world, govt, corporations... put their ego and pocketbooks aside and admit some of the causes of this dilemna before it is way too late. They too will be negatively impacted by the future.

Jane, go to www.generationrescue.org and click "Rescue Angel" toward the bottom of the page.

I wonder if this young man could have been having a toxic reaction to the drugs he was taking. If ASD kids are prone to mito problems and don't metabolize well, psych drugs can be toxic.


Here's more info:

Pharmacologic effects on mitochondrial function- Dr. Bruce Cohen, Mitochondrial Expert

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ddrr.106/abstract

Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and
disease

http://psychrights.org/research/Digest/NLPs/DrugsCauseMitochondrialDamage.pdf

DRUG-INDUCED MITOCHONDRIAL DYSFUNCTION

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470372531.fmatter/pdf

weeping.

Thanks Scary and Benedetta. Do I just google Rescue Angels?

People have got to start studying meltdowns!! Period!! I feel like ND's ignore thier existance entirely. It doesn't fit in with thier "it's ownly a difference" rhetoric.

Meltdowns are dangerous! Period! Not it does not make me bad. No it does not make me evil. It does make me dangerous, to myself, and anyone around me when I go off. To deny this is denying reality.

People are dying! People are being beaten! I remember all to well what it was like, to be the one on the recieving end for almost a decade from someone who they denied had anything wrong with them. Ignored went the physical, emotional trauma that the rest of us had to deal with.

YES WE MUST ACT!!! I know what it is to live in fear everyday. To wonder if next time will be the last time. And folks, this can go into sexual abuse. It happened to me. (I do not know if my afflictor had autism or not, just that it was ignored).

If we don't do something about this now, there will be more little girls rocking back and forth on thier bed begging God to tell them what they had done to make this happen. Yes I am being dramtic. I will do whatever it takes to get the message across. Because this kind of violence leaves a slew of victoms in it's wake.

SPEAK! SPEAK for God's sake! Speak for the person, speak for thier victims!! SPEAK to save those little boys and girls!

Ok, one obvious questions is, what prescription drugs was this man on?

And, who is making money from "institutionalizing" those with autism instead of providing resources at home?

There is tremendous pressure from doctors and teachers to medicate those with autism. My son's teacher was like a pharma rep. Everyday she would send home notes about how great topamax or zooloft or some other drug is. One day she was gushing about prozac and I asked her if she got kickbacks from her "suggestions." My husband eventually had to tell her to back off. Teachers are pimping for pharma now. Sick world we live in.

Jane;
I agree with Scary!
He is only three, you have years yet! Years for chances of improvement!
Mine improved, sure there are still quick flares of tempers, but he is really quite a gentleman now, a real sweet heart!

But at three and four, he could throw a tanturm all the way to and from his grandparent's house which was, 1 hour and 45 minute trip!

Actually medication caused a return to some bad times when my son turned 22, it was a seizure medication called zonnegran. It brought on fear from the rest of the family members for ME - but I did not see any danger just a cranky young man. Once he came off of it, he is rather laid back!

So, you still have time!

This is such a tragedy. The medical community and the rest of America need to wake up! These families need serious help in the form of specialized services. Our children are sick. How many times does this have to happen?? The criminal system is NOT the answer.

Jane,

I would highly discourage you from going the medication route at this time. I sympathize with your situation. I implore you to investigate non drug treatments and therapies. Your son is so young. Young enough to respond quite well to diet changes, supplement usage, mb12 shots and good behavioral management. There simply is no one size fits all approach to treating autism and dealing with negative behaviors. I wish there was. Toddlers do not belong on psych meds. And it's lookong more and more clear all the time many children/adults deteriorate on these meds. Plus all the known and unknown health risks associated with them. Breast development in boys, heart problems, metacbolic issues, severe weight gain, tardive dykinses...it is a very long, very scary list of health problems. I urge you to contact a resuce angel in your state through Generation Rescue. They also provide funding I believe to assist new families embarking on biomed treatments. Try TACA and NAA. Good luck.

Every day I type "autism" into Google. It seems that stories about violence committed by those on the spectrum are becoming more common.

The violence isn't always committed against a family member so this will soon be everybody's problem in a big, big way.

This really scares me. My beautiful three year old son has become very violent towards me. Biting me so bad I required medical attention, Pinching me, kicking me, and literally ripping my hair out of my head. He is strong! Like Autism-Boy Wonder Superpower Strong. He is adorable and cute because he's just a little guy. But one day, maybe even tomorrow, I am not going to be able to get this kid off of me. I am frustrated, battered, and in a domestic violence situation with a three year old. This could be me in a decade. I am not getting the services or answer either. I have done everything possible to avoid medication, but I am steps away from going that route. There is only so much I can take.

makes my stomach turn.. my son is not violent but I worry about the stigma when I read these stories. I feel for his parents... how heartbreaking

Any idea whether this young man was on meds?

Read this blog for comments by "cops" on this story. This is scary. Why do people...especially public servants who are out and about serving their communties everyday seem so oblivious to autism since it has always been with us?

How in the world can we educate everyone about "autism"?

Many of our children never had a chance to make it in this world.

"some people need to be locked up in institutions"


http://www.masscops.com/f38/autistic-man-also-victim-his-violence-89955/

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