By Ayesha Middya, Staff Writer
27 year old Elena Lovorn from Arnold, Pennsylvania was recently accused of beating her 6 year old autistic son after he publicly defecated in his pants. A woman at the scene told police officers that Lovorn had ushered her son into a bathroom to change him but instead strangled and injured him. According to the woman, while the 6 year old wasn’t bleeding when he went in, he appeared to be badly hurt after coming out. Another witness recalled hearing the boy’s screams and attempting to open the bathroom stall door, only for it to be locked.
Reportedly, Lovorn struggled to deal with her son’s autism throughout his life, as he often struggled with basic tasks. His constant medical need for attention and help proved to be too much of a burden for his mother.
While Lovorn’s actions are blatantly unacceptable and should be condemned, we as a community must now go a step further and use this tragedy as an opportunity to move forward by educating ourselves on the struggles of raising autistic children. There have been countless reports of parents with varying socioeconomic backgrounds struggling to raise children on the autism spectrum. Many of these families find themselves with little to no support, whether emotional or physical.
More importantly, those who come from poorer backgrounds often don’t have the resources necessary for their children, such as therapists or specialized schooling. Many feel completely hopeless about their child’s future, not just because of their medical condition, but also because of the family’s financial status. With expensive healthcare and insurance, they don’t have many options.
In addition to health care, autistic children need a strong and wide support system in order to thrive. Church members, school organizations, and neighbors are just three of the many communities that can help an autistic child learn to navigate through his/her difficult life.
While Lovorn’s actions are unmistakably horrifying and speak to her character as an individual, in order to create meaningful and effective change, we need not only to consider the effects of what she did, but also the causes; we cannot hope to identify a holistic solution without getting to the root of the problem.
Raising a child is, while simultaneously rewarding, difficult regardless of his/her medical condition. However, raising a child on the spectrum poses an especially great challenge. We need to establish stronger support for parents struggling to manage and raise their autistic children, as their children deserve the best.
Numerous new congressmen and congresswomen who are fighting to make changes within disability groups have been sworn into the United States Congress, which is a large step in the right direction. However, as a nation, we need to extend this fight beyond legislation and rally behind every autistic child and their families.