Autism Memorial is a site dedicated to remembering those autistic people who died because of malpractice, lack of resources or support, or outright murder. Occasionally, a news story will be widely covered; but most cases receive very little memorial. This site is here because everyone should be remembered.
Q: Can I submit a story?
A: Yes. Send a private message, including at least one reliable source, with as many details as you can find. Especially important for the purposes of a memorial is information about who the person was when they were alive–their hobbies and pastimes, their personality, their talents, their quirks. A photo of the deceased individual is particularly good, since many people can empathize with another person most easily when they can see that person’s face.
Q: Which cases qualify?
A: The person must have been on the autism spectrum, and their death should be directly or indirectly related to being the victim of prejudice, malpractice, neglect, or similar. If the person was autistic, and the person who killed them knew they were autistic, or took advantage of their vulnerability in some way, their story is included. People who died because of lack of resources or lack of support, medical neglect or medical malpractice, are also included.
Q: What about someone who doesn’t have a diagnosis?
A: Some people cannot receive a diagnosis because of lack of access to medical care, because their cases were mild or complex, or because they live in areas where autism is not often diagnosed. If there is a good reason to believe they were autistic, they can be included. Syndromes which can or do include autism, such as Rett’s and Fragile X, are close enough to count. There may also be a few cases of people who were not autistic, but died because they were thought to be autistic. These cases can also be included, since they are victims of anti-autistic prejudice as much as anyone else.
Q: The person I’m thinking of committed suicide. Can they be included?
A: Yes, if their suicide was related to mistreatment (for example, an abuse victim who commits suicide because of the abuse), or if they were denied treatment or given inadequate or inappropriate treatment for a mental illness, or if they were known to be at risk of suicide and still denied appropriate treatment.
Q: Does murder or manslaughter automatically make a case eligible?
A: No; the incident had to be related to their autism in some way, or the killer had to have known about their autism. For example, if someone were killed in a robbery gone wrong, and the killer had no idea they were autistic, that would not qualify; but they could be included if they were picked out because the robber saw an easy target in someone who seemed disabled. I prefer to include, rather than exclude, doubtful cases. When a homicide is unsolved, I include it to improve publicity, in the hope that justice can be done.
Q: Some of these articles are marked “Name unknown.” Why?
A: Occasionally, I find some articles in which the names of the deceased are not known. Sometimes it’s because the journalist writing the article doesn’t know the names; sometimes it’s for privacy reasons; sometimes it’s for legal reasons. However, these people too deserve to be remembered, even though we do not know their names.
Q: What about cases in which a person is missing and likely dead, but hasn’t been declared dead?
A: After some debate, I’ve decided to include a special page with names, locations, and links to information about people who went missing in suspicious circumstances and may or may not be dead. I don’t want to diminish their loved ones’ hope that they will one day return, and the day I remove a name from that list will be a day of celebration to me. However, occasionally someone who is responsible for the death of an autistic person does get away with concealing the death to the degree that no one is even sure it happened. These people, too, deserve to be remembered. What finally made the decision for me was this: If by posting these pictures, I increase awareness that they are missing, they may one day be found–hopefully, found alive, but even a confirmed death is better than uncertainty.
Q: I have a correction to make.
A: Post a comment on the post reviewing the story, with references to the correct information. For simple corrections, I will just change the information. If it turns out there are multiple viewpoints or uncertainty about the information, all major theories will be included.