[Note: This blog is about death and dying and may contain sensitive material.]
Taking the life of someone who is disabled is a terrible problem within the disability community; an "angel of death" type scenario.
They feel very cut off from society and others' understanding and support.
Disabled individuals, speaking and non-speaking, including those with autism, can be seen as burdens. These problems are not exclusive to the autistic community and impact many people that have other disabilities such as physical, intellectual, and aging. It can affect all communities. Some family members/parents believe that mercy killing is justified and necessary to end the pain of loneliness, isolation and despair that they and their loved one may experience. They feel very cut off from society and others' understanding and support. It is a very real problem many families face as they feel socially isolated with very little support, leaving them to feel helpless and alone.
Taking one's own life is another issue the disability community contends with, particularly as the individual ages into adulthood. Dealing with sensory issues, being bullied and abused can continue throughout the lifespan beyond just childhood. These issues as well as continued isolation are very damaging to health and mental health with fatalistic consequences!
...not just an individual family problem
but society's as well.
Taking the life of another or taking one's own life is a culmination of not just an individual family problem but society's as well. We need to begin to look at how we as a society interface with the disability community and their families by offering understanding and support so no one has to feel alone.
To learn more about these issues go to ASAN's Disability Community Day of Mourning