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"The Dark Side of Autism" Violence, Assault, Police Interaction

From The Washington Post, a frank look at the reality of autism for thousands of families.  As the teens with autism age out this problem is going to grow. Cute little boys who punch are a far cry from adult men (and women) who can injure and even kill. Ask Trudy Steuernagel. We need better treatments so that our boys and girls, men and women on the spectrum receive proper care. We need to train law enforcement. And we need a national alarm to sound that the autism epidemic is very real.  The coming years will bring grave challenges. Violent does not mean criminal - but is our system able to tell the difference? And how do we teach and  protect our kids from the backlash?

In Va. assault case, anxious parents recognize 'dark side of autism'

The issue resonates not only with parents but with police. Every year, the International Association of Chiefs of Police picks one major issue to address at a national summit. In 2010, it was improving police response to people with mental illness and such conditions as autism.

"It has been a huge and significant part of our conversation in the last couple of years," said John Firman, director of research for the organization.

Firman, who participates in the Big Brother program, has a "little brother" with Asperger's. He said that when he goes out with the youngster, he sometimes wonders, "If anything would happen here, how would police deal with him?"

Among the summit's recommendations, Firman said, were that all officers be trained in how to deal with such people and that police work closely with families and community organizations.

Latson's case, however, was not a matter of a law enforcement officer being untrained, the prosecutor said. "This deputy has a 33-year-old mentally retarded child," Olsen said. "So the deputy is very sensitive to dealing with children with disabilities. He's lived it every day for the last 33 years."

Pained parents

On March 4, the jury found Latson guilty of four charges, including assault of a law enforcement officer and wounding in the commission of a felony. On May 19, he is scheduled to appear before Stafford County Circuit Court Judge Charles Sharp, who can accept or reduce the jury's recommended sentence.

Last week, prosecutors tried Latson on a breaking-and-entering charge related to an incident in 2009. In that case, prosecutors said, Latson rang the doorbell at a teenager's home. When the teen opened the door, Latson hit him and followed him inside. Latson pleaded guilty to assault last year. On Thursday, he was found guilty of breaking and entering.

"I'm not here to try to paint a pretty story about my son," but he is not the violent individual that Stafford authorities have depicted, said Latson's mother, Lisa Alexander. "Neli is not a danger to society. He doesn't belong in jail. He belongs at home."  Read the full article HERE.



Formerly neurotypical out-of-control Target druggies are worlds apart from involuntarily poisoned autistics with violent rages from aluminum and brain + gut inflammation. The parents probably didn’t have a choice either, and Fox News won’t say crumbs about the autism epidemic slowly and grotesquely swallowing our country whole. Every single state. No state is safe from the tsunami of violent autism nor psych ward torture that worsens aggression and SIB due to trauma. And nobody talks of prevention. Almost nobody.

For Claudia Sims


It may or may not be different to the victim but it can have a lot to do with the ACTUAL moral responsibility of the perpetrator for their acts. Not the same thing at all, and not simple.

Claudia Sims

I am so sick of the view that violence from some one with autism is any different to the ACTUAL victim than any other violence. The above story about getting attacked in Target by one of these out of control people is quite common. And if one calls the police just like you would for any other person, people want to paint you as the monster.

Violent does not mean criminal? Yes, it does. Yes it most certainly does.


I understand that this blog is a bit dated, but many of these tragic stories hit pretty close to home. I have NVLD with Dyslexia and PTSD. I did not receive these diagnoses or any kind of help until I was 23.
For the majority of my life I have known nothing but pain. From an outside observation, it's easy to assume I am melodramatic and seeking attention. I was rarely violent, unless it was in self defense after I was assaulted first. Most of the time I would avoid people in fear of potential danger, which would inadvertently cause it because kids are cruel to social outcasts, especially women. And they don't know when to stop. Unfortunately, female bullies use underhanded techniques and nonverbal warfare- the main weak point of those of us on the spectrum. They do it in such a way that positions of authority believe they are the victims of those they repeatedly harass. Numbers don't lie when they have enough friends on their side covering for them, and sometimes even joining in! That girl wasn't really minding her own business drawing, she is obviously the problem...
I was told recently, after not taking the bait from some toxic gossiping girls (that really pisses them off and so they retaliate...): "If everyone around you is an asshole then maybe you're the asshole".
At the time, I racked my brain trying to figure out how I am responsible for rumors being spread about me by girls I don't even know.
In solitude I mentally tried to revisit all interactions with the known gossipers who claimed to supposedly hate me. All our interactions, though limited, were friendly on a casual common courtesy setting. At least, that is what I thought? I never called any of them assholes, so that guy's comment seriously confused me at the time. I would try very hard to be nice to everyone, I just struggle to communicate my thoughts verbally and often missed nonverbal cues.
In recent years, I am finally getting real help and learning things I wish I knew years ago. It doesn't help that I am also a survivor of child abuse and neglect. On the surface I appear just fine.
With that being said, there are so many autism/asd/nvld folks out there who are not violent. We are frequent targets for mob violence by vicious, mean-spirited NT's that know and use the system. Your children pay in their blood and these "people" are gold in the public eye.

Christine kincaid

To: Shadow, Anonymous & Anoid;

I won’t be putting my 6’2”, 220 lbs, now physically violent (since puberty) 15 year old with severe, regressive autism in an institution or on psychotropics. As long as I am there; he won’t go after you anyway.

Sorry for sounding uncaring but honestly; I am DONE protecting the herd. I lost a daughter within 12 hours of her immunizations & my son regressed following the immunizations he received on his 2nd birthday. He is severely & permanently disabled.

We have already paid the ultimate price for the herd’s protection. When we came to you to ask for solidarity against these unimproved & dangerous vaccines you slammed the door in our faces. You worked & earned income & built lives while I suffered PTSD in abject poverty. You did not grieve with me & you do not help me.

I’m sure it’s pretty comfy in your bubble on the one-way street of herd immunity but I’m done contributing to it. I will not further compromise my children for you. My son’s a goddamned martyr & a national hero; you should feel honored to take one for the team ... or herd.

survivor for now

I finally realized my mom has aspergers.

At first i learned about narcissism, and it seemed like that. Now i know its aspergers. I here many with aspergers have both. Before i heard, when i learned of both - i thought, the causal factors are so close - they must have frequent comorbidity.

no one cared enough about my mom to figure it out until i did.

she is horrificly abusive.

our horrible biological relations, who dont care about her, crippled me. with a bit of her help. I am disabled, indigent, unable to work, and struggle to pay for basic medical bills for all my health problems. I have been homeless or near homeless most of my life. When i moved in with her, she threw me out.

I am NT except for severe PTSD.

I know that what has been posted about GI and diet here is true, and I know more. ASD kids are poisoned with neurotoxins - coming from within their own bodied, like the product of a ferment in their colon. It disrupts their function and impairs develpment and growth.

Stop feeding the neurotoxin production, starve the ferment process, and they get better.

I talked my mother into not eating bread anymore and she got hugely better. She is refusing to follow further on diet clean up, and now she is regressing eating bread and killing us b oth.

I am completely fincanaically dependent and she uses it to have power and control over me on power trips control trips ego trips and is very violent and loves to endanger me to punish me.

i lived in shelters for a year but i was too sick to be there they said "they would expidete my housing" in truth they never housed me or anyone else. I grew sicker and had to leave, forced into the street. I lived in the street until i was forced to crawling back to evil b iological relations. i now sleep in a half broken car they bought. I dont know why people wont help me, the sicker i have gotten now the harder it is and the more expensive. i dont know where to turn and am preparing t odie. the biological relations abuse is constant and completely intolerable they are just crippling me frther painfully. the brutality and cruelity is insane and consistent with the inhuman violence describe in this thread


My 14 year old son got assault charges on him today for pushing his teacher, he has been in Lou school settings since kindergarten they know these kids at these schools have mental disabilities and can get triggered and get out of control they are to help them to cope in school and know these risk when they work there , the school system is really falling children with mental disabilities charging a person with autism something they struggle with control of anger that is part of autism, they need help with coping skills not jail and fines the system is wrong for punishing them for being disabled , from a mom fighting the Giants for her child

nicole taggart

I have something to say .I have an autistic daughter that has bad aggression she is 14 and takes 7 medications . not helping anymore she has pushed me in front of big rigs almost got killed a bystander called the police they came out fast but did nothing but put her back in the car with me that is when she was 12 now she is having on going outburst and dislocated my hand pulled my hair out orders me around she went after the police with scissors bit and hit the teacher . theres more if I don't buy her what she wants at the store she charges after me .today she has everything and still wants more cannot take her any where . I'm afraid the police will shoot one day I'm trying to hold on to her.


Oh wow. Yes, I am the parent of a few autistic children ranging in age from 8-26. The legal issues are a very real concern and we have already spent quite a bit of money for the defense of our eldest child. He was taken to lockup because the officers thought he was on drugs and then proceeded over the following few days to deprive him of water or bring in public health to evaluate him. We were several states away and had to liquidate stocks to afford to go fetch him and bond him out. He is not a violent person but attempted to grab the tazer from the officer who was applying it to the base of his skull. Unfortunately there is not enough training to go around and obviously if a person attacks another person, then we all know what comes next...regardless of disabilities. I do not take issue with a person defending his/her self from someone who may injure them. We have had to have very real world talks with our 12 yr old Aspie who has explosive outburst. It is not too far outside of the box to think that this child will be arrested at school for a meltdown. I'm not saying I think that is okay but due to the lack of understanding, empathy, or fear of the situation, and related news coverage of like events, I see it happening all too easily. Services are virtually nonexistent and through increased therapeutic approaches, I am in high hopes of helping him reach a place that he can use coping skills to avoid these outburst. Of course we think all children should be taught right from wrong and aptly redirected no matter of the who/what. However, not all have the capacity to understand and no, you can't (at least in our state) institutionalize them.


As a parent of a student recently assaulted by a special needs autistic student, I can say that this is not something the schools can be relied upon to solve, and there is absolutely no justice for the victim except to hold the school accountable which basically amounts to nothing. Depending upon the severity, what choice is there except to involve law enforcement to fix a problem that was created at the top by well intentioned, highly-educated, morons.


I'm very sorry, and it is a terrible tragedy for anyone to be born with this severe disorder, but I will not allow myself or my loved ones to be harmed by someone mentally handicapped and not in control due to his/her brain damage. There is no way I would put myself or my family in danger in order to appease anyone, to make them feel better about the hell they're living in. I'm very sorry, as I said, and no person asks to be born with this disability, and those with autism cannot help it, but some can. I'll be the one dodging and shielding myself and my loved ones from harm.

Elisivah Lanelle

Dear Shadow,
I very unfortunately have to agree with your controversial comment; although I am Autistic. I, myself, am a violent Autistic. It takes someone with equal force and power to stop me when I am in a rage. The only non-violent therapeutic approach I have (as an adult) is to smoke marijuana and cigarettes and listen to music that matches my mood. But, I cannot do this in the midst of a rage while at work or in a public setting somewhere. I will tell other violent Autistic people what I told my children and what my dad told me, "If you don't learn to respect authority in this house, you will walk outside and the fuc**** police or someone else will shoot you!" Autistic folk... we are not authorized to beat every freakin' body up because the entire world is a trigger for us!!! The world does not revolve around us!!! To my non-violent Autistic brothers and sisters... I would love to have a serious talk with those who abuse you because they don't understand you!! Shame on them! "The meek shall inherit the Earth."

Jon Snow

The key to stop autistic aggression is to stop trying to control/force an autistic person to do things you want them to do. Don't bully us into your normalcy, we are already normal. If an autistic person wants to leave early, let them leave early. If that doesn't fit into your dream neurotypical scenario, maybe you should expand your own mind. You are the problem, not us. If I could tell you how many times I have been attacked and beat up in my life (note: I have never attacked, fought back, or hurt anyone) over conversations, you would be shocked.

Autistics are the victims, not the bullies. Yes there are some exceptions. But get that through your head.


This boggles my mind so much. I care about Autistic people, my son and my ex girlfriend who still lives with me due to the fact she'd be homeless without my help are both on the Autism spectrum. I want a world that teaches people to be compassionate and understanding about Autistic people... But I also want a world where Autistic people take more responsibility, because so often I see that they are so much more capable, and that their drive to achieve thier own wants and desires are severely hampered by the coddling everyone is expected to give them. Full disclosure, I suffer from BPD myself, I consider it a mental illness and disability, but its one that not many people have much empathy for. And I can't blame them. Sometimes people with BPD do horrible, horrible things. And I want us to be understood as well, but at the same time I'd never argue for a world where we never have to take the blame for our own tantrums, our own emotional, verbal and physical abuse. Everyone should be held accountable for thier own actions even if they have issues that don't make it entirely thier own fault. People should always be protected from violent (whether verbal, emotional or physical) abuse, and we need to put far more money into a comprehensive mental health system that is not wracked with shame and guilt. Furthermore we need to make sure that no one with Autism should have to fear being put out on the street or not recieving decent, humane and effective mental and physical health care. It won't stop all the problems but we need to make situations where caregivers can leave if thier lives are in danger and the person being cared for doesn't have to fear being pushed out in the street or ending up in Jail. Right now though, there's little if none of that, at least nothing dependable. And so I'm stuck in a situation where most of the time things are okay, but eventually due to my own communication problems, inability to empathize, and my constant splitting (seeing things in black or white terms) conflicts and makes her own issues worse. Our friendship is a ticking time bomb and, if left as is indefinately, well I'll either be beaten to death one day, or have incurred so much verbal and psycholocial abuse in retaliation after I trigger her from something I did (for which no amount of apologizing and reassurance can help her get out of her tantrum state), that I'll end up killing myself, or maybe even vice versa if I end up guilt tripping her and she retreats into a shell and develops suicidal tendancies herself. There seems to be no solution, and I'm frightened for us both. I know she doesn't want to cause me any harm and loves me and I feel the same about her, in our sane moments we are loving and understanding about each other disabilities. But it can't go on like this forever, we'll be burnt out or triggered beyond repair at some point, its just simple statistics.

Something else I really think everyone needs to understand is that in oppressed communities like ours (also compunded by the oppression that we are both transsexual lesbians), is that often we are left on our own to take care of each other. And we have far less resources, energy, and paitience than neurotypical people who aren't oppressed for thier gender, social standing, econimic standing etc. Sorry I'm not sure there is a point to this. Just sad that my life is over and there's no escape unless I want to abandon my best friend, and quite sure she feels the same way about me.


Hi Evan Brees;
You differentiate yourself from your sister by saying she is "three". Yet she is not three . She is a full grown adult with autism. Even though you may not like the words "full blown autism" some could say that describing an adult , no matter, their deficits, as "three" could also be considered offensive.
Just saying. We all seem to want to use words to explain the difference between the behaviors and skill sets of people who are like yourself, and the behaviors and skill sets of people who are like your sister. And you seem to want to use words to do that too.
I agree with you that often people with low IQ can have great wisdom and can be wonderful people with a lot of love to share and teach.
My neighbor had surgery and her mentally disabled brother ( not autism, it was a birth injury) is being very kind, helping with dishes etc. He is also raging at her son, and has hit her at least once.
I watched a pregnant nursing assistant get hit in the stomach once by an elderly man with altzheimers . She lost her baby. He did not know what he was doing, but the injury caused life long harm to her and her family. He was innocent, but he was violent.
I am wondering; what happened to the people who your sister injured? Did you ever find out? Or was it okay in your mind that they got hurt, as long as your sister was being cared for by strangers who were willing to be injured and damaged by her? I notice that none of her three siblings ( you and your two NT siblings) have chosen to care for her? Why?
What would you do if the group home closed?
There are many people, autism and NTs with major rage issues. Hormonal imblances, and mental illnesses for example can also cause challenges like that. It seems to me that while you are certainly facing more challenges with sensory overload, it is still your job to, as much as you can, limit the damage you do to others. Walking away, shutting yourself in a bathroom stall until you have calmed down, can be helpful. ( One place where people won't disturb you, and you can rock etc in peace, for as long as you need.)
My youngest son had issues with uncontrollable temper when younger; we taught him from when he was very small to get away from people and calm down. It works well for him. We also taught him that he is responsible for trying to fix or replace anything he breaks or harms after it is over. We also taught him to hit pillows when young. You can't break them. He has not had any issues now for years.

And IMO if you are breaking other peoples things, you need to fix them or buy new ones to the best of your ability when your tantrum is over also. At the very least, you owe a heart felt apology.
We all live within the constraints of our challenges. IMO it is our responsibility to live the best we can, and as kindly as possible to other people within those constraints.

Evan Brees

And by the way... what on Earth is Full Blown Autism? Can we PLEASE get away from such nonsensical phrases? Is that like Full Blown AIDS? Full Blown no matter the context has no clinical meaning whatsoever and is offensive. At least to me. And many others. I would be grateful if you could observe some accuracy in your speech--another common complaint of autistic people toward NT's. You think you are being specific when you really are not. You think you are using accurate language when you really aren't. Full Blown Autism? Come on.

Evan Brees

Greetings all. I want to respond to some of the comments here. I feel I am uniquely qualified. I hope you will bear with me and try to not give any knee jerk reactions. Please take the time to consider what I am trying to say before making up your mind about it.

I am an autistic adult, diagnosed by qualified medical doctors on referral from a long term therapist I originally sought to try and deal with relationship issues. Go figure. I am blessed with a high IQ, but this often just fools people into thinking I shouldn't have any problems coping with everyday life. IQ helps, certainly, with being able to live an independent life. Which I do. Albeit a mostly solitary one. My sister, on the other hand, is not so lucky. She will be forever 3, barring miraculous breakthroughs (she deals with autism among other significant problems--I am NOT in favor of a "cure" for autism, and VOCIFEROUSLY disapprove of the focus on causes and cures rather than on helping educate the public and support real live human beings struggling right now with almost no help on their own... and their families, but anyway...)

So I hope that squelches any doubt on my perspective.

I have been accused of being aggressive. I am not. At all. One thing this article got right is the lack of choice. Sometimes sensory overload and/or intense socio-environmental stress creates impulses I am not even aware of until after the fact--despite my high IQ, which frankly has nothing to do with anything when it comes to behaviors like this. If people knew what was happening and understood it, such episodes would not escalate to that point. In particular when dealing with police or bosses. But people feel threatened, or others may feel I am posing a threat, if I am agitated for some reason. What people generally do is the worse possible thing they could do. They become intensively involved with me, which only makes it impossible for me to calm down and think more rationally. Further, my behavioral tics, such as rocking, fidgeting, flaking, exaggerated "affect", and such only draw more intense scrutiny, when ironically if I was left alone, these behaviors alone would let me come back to clarity.

My sister has, over the course of her life in group homes, inflicted serious bodily injuries to staff as well as property damage. And she is not violent either. She cannot be blamed. She is blameless. Completely innocent. And to me and my "normal" brother and sister, we wonder if she isn't actually the wisest of us all at times.

You can call this a "dark side" of autism if it pleases you. To me it feel sensationalistic and a little demeaning.

Abbey Garcia

This isn't coming from a parent, but as a caregiver for people with special needs with five years of experience, I have quite a bit to say. One of the first things we are taught is that autism is truly a terrible disorder. Not just for the people caring for them, but for the individuals themselves. Imagine being trapped in a body that doesn't listen to you. Not being able to communicate simple messages like hunger or pain. Not being able to stand certain environments or textures because of complete overstimulation. It sounds like a nightmare, doesn't it? Now imagine living that same nightmare every single day for the entirety of your life. When outbursts occur, remember that these people are not trying to hurt you; their bodies are communicating something that their voices can't. It's so difficult not to take it personally or feel scared of people with aggressive behaviors, but it helps to remind yourself that it's just an impulse of their body, not a choice. It's like when we jump if we're startled. We can't control it, it just happens involuntarily. It's an impulse. I recently spent a week with a young lady with autism who had severely aggressive behaviors. She left me with about half of my hair, huge bald spots, and about a dozen flesh-deep bite marks all over my body. But even with all of that, she still deserves to be treated like a human being. Because she's in there somewhere, and she feels awful that she can't control herself. People with autism are facing such a huge struggle, and in the next few years, the government will be forced to deal with them. Until then, it is important that we treat them with compassion. For their sake. No matter how difficult or painful or stressful it is for us, understand that they are dealing with so much worse.

Pam Joukema

I am a mother of a 17 year old daughter, she was always friendly to anyone her whole life. Looking at her, she is beautiful, tall with long legs and brown hair and eyes to match. She is now boy crazy, and takes off with strangers. Being her rights have been given to her since she was 15 by people trying to help her and my family? She now thinks she can just go and leave anytime she wants. It has resulted in rape, several times. Teen boys and young adult men pretending to be her friend and she believes them. She has no survival skills and does not know how to get herself out of a dangerous position, nor half the time, does not realize she is going into one. In 5 months she will be 18. And then she will be allowed by law to leave with 10 guys if she so chooses. She is also suffering from brain damage, where it affects her reasoning skills and long term memory and short term memory. She is a mimic and copies all the teens around her, what ever she hears, but has no idea to keep it to herself. I used to get embarrassed, now I just shrug it off, but now am rushing with no money or help or ODSP..anything to try to deem her unable to take care of herself. She is unable to attend school because it is dangerous for her , kids take advantage of her, and because she can read and write, they assume she can comprehend what she is reading. No she cannot. To her it is a skill, but it puts her in classes with behavioural, which cause 4 attacks just on one bus, a mini bus. There are no safe places for her to live her life out, nor will she be ever able to take care of a child, let alone herself. I do not want someone, who is doing their job... to come and tell her again, how she can live on her own at 18. I know if she leaves, I will never see her alive again. She is my baby...with no funding and one income and 5 kids, with me unable to work because of fear of her not being home when I get there? Can't live in the city, nor town houses, or apartments for fear of her inability of direction or knowing how far things are, or to call when you need help. Before the brain damage , she knew to go to stores or a house if she got lost. And she did that once, and I was so proud of her for thinking. But with the brain damage and hormones kicking in high gear, I cannot stop the system or afford to fight it. I cannot even make my daughter take a med, nor go for a capicity assessment if she does not want to, thanks for all the info schools! Police who found her when she went missing? I feel if she lives on her own, she will be robbed , raped, beaten and killed eventually. There is no stranger danger in her head at all. Was told the damage and where it is has killed her reasoning skills and long term and short term memory. Although she still walks and talks,but was paralyzed after the stroke for at least 5 days. She was a miracle and counted my blessings she was still alive. But is she? My husband and I do not talk much anymore, daily stresses of trying to keep her busy in a small town with nothing and one car between us and him having a full time job, has made our lives a living hell. But to have her put away with strangers and her rights to walk out and disappear, is serious at this age. At this age she can disappear and the home that she resides in will just fill her slot. My daughter is dead meat, because of money!!! NO trained officials in Aspergers have seen her, just brain specialists and blood doctors. No buses to get anywhere? An hour away from all cities, but this town is full of teens and young men that are jobless and have nothing better to do then to say, I like you Jamie, come and visit me. And they only use her. She is getting angry, but not at them like she should, at me? For protecting her and trying to teach her, which with her rights read to her, refuses to learn anymore. Does not listen and just walks out the door. NO papers have been provided to me to show the police. And when the police picked her up? They said straight out, she doesn't look autistic? I didn't know that they had to look a certain way?? God Help My Daughter and My family, no help for me to help her, and we are loosing everything on top of it, and I know my husband hates that I do not help out financially, but also knows I cannot just leave and go work somewhere either. Mild depression??? How about if she leaves my home, and disappears with a man and I have no rights to find her? How about my life? My heart , knowing that because of government cutbacks for Asperger teens, and no schooling that she can do, because she is not provided a E.A to help her? Now I know why she says to me , mom I should of died! And yes I am crying now, cause I can hear those words. IF only I had a farm with horses, that is her love, horses, since she was little, and teach her how to take care of them to make aliving. Animals and her understand one another, and they take to her readily. What a waste of a human being!! Pray that I can save her or win a lottery, so that my daughter matters too! No one else seems to care about her? If she walks out that door, you will see my husband and myself split up and end up in a institution ourselves. I can only be so strong, and I am trying to be strong for the whole family. The system is going to kill my beautiful child that loves animals and can work with them better then anyone I have ever seen. Someone help!!! We live in Ontario, and unless you are a millionaire? WE have to sit here and watch her get killed. What makes me sick is that the world is kinder to a dog that has been abused and it makes the papers, but to a young girl with Aspergers? Nothing

Managing Editor for Anon

Anonymous, hi, I'm Kim. I'm Managing Editor here. In fact, I am also Mom to a 14 year old, an 18 year and a 20 year old with severe autism. The kind that makes them unable to type things like "FUCK. THIS. ENTIRE. SITE." If you take a moment to breathe - you will see that we are fighting for your rights - for your safety - for your inclusion in the world. We stand up at every opportunity to advocate for our children on the spectrum. I hope that your Mom and Dad are doing the same for you. And I wish you well. Kim


Fuck. This. Entire. Site. None of you would understand Autism unless you walked the path of many Teens who suffer through it from the growing ages of 13 to 17. The Parents do not understand nor do the Authorities. We're a Social Outcast to the ones who can never fully understand how we feel. This is apparently seen as "Behavoral Issues" to a lot of parents as they try and raise Young Teens with Autism. Until you live the lives of what you own children go through, You have NO right to say that Autism has a Dark Side. I live the life of Aspergers, how many Adults can say the same? How many Teens know what I go through? Dare comment on this post, and tell me if a 17 year old Adolescent is wrong. Tell me. I've experienced it. Have you?

Linda1 for Amanda

I want to add, to gain more insight into what happened to you and what families with autism are going through, I hope you will see the excellent documentary, "Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis".


Dear Amanda,
I too, hope you are ok. Thankfully, you walked away, but that man and his mother live with this 24/7, as do thousands of other families, more every day. I hope you will join in the movement to find a cure, the cause(s) and prevention, and to provide much needed community support. Because as of now, our government and public health officials are pretty much ignoring autism. They're going crazy, whipping up mass hysteria over a few cases of measles, while the autism epidemic goes unrecognized. In some places this is affecting 1 in 27 boys. We don't even have accurate figures because the CDC isn't counting current cases and when they do count, the stats come from I think 11 communities that they use as a representative sample. They are completely ignoring autism. You now know first hand how serious this epidemic is and it's only going to get worse. Please understand that this man who attacked you is very, very sick and desperately needs help that he is not getting.

Stagmom for Amanda

Amanda, I'm sorry and hope you are OK. It'a a parent's worst fear - and most parents work day and night to give our kids proper skills. I fear many of our young men will end up in institutions including jail as a result of their autism.

Kim, Managing Editor AofA


i was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack by a fully grown, non-verbal autistic man two nights ago. i was shopping at target, standing totally still trying to find an eyebrow brush. i wasn't moving, wasn't making any sounds or gestures, and i was alone.

this 6'4 man in his mid-20s simply walked up to me grabbed my by the throat and stared choking me. his tiny mother who had been about fifteen to twenty feet behind him rushed up and started pulling on his elbow while he was squeezing my throat and digging his nails into my skin. i grabbed his hand and tried to pull it off my throat at the same time, which just made him dig in harder. he was so strong! we pulled him off, and i was left with bloody scratches on my neck.

i had never seen either of these people before.

the mother had a laminated alphabet board which she used to start frantically spelling out "i am sorry" on his behalf, but he wrenched away from her and took off down another aisle. she said "i don't know what set him off..." and went after him.

i was a victim of assault. in this case "it's not a matter of time before he hurts someone." he hurt me. he shattered my safe bubble. he scared me. i was just trying to buy a makeup brush. i don't know what his intent was.

Desiree Henslee

Kids with ASD don't understand violence as we do, much less the justice system. It is a neurological problem, not problem children.


Violence is still violence, regardless of the may cclaim that there was no criminal intent, but the outcome is still criminal if i am injured or killed because i did not run away as soon as i saw your autistic kid coming towards me or was taken by surprise by one on the exactly are the rest of us suppose to be understanding and supportive and become educated about people on the spectrum when our safety is a concern...i am not going to take it lying down or knocked down because your kid OR adult is out of control and you want to flip a plastic coated card at me, which says autism is to blame...those cards are for shit as a bandage or as a shield from blows in the theater or grocery store or parking lot of my apartment complex or bus stop or church or as i attempt to pickup a non-autistic child from school...and i have to be extra vigilant as autism now has "epidemic" not even ty that disability claim when your autistic is the reason for my hospital visit


I wont even read that the other comments , but I will say I have a 10 year old son with Asperger's syndrome a form of autism alone with Odd and Mood disorder . I do agree that police officers need to be trained better to deal with these kind of cases . Only cause I have had to call the police myself for help with my son fighting me and many times really hurt me because he does not know how strong he really is. I had some very nice cops show up and deal with it and then again I have had some cops that show up while im having to restrain my son and think im totally wrong and tell me things they know nothing of !! I have had a paramedic tell one office to stop telling me not to talk to my son because he thought what I was saying was wrong . When the paramedic said shhh she knows what she is saying . I told the officer that you cant just expect him to understand what your saying with out being blunt with him and letting him know what will happen to him if what he was doing kept on. Children like my son , most off at his age don't get the in between stuff . You have to be open with then and let them know the truth and how things have to work . But Just a mother dealing with her son saying some cops need to learn more before they jump in, because a mother restraining her child is not abuse , its helping him not to hurt himself or others. I am always full of bruises having to restrain my son. But I leave no marks on him . And that's how it should be!! Just saying !!


I'm a care giver and just recently have my hours changed from 40 a week to about 70. The other care giver had quit with no notice and no one will accept a job with this person. By the end of the week I find myself drinking(alcohol) way more than someone should. I can't sleep more than two hours a night and I constantly feel like I'm going to be attacked in my own house. Is there any advice someone can give to me. I've gone to see a doctor and they diagnosed me with mild depression. All this worry and trouble for 8 bucks an hour isn't worth it but I can't quit, his parents are elderly and I couldn't allow them to be harmed because of this individual.


"My son /daughter came home with a massive bruise from the respite centre / school" people obviously if your son/daughter is trying to attack the carers they will have to restrain them (hold them by their arms until they calm down and aren't dangerous for other people.! None of the family ever talks or moans about the bruises, bites, pulled air, spitting tantrums and so on the carers have to endure for you people to just complain about how evil the centres that look after YOUR kid. If your kid is violent at home more than likely they will be towards the poor carer that's receiving £6.50 and hour to be a punching bag!
This is a job I wish I never ever have to do again! Poorly paid and specially poorly appreciated. This has put me off having kids so bad as well! I really feel sorry for all the mums and dads and other family who have to LIVE in the same house as autistic one should have to go through that! I mean the stories I' know: being woken up by someone attacking you, having your whole house and belongings destroyed/ thrown at you, them shitting on the floor and then smearing your house in shit and some even trowing it at you! Damn! People, you don't and shouldn't have to endure that! Just do yourself a favour before you become depressed and ill or seriously hurt : put your son/daughter in care and for once appreciate the carers work. None of the carers will think you are a bad person for doing it. They have first hand experience and appreciate it is extremely hard and mentally/physically draining. At least carers can go home at the end of their shifts (traumatized and constantly stressed) but you live in this situation 24/7.. I applauded you and think you should have recognition but also think you have to care about yourself and the rest of your family (other siblings ) , autistic kids mostly just think about their needs, they don't care if you are tired, if their sister is sick an so on, they will just keep on pushing boundaries and try to get their own way .. Yes, they can be affectionate sometimes but 5 min later they are threatening to kill you! And you never know when they actually mean it!
I must say sometimes I'm even scared to walk on the street.. With so many violent disabled kids/adults out there you never know when you will strike their eye and they'll have an outburst at you . People even drive cars and vans with these violent people knowing it is a risk to themselves and the whole society, the amount of people who nearly had accidents and probably have because they have been hit whilst driving is crazy..
This subject can really make me talk! But it's time to shut up now..
On a last note, I wish you people who have this hard job the best of luck and just wish you start thinking about yourselves and the whole community as well.


Someone once commented that their kid built up to a lot of aggression and then had a seizure and became calm for a while. That it became so bad they wanted their child to have a grand mal.
Something to check out and not as easy to get them to pay attention or properly check either. I think any kid that a parent is saying they think migh have seizures ahould be checked long term and not some little five minute EEG.

For S Wilkinson

In our case simply managing to bring back a gluten-free diet - despite institutional resistance - resulted a massive reduction in distressing symptoms. We wondered whether he was suffering from esophagitis for one thing.

S. Wilkinson

My autistic, non-verbal son is now almost 19 and his violent outbursts have gotten worse. My 16 year old daughter and I just spent close to an hour battling his attacks that spilled out of the house like a bad episode of Jerry Springer. I had to call for help from his father. I fear that there is something medical related to this, seizures, or something we have not been able to determine. I'm wondering if anyone on this site has had any luck finding anything medical behind the sudden, random outbursts (there is no detectable pattern)....? Any insight would be so appreciated.........


Lost and Afraid,

My nephew must live at a residential center because of his violent outbursts. He was waking his mother every night by beating her. No warning, he'd just attack.

The decision was not an easy one for her, but it is the only one that made sense. There were also elderly people (my father) and children (his niece and nephews) who were being harmed.

He seems much happier these days with day-to-day life where he can adhere to structure and a strict routine. In fact, he's happier than I've ever seen him.

He is nonverbal. extremely aggressive and at age 14, still not potty trained. Sometimes the toughest decision is the right decision. There was a great deal of grief in the process, but I think the decision saved a family.

I also have a son with autism and hope that I never have to make such a decision.

Teresa Conrick

Dear Lost and Afraid,

I understand your feelings but please know that for many children, teens and adults with severe autism and aggression, it is pain and often infection that can drive the behaviors that you see.

GI issues, food allergies, bacterial, viral and parasitic infections may be the epicenter of what you see. Finding a doctor who tests and treats would be key. Many are seeing autism as a disorder of the immune system, the corrrect research, rather than a psychiatric disorder. You can google "Stop calling it autism' as a group to refer to or read up on autism and pandas/pans.

These are medical issues for many and the more severe the behaviors, the more severe for these kids.

Best of luck to you and your family.

Lost and Afraid

I have a 16-year-old brother-in-law with severe autism, and he gets very violent on almost a daily basis. I didn't have any experience with autism before him, and my wife and mother-in-law seem to forget this, as now I'm not even allowed to say anything to him when he's doing something wrong. I've been accused of being at fault for his outbursts of violence, and I've been threatened by members of my wife's family with physical violence if they hear about me treating him that way again. His father took his own life last year, and since then it's gotten worse and worse. Now this kid who can't even communicate that he has to go to the bathroom until he's shit his pants, has this huge emotional trauma to deal with. And since his mother had to go to work to provide for the family, my wife got stuck watching him almost every day, so now I have this violent person in my home at least four or five days a week. I fear for the safety of my one-year-old daughter, who he has already hit once before (and I got blamed for that incident).
There are no resources for people in my position. I've tried doing research online about the link between autism and violence, and how to deal with it. Everything I've found is useless. Some of the articles sugar-coat the problem by coming out with statistics about how violence is only present in 3% of autistics. Well, that's fantastic for the other 97%, but what am I supposed to do the next time I get head-butted in the chest because I won't let him run out of my apartment before everyone else is ready to go? The rest of the articles I've found are terrifying, like the story of Trudy Steurnagel, who was beaten to death by her autistic son.
I don't know what to do. My wife and mother-in-law think that he'll come out of the autism to a degree, but I don't see it. They're basing this hope on my sister-in-law coming out of her shell to a degree, but she only has Aspberger's and not full-blown autism. On top of that, in the eight years I've known him I've only ever seen him get worse. It has me wondering what would have to happen before they finally admit he's dangerous. Does someone have to get seriously injured in one of his attacks?
I'm trying not to resent him, but it's becoming increasingly difficult. His violent behavior towards everyone around him has me afraid for my daughter's safety. Because my wife is stuck watching him constantly, she can't get a job, and we're struggling financially. Any time I try to talk to her about the situation, I'm either met with hostility or silence.

Danny camacho

This is a very very tough life to live in dealing with the anger and violence that comes one day for a permanent stay in our child's lives. I am going through lots of these stories on a daily basis, he hits walls kicks, hits windows then us for trying to keep him safe, I have to wrestle my son down once a week to keep him safe from himself, this match lasts 45 minutes to the tee, every time, looking at home placement, I vowed to keep him till the day I died, never thought that it would actually be till HE died, but he did, my son is gone deeper and deeper Into autisms grip, and was replaced with an angry angry stranger whom I no longer know, god bless all who are living this life

Norma Shultz

My 12 yr old son, who has Autism/epilepsy, seems to go thru a stage where he see's/hears things. Generally followed by the pupils dilating so as we cannot see the blue of his eyes and then he becomes incrediably violent.... The Dr's have ruled out Temperal lobe epilepsy, leaving us with just the diagnosis of Autism. I simply do not know what to do...
Can somebody help us????


Blake and Michele

I feel that I can relate to you so much. My severely autistic 19 y/o brother, Danny is very violent and destructive. Anything can trigger his fits. Most of the time his aggression is aimed at me and my other brother who are both living at home and over the age of 21. Everyday is a struggle. If I try just having a normal conversation with my mom or dad in Danny's presence it will lead to his violent intruption /outburst and it never ends well. Family car rides are out of the question now. My arms are bruised because he is constantly pinching or slapping me. And my parents do NOTHING. They continue to make excuses for his actions and I feel that they are not getting him enough help. They say that he sees the same psychiatrist for 3 years/and psychologist but no real improvements are being made. What do we do? Danny is not a cute little boy anymore. He is well over 220 lbs, and about 5'8. I am just waiting for the day when someone is sent to the hospital due to his violence. And then what will the excuse be? I love Danny an I love my parents, but if it doesn't get better i feel that I will move out someday and never come around... Not even to help because I don't feel safe. Don't tell me I'm selfish or insensitive either because I have lived with him my entire life and have been very patient and tolerant with him. It is just that now I fear for the safety of my parents, my other brother and myself.
I would love to speak to someone who feels the same way in further detail. Please let me know


I am scared. Scared for my child and yes scared for me. I don't know how much longer I can do this. I have done as much as humanly possible and what my consultants have told me to do. I have been a true partner to all of my son's educators and have been grateful for their support. 90% of the time he is fine, in his own world maybe, talking to himself but fine. Then comes the meltdown. Something that he wants that he's not allowed to have or the school vacation is over and he has to go back. Yes, medications are given but do they work? mabye, sometimes, I don't know. If we switch meds or change doses we have a huge problem and could lead to more aggression. How I would love to see a baseline with no meds but he would have to be hospitalized for that. It all started with the f#@&$#@ Thomas the train. Although not allowed to have it, still obsessed and still watches all the movies in his head. Would it be easier to just let him do what he wants? Let the school be a babysitter? If he's not independent and learns for himself, who will care for him when I am dead? That is the thought that drives me. I am so tired and so burnt. Where is the "father" you ask? He's around does what he can but he's a supporting actor in this drama and I am the lead. So tired...Happy Autism Awareness day...Light it up Blue!!! Autism Sucks! Thanks for reading.


I have worked with adults challenged with developmentmental, physical and mental disabilities for ten years.

Right now, I have a bloody leg from am attack yesterday. Today, that individual took out a window.

Most of the clients I have worked with have not been violent. However, the ones that are, traumatize staff, injure staff and others. Those, other individuals who already have been through bloody hell.

I don't have the answer for this, but we all have to

come up with a game plan soon!

Staff are so poorly paid, most of us scrape by to pay rent. I have not had enough money to eat at times. I sometimes am worried I won't be able to put fuel in the car to get to work.

I truly care for the individuals I serve, as I know the families love adore, and cheering their special needs adult children. There are many blessings each one gives to the world. Although, I agree that police intervention is not the most helpful strategy, we have to come up with something.

We teach people in our society, it is wrong to injure, assult, and kill. We teach people it is wrong when someone does that to you. We can not keep allowing the violence to continue, it is harmful to everyone.

I know there must be creative answers we can find. Excusing violence is never okay. I appreciate this conversation. We need to stop being afraid of it.

Blake P. Jordan

My issue is this. My little brother has autism and can really aggressive when he doesn't get his way.
He once bit me and left a huge scar when I asked why my little sister was crying. Truly it's a pain
To deal with because it's gotten to the point I have to walk on egg shells around my house even though I'm a 22 year old man. I can't even watch my own tv that I paid money for in our room or he'll come out and say to my parents "I don't like my brothers", or "I'm gonna hurt Blake really bad mom". It's truly a cluster fuck and I honestly feel hurt because I really don't do anything to him. I don't cuss around the house,
I even have to leave the house to call my friends on the phone or he'll say I'm cussing which I have honestly not done around him. he does have a tendency to have bad fits of rage and even throw or hit people in the family. What does one do about an issue it's hurting me, my family and to some degree I dont know if I want to have kids in the future because I fear having an autistic child.


I know that this may sound strange to you but why don't they have a clothing store for just people with autism? That has clothes that say I'm autistic so people don't over react. From what I'm told there are no more mental hospitals, or institutions. The government doesn't want to babysit these people. Now they are sent home, and services don't always work. The middle class can not get medicaid for support. The institutions, and mental hospitals were shut down because of abuse, and deaths that happened there. The first poster is an awful person to talk like that. How would you feel to have a child you can't talk to, and then find out society wants to just toss them aside. Worse yet send them to a government institution knowing they could be treated worse than dogs. Guess what autism is not a mystery it is a poison, and nobody has the right to determine who lives or dies. When all these autistic kids interrupt your schools, destroy your buildings, and wreck havoc on those who think they can control them then maybe this will stop. With autism nobody will ever get a good nights rest. Even if you don't have autism everyones lives will be affected by it. To many people, and government thinks they can keep on ignoring it.


Going to be the voice of dissent here. If you don't want your special needs child to get his/her head blown off for threatening to kill everyone in an unmedicated rage, then you need to have that child institutionalized. Personally, if I got attacked by an autistic or schizophrenic person, I wouldn't care what was wrong with their heads. My only concern would be staying alive and if I felt threatened, I would shoot regardless of the attacker's sanity.

It's unrealistic to expect everyone to kowtow to your children. People might be a bit more forgiving if a 5-year-old autistic child has a tantrum, but when that child is 25 years old, 200 pounds and is beating a random person bloody...not so forgiving. Despite what anyone says, these violent autistics ARE dangerous to society. Just because they may not have control over their behavior doesn't mean they can't hurt or kill someone. That's like saying, "Don't put down a rabid dog because he can't help how he is." It may not be their fault, but they still pose a threat to the rest of us.

And unfortunately, while the autistic's parents may be accustomed to abuse and pain from their children, everyone else will not be. If you don't want your kids to end up dead or in jail, I strongly suggest putting these special needs children and adults into mental hospitals and keeping them there. You can campaign to the public and train the police all you want, but if your child messes with the wrong person, they may very well end up with a bullet between their eyes because you expect the rest of the world to conform to your child's needs.

Dorothy buck

My 16 yr old autistic is becoming very violent towards me , his mother and I am terrified . On Xmas day he got my neck and strangled me leaving welts feeling like he was going to snap my neck in an instant. He was always extremely anxious, but Nvr acted out at me. I am terrified what will be next and how do I handle this . He has no ideawhat an injury or death means. Once calming down after giving him medication, just repeats I'm sorry mommy all day long . I am a single mother and he is bigger than me already. Where do we go from here . There is no homes that r trust worthy and the only good one r for rich people!!!!

Managing Editor for Peter

Peter, hi, I'm Kim, I'm Managing Editor here and I have three girls with full autism. I'm so glad you commented. No, Asperger's is not full blown autism. That's not to say many people with Asperger's don't face tremendous challenges in social and employment and even legal/police situations. It is a difficult balancing act to get help for those who need it, while respecting those who do not. We're mindful of that.

Thanks for commenting here - do come back, we value your opinion.



I am 14 and have been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. I am pretty much just like any other teen. I know that there are plenty of other people who have a more major dose of autism, but NOT EVERYONE DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM IS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPAIRED IN COMMUNICATION/OTHER SKILLS! That annoys me the most, people assuming that if you have autism, you have a major dose. That's not true. I do everything else a normal 14 year old does, I play basketball, use the computer, etc. I'm very good with computers-- I'm currently working on learning C++, if you don't know what that is then I'm definitely better with computers... ;) I do not go To a therapist, I take a minamal amount of medicine, 20mg Fluoxitine (I have no idea if I spelled that right :)) per day. Bottom line is: Autism does not necessarily mean that your severely impaired, its possible, but not definite.

Mary Shofi Volpe

The safety of our now 21 year old son with autism is constantly on our minds as his parents, and has been since he was a young child. Now that he is 6 feet 2 inches and 240 pounds and at times exhibits strange behaviors that might mimic someone on drugs who is dangerous, we worry anytime he is not in our presence. Police need training in this very important area. Our son has a medical bracelet, but is the policeman going to look at it before he shoots? In our crazy world today in which so many policemen have been killed by crazed people, they are rightfully scared of those who might appear menacing. In the case of our son and other disabled persons who might act out strangely, but who are not dangerous, it is imperative that law enforcement and the populace in general become more aware of these innocent and vulnerable members of our society.

Marie-Anne Denayer, M.D.

It is scary. The skin of my arms and neck is crisscrossed by scars that have accumulated over 20 years of scratching, biting and pinching. I have a permanently numb thumb due to a bite that severed a nerve. I have been kicked, I have had my hair pulled...The frustration caused by her inability to communicate effectively causes my daughter to lash out.
Once she calms down she gives me hugs and smiles that make my heart melt.
What will come of my daughter when I am too old to keep up with her?


Sadly we will see more of this. My son has some aggression issues and he is six years old and minimally verbal. He has two other kiddos in his kindergarten class that have aggression. The fact is, these kids didn't exist a couple decades ago, or it was very rare. I worry about the future every day. Don't get me wrong, we are doing everything in our power to curb the behaviors and heal him, but sometimes it's not enough. When will people wake up to this problem? Personally I think we will see A LOT more backlash before any positive changes occur.

John Stone

It is obviously the money that is going to be the issue. No reason given the proliferation of the problem why we cannot develop the culture and experience, or in an age of high unemployment not find the manpower. It is the public will, which is why we have to challenge the official lies at every turn.

Social Barbarism

Some years ago our 14 year-old son was returned home from the local respite service after a weekend stay. Two gigantic male support workers stood menacingly in the door way of our house, one spherical like a ball, the other over 7 feet tall: the ball announced, waving a finger at me 'That boy: he very badly behaved!'. Later on when our son was having a bath we found a huge bruise, in the range of 7x4 inches on his upper arm. The respite service blamed it on the school, although he had been in their care for two days without them saying anything, and the child protection enquiry got nowhere. Fortunately, he had come there from school and the respite people at least admitted he had the bruise in their care, otherwise we might easily have been scapegoated ourselves.

It is very clear that unless there are adequately funded sensitive specialist services, that very bad things will keep on happening.

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