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2009 Age of Autism Awards: Memorial for Trudy Steuernagel

Trudy and sky We present this memorial to Trudy Steuernagel, the mother of Sky Walker. Her beating death at the hand of her severely autistic son serves as a reminder of the seriousness of autism for many families, and the lack of support often available. Sky is now living in an institution in Ohio, missing his mother, his remaining family trying their best to piece together a life for him. We've heard from some family members. They are good people who have been placed in a difficult situation. Below are some of the articles about the story during the year.

Kent State professor Trudy Steuernagel's fierce protection of her autistic son, Sky Walker, costs her life: Sheltering Sky

18 Year Old With Autism Faces Murder Charges

Mom with Autism Talks About Sky Walker Matricide Case

Portage County's Sky Walker Autism Murder Case

Comments

Rosemary

Trudy and Sky will never be forgotten in my heart. There is not a day that goes by, that I do not think about Sky missing his mama, swirling with more confusion and deep trauma. I think about how much he must miss his house, his videos, his bed, his routines, his school, his home. After reading Trudy's essays, I have not stopped crying, for this is my life with my son. Does anyone know how I can support this memorial or contact a family member to offer help? The horror and pain is as vast as his name...Sky. Bless his family and all who can help him and the countless families that face this unnecessary suffering each day...

Sarah

Jerel,

The results of my son's genetics screening came up "normal" per the Boston Childrens Hospital lab report...when I had my ultrasound I overheard the nurse tell the doctor "this baby is golden" ... what sweet words for a mother to hear. There were no indicators during my pregnancy that my child was anything but normal. We have no history of autism in my family. So imagine my shock when he regressed at age three and was dxed ASD. The only logical explanation is that he was injured postnatally.

The problem will be solved when we stop this insane practice of giving young children with immature immune systems 24 + shots.

Darian (nickname)

I agree with Maria. This should be more than grounds enough for a law suit! I know it won't ease the pain, but it could help the family. I have a very strong sense of justive, and if these people are not held responsible, the Trudy will have died in vain. We can not allow this story to die!

If we EVER want medical practices to improove, we have got to turn up the heat on these so called professionals, and now!

I was watching a Robin Williams Special the other night. In one part he talks about how today's doctor's have become our dealers. It was funny, but unfortuanely also a sobering fact. There are a lot of good doctors who loose out because they don't agree with treating thier paitents like lab rats!

The worse thing that ever happened to health care was when Big Pharma was allowed to buy up all these hospitals and medical practices. BIG MISTAKE!!! Look what has happened to our health care as a result! Look how our doctors are pushed to become, as Robin said, our dealers!

*another Darian rant is over*

Gatogorra

Jake-- when I joined that mass emailing of the Chicago Trib over Tsouderos's smear piece, I received an email back. It was the generic email that everyone else got except for one sentence at the end which was a direct response to what I wrote: Tsouderos denied that what she wrote had anything to do with the two Glaxo ads next to the online article. Touchy, touchy.

GSK's Lamictal, which is prescribed both as an anticonvulsant and antipsyhotic, is considered the sixth biggest selling antipsychotic drug on the market with profits of $1.27 billion in 2008 since it was approved for bipolar disorder. Wonder how well it would sell if the explosion of vaccine-induced seizures suddenly leveled off and stopped.

As of 2007, GSK was reported to have a new antipsychotic in the pipeline, "812". I have no idea what's happing in its development but the fact that the company is in the process is a strong indicator that it would consider alternative methods of preventing or recovering autism and other environmental cognitive injuries to be direct competition.

Maria

This poor mother who had no help from professionals paid to help her. Instead docs merely prescribed mind altering drugs which are known to cause aggression. Perhaps some of these docs should have been charged with her death?

Sky can be anyone's child. Our children are so vulnerable so much so that their behaviors can change quite quickly. As parents we know what our children need and how to quell disturbances. Imagine what would happen if we were not there and a stranger was left to care for our children. Imagine how quickly a child may regress. We need to change mind sets and provide greater support for us and our children for the future.

What happened to Sky is what I fear each day for my son should something happen to me. We should embrace Sky and watch over him.

Twyla

Jarel, your comment is quite odd. As Maggie said, "How do you do a prenatal test for a vaccine induced brain injury? That's like doing a prenatal test for who will get a broken arm in the second grade." Was your comment some kind of very bad joke, or did you mean it? Are you spiteful towards people with autistim, or are you a person with autism making some kind of satirical comment that went awry?

Darian and Roger, thank you for writing!

"Elope" can mean just running off, escaping. "To elope, most literally, merely means to run away" -- not necessarily to get married for a romantic rendevous.

Words seem so inadequate to say anything about Sky and Trudy. May Trudy rest in peace, and may Sky live in peace. Prayers and very best wishes to Sky and his family.

Darian (nickname)

First of all, thank you for replying Roger, I appreciate it. It's nice to go to a place and be able to talk about things without being flamed by others. I'ave had more than enough of that in my life. I don't like getting flamed because I KNOW that Asperger's is a disability, not a difference! Right brain or left brain is a difference! Intovert or Extrovert is a difference!

Having uncontrolable meltdowns, bad sensory issues, no social graces, a weak stomach, and a low immune system is not a "difference"! Nor is a rigid reliance on routine to the point that if one thing goes wrong with it, one is no longer able to fuction! That is a disability!!

Please forgive my little rant. I get worked up sometimes. Back to subject.

My words of advice to parents is when you see the signs of meltdown coming, GET OUT OF THE ROOM!! I know your first instinct is to try to bring us out of it and keep us from harming things and ourselves, but like I said before, WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL AT THIS POINT!

We can not be reasoned with, talked to, or calmed down by anyone, not intill all that steam has come out. For your own safety therefore, remember this story, and GET OUT OF THERE!!!

just a Mother

Trudy Steuernagel gave her time, energy, love,
support, advocacy to help her beloved son Sky.
It is the doctors,the pharmacological companies,the psychiatrist,the social workers,
the support people,the insurance companies
that failed them.This is a total system failure as they are using physical and chemical control to deal with special needs
autistic patients.Not helping them but adding adverse side effects to the existing problems.
I wish the family strengh as they continue to support Sky on this difficult journey.

Maggie

How do you do a prenatal test for a vaccine induced brain injury? That's like doing a prenatal test for who will get a broken arm in the second grade. I guess there really are people who believe what pharma spews or just another shill. Boring.

mlinn

Thank you for recognizing Trudy and Sky. There are so many of these tragic stories and I think they affect us all deeply. This is because we can unfortunately relate all to well. Even if we're working hard and our kids are on the upswing, I don't think anyone in the autism community takes it for granted. We all know we could be an exposure, an infection, a reaction away from a severe regression or worse yet a seizure, escape, or swimming pool away from tragedy. Let's hope and pray for the safety of all of our families and kids in 2010--

Jake Crosby

Two anti-psychotic related deaths. We ought to send these to the Chicago Tribune's resident autism treatment denialist Trine Tsouderos, after her smear pieces against alternative therapies so yet another dangerous anti-psychotic, Abilify, can get a head-start in the market.

Wanda Phillips

Jerel Edmonds the comment you made on 12/29/09 at 10:45am, not only shows how ignorant you truely, but more importantly secured your place in Hell. Why on earth would anyone kill a gift from God for any reason?? I feel that God picked me to be a mother of an autistic child for a reason, and I am more convienced now more than ever.... TO KEEP MY CHILD SAFE FROM SELFISH PEOPLE LIKE YOU! AND WHY ARE YOU EVEN ON A WEBSITE THAT SUPPORTS AUTISM?? GO AWAY!!!!!

John Stone

"Elope": typo for "explode"?

Stagmom

Roger, did you just bury the fact that you eloped in your comment? Did you get married? NT females need details, darn it!

Kim

Roger Kulp

"I can only speak from coming on the opposite side of the spectrum, but there is something parents should know even about those with AS. When meltdown comes, we are not in our own minds. We are not in control!! Mine have been so violent that I have put holes through my door when younger, and caused alot of damage to myself."

Posted by: Darian (nickname)

As have I.This can also be said about what happens when you elope,as I did just on Christmas Day,in subzero wind chills.You are really not aware of what you are doing,or where you are.I am just lucky that I have chosen to direct my violence towards property,or myself,instead of other people.

I am guessing like me,the severity of your autism can vary greatly from one day to the next.

"I have trained myself to be able to repress things. It can take years now to get me to that point, but I still get there."

Been there,done that,but in my case it was only a matter of time,before I had another acute infection,and regressed to where I was as a child.That was almost three years ago,and I am still climbing out of the deep dark hole of regression,that bacterial meningitis threw me down.

From what I have read here,and elsewhere, those who took care of Sky have finally begun to see that the antipsychotc drugs, and Pepperidge Farms Cheese Goldfish Crackers were doing him more harm than good,and helped contribute to the state he was in before he killed hs mother.Maybe he can finally get some help and get better.

JulieC

Jerel,

How about in your case we make that retroactive?

ps there is no prenatal test for autism. In case you have not heard it is diagnosed behaviorally. But I think you passed the postnatal test for morbidly stupid.

John Stone

We live in a bewildering world - in a better one we might not need such a heroism, but we need to recognise it in the one we have. While in an even worse world we might screen for autism, in this one it isn't even a theoretical possiblity, as the otiose public ruminations of Simon Baron-Cohen demonstrated many months ago.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/01/simon-baroncohen-thinking-differently-about-autism.html


Meanwhile, we should honour the memory of Trudy Steuernagel and think of her son Sky and the survivng family in their extreme plight - and not forget them.

Darian (nickname)

I can only speak from coming on the opposite side of the spectrum, but there is something parents should know even about those with AS. When meltdown comes, we are not in our own minds. We are not in control!! Mine have been so violent that I have put holes through my door when younger, and caused alot of damage to myself.

I have trained myself to be able to repress things. It can take years now to get me to that point, but I still get there. And it's dangerous, and it scares me and everyone around me. I don't want this beast! This thing that takes me over and I do things I would never do when in my right mind!!

I am one of the few who will say this, but if I could keep my objectiveness, my attention to detail, my love of studying but rid myslef of the monster that is my meltdowns, my sensory issues, my sense of serperataion from everyone else no matter what I do, I would take it in a heart beat!

Keep up the good work! Not all of us aspies are against you!!

Teresa Conrick

To Jerel-

My previous post may have been incorrect. Maybe you are a different Jerel. Here was another choice. If this is true, please know I do not poke fun at your thinking but do want you to see how hurtful and wrong your statement is.

"12/8/2009 6:45:38 AM #

Jerel Edmonds

For me, this is a reality. I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of 13. Never have I felt in such a way that this is being ignored. The prevalence is too high for indifference. I am that kid with the camera, and because my intelligence does not match my social skills, I am ostracized. This has always been an area where parents, professionals, and educators remain uncertain. Asperger syndrome is one of the most complicated personalities to understand."

I have a child not that different from Sky and she did not deserve to be injured by her vaccines, to receive a label of "autistic" and then be treated like some disgusting creature and be ignored and denied. Your comment is a sad reflection of ignorance on this issue and I know my child deserved a place in this world- healthy, happy and vibrant. That was not what happened and to blame genes, then decide that you are superior and can judge another human life -- well you are wrong and I hope you will get an education on autism and get rid of the hate in your heart.

Teresa Conrick

Jerel-

Brains like yours show a sick thinking process. Maybe you are doing a little Freudian projection?? Or perhaps you are this Jerel, in which I think we would all vote a loud "YES"!
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070615130123AAbXWk1

Teresa Conrick

I have spoken on this quite a bit as it is close to my heart. Trudy deserves a memorial for her devotion to a very ill son and an extremely hard life.

I hope Sky is safe and his family can continue to try and help in his care. The amount of love and concern that Trudy had for Sky was beautiful.

Jerel Edmonds

Mandate pre-natal test and abortion for autism, problem solved.

John Gilmore

Thank you for recognizing Trudy Steuernagel and Sky Walker. I think their tragedy is something many of us feel on a visceral level. What will happen to Sky now without his mom? We need to keep them in our prayers and do what we can to see that families get the support they need, and to stop this scourge of autism.

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