While the internet is often a black hole, and articles published online can fade away after a news cycle or two—rarely to be read again—it is also a holding tank from which outdated and harmful articles can easily be retrieved.
Case in point: A filicide-excusing article from 2008, "Autism’s terrible toll: Parents risk hitting 'a breaking point,'" by Nancy Lofholm of the Denver Post, is apparently making the parenting group rounds again, according to writer and parent Jamie Pacton—and being shared with approval, damn it all.
Since the article does not have comments, and my email to the writer bounced, I'm posting my response here:
I read your article on Autism's Terrible Toll with some dismay. I am the parent of a high-support, non-speaking autistic teenager, Leo, and I really worry that articles like yours are doing families like mine a disservice by making murder of autistic people—that is, my Leo—seem somehow understandable.
I don't believe you mean harm, quite the opposite. But I also think articles like yours are the rarely-questioned status quo. With that in mind, I'd like to share a recent article I wrote on this topic, which breaks down the role reporters like yourself can play in protecting and valuing the lives of people like my Leo. It includes links and resources for parents who are going through tough times.
Thank you for listening,
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