After years of painting autism as “beautiful, mysterious, perhaps even evolutionarily necessary,” Ann Bauer has been moved by the transformation of son Andrew into a violent monster to write about the condition’s violent side. Bauer forgave her son’s attacks—which broke three of her ribs—until he choked his caretaker. “For years I denied that autism can be a wild, ravaging madness,” she writes for Salon.
“Secretly, as if committing a sacrilege, I searched online using keywords such as ‘autism’ and ‘violence’ and ‘murder,’” she continues. Though dozens of articles attest to a link, advocates vigorously deny it. With her son heavily drugged and willing to admit he might kill her, Bauer has realized, “Autism does not always equal violence. But I do believe there may be a tragic, blameless relationship.”