Community Magazine

Alex Spourdalakis: a Death in the Family

By Matthewspuzzle @matthewspuzzle

Many of my readers are not autism parents or caregivers so they have no idea what it means to care for a severely autistic child. Luckily I don’t even know what it means to deal with a severely autistic child. In the past I have had to deal with some very difficult behaviors, but I’ve always had the support of my husband, I’ve always had a good home, and I’ve always had the money to locate the next service or therapy. Yet there have been horrible times where I knew I could not carry on if things did not improve, if things did not get better. The strain was too great.

Taking the life of another human being is NEVER the right thing to do. Never. But that poor family was so distraught they were no longer whole. Alex Spourdalakis was not an easy child to live with and his mother was at her wits end. Obviously she was, what else would drive her to such drastic and heinous measures? I can not imagine what she dealt with on a daily basis. And I ask you, do not judge this woman if you have not lived her life. It was terrible. Those things that make you angry or upset in your normal daily life are NOTHING, absolutely nothing, compared to what this family lived every single minute of every single day.

The autism community tried to help the Spourdalakis family. They tried to raise awareness, to bring resources to this family that could truly help them. That could help Alex heal. Alex was taken to the hospital many times and at one such visit it was brought to light that even though the child was obviously in pain the hospital in question would not treat his symptoms, instead saying he needed psychiatric drugs to treat him mentally. Autistic children DO get sick. Just because they have autism does not mean that they can’t get ill, and when they do get ill they should be treated accordingly, instead of having it assumed it is all part of their autistic symptoms. Mrs. Spourdalakis knew her child was sick and begged the hospital to help and yet they ignored her requests and kept Alex bound, naked to a hospital bed.

This was their life. They lived in motels. Alex was violent and his mother needed to call the police to have him transported to the hospital when he was sick. She had no respite, no help. And it seems as if she felt she had no other options. Alex was in pain and Alex deserved better.

Alex did not have to die. His family should have gotten help. But the media didn’t pick this story up until it was too late. There are many, many Alex’s out there. Their families are struggling with how to help them. This is the real autism. Autism is not full of savants, it is full of people just like Alex Spourdalakis. Don’t turn a blind eye again. The epidemic is real and the next wave is coming.

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