Last month in a Bronx apartment, a man slit the throat of his 12 year old son, who was autistic. The father, Jose Stable, went outside to set off a fire alarm and waited for the authorities. When they arrived, he reportedly stated: “I’ve just terminated the life of my autistic son. I couldn’t take it anymore.”
Is there anything to be learned from this story? The boy, whose name was Ulysses, weighed 280 pounds, and was by all accounts difficult to control. The mother (a crack addict) seems to have left the scene 10 years ago. Stable has an arrest record. The Administration of Child Services had paid a visit, to find out why the boy was missing school. Someone recommended Agency Services for the family, but there was no follow up.
The names in this story are weirdly symbolic, aren’t they? I don’t understand the significance but it can’t be good.
I worry about a “society” that allows a situation like this to occur. I can’t begin to process the misery and desperation involved. Imagine struggling with an aggressive, socially deficient child who outweighed you and had to be restrained from eating grass? Imagine it every day and night, alone together in an apartment, year after year?
Imagine being born “wired differently”, unable to filter sensory stimuli, and unable to communicate your anxiety. Imagine feeling alone in your bubble, frustrated and confused. No way to comfort yourself besides eating.
I would like to turn back time and get help for this father and child. Early intervention for Ulysses, which I have seen do wonders for kids who were once thought to be unreachable. Respite services for Jose, who could then take a break now and then from his daily challenges.
I’m heartbroken by this story. I want everyone to “get involved” any time they think they see a situation like this brewing. If a neighbor is screaming at their kid constantly, offer to baby-sit. If you think a kid is being mistreated, call and report it. If you’re wrong, no one will die.
God bless poor Ulysses. And poor Jose.