Skip to main content

Colorado mental-health counselor charged with murdering infant son - The Denver Post

Colorado mental-health counselor charged with murdering infant son - The Denver Post

Police: Autism was motive in Colo. child's killing

BOULDER, Colo. — Police say a woman accused of killing her infant son did it because she believed the boy was autistic and thought his condition would "ruin" her life.
Stephanie Rochester, 34, was charged Monday with murder in the June 1 suffocation death of her 6-month-old son, Rylan. According to an affidavit seeking her arrest, Rochester wanted to commit suicide but didn't want to "burden her husband" with the potentially autistic boy.
What can be said about this? It is troubling; I can already imagine various responses:
  • Eventually, a genetic screen would help prevent this. (or…)
  • This is why screening would be dangerous.
  • Some people think autism is worse than death.
  • This woman must be mentally ill.
  • And so on, and so on…
I think this woman was simply a self-absorbed, immature, malignant narcissist. If she had committed suicide, I'd not assume the same level of narcissism -- but clearly she didn't want to sacrifice anything impinging on her "fun" in the end. That's disturbing. This woman would have felt the same way with a "normal" child over time. Children are always an effort and demand personal sacrifices of their parents.

As for the autism angle, I've read to many news reports like this. It's not always an infant, either.

The argument of would a screening been "better" than murder is a debate I can't engage. Down Syndrome is the parallel. Given a choice, clearly parents have overwhelmingly opted to terminate pregnancies. That does concern me. I have no easy answer.

This story, however, is plain and simple murder of a child. I know some "noted ethicists" (Peter Singer) have argued early infanticide is somehow different. No, it's murder.


Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …