Is it "REALLY" autism? | Autism PDD
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Is it "REALLY" autism?

Please do something NOW! In our area, a four-year-old girl was neglected in a similar manner and ended up dying. I am not saying this is what is going to happen in this situation, but please, don't just look the other way. This child needs someone to step in on her behalf. I would call the police and turn them in for drug activity in the home.  I would do this at a time you know that the youngster would be home.  I say the police because of the simple fact that CPS can take days to get out to a home if a person calls and reports them, but if the police come to a residence and they state the home is not suitable for a child I think CPS comes right away and takes the child into custody.  Either way call someone no one should have to live like that. 


I'm a family doc.  As a professional, I am required by law to report possible abuse.  I have a 4 year old son, and I can't stand the thought of him suffering at the hands of anyone...least of all his father or me!  These parents need help!  They are using drugs to deal with their daughter's "disability"?!?  I am SO SORRY THAT YOU ARE IN THIS POSITION, BUT YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT!  STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR THE CHILD WHO CAN'T FIGHT FOR HERSELF.  PLEASE!



PLEASE MAKE THE CALL..NO CHILD HAS EVER ASKED TO BE BORNED,NO CHILD HAS EVER ASKED TO LIVE LIKE LILY IS LIVING.HELP HER..PLEASE MAKE THE CALL.Hi!  I'm Andrew's Mommy, the family doc, checking in with you on Friday morning to see how you are doing.  Please post an update!  All you can do is the best that you can each and every day of your life.  We all know that.  We are concerned for you, your niece, and your entire family.  WE CARE.  Please let us know what is happening!!!GET INVOLVED>>>> Hi and thank you for reading this post.

I'm concerned about my nephew's daughter, Lilly. There have been times that, after a visit to their house, I've come home and cried my eyes out because of the living conditions. My nephew and his wife force Lilly, who is now four years old, to spend the majority of her time gated off in her room. She has a filthy mattress to sleep on, some toys on the floor and a TV to keep her occupied. I believe she has been severly neglected to the point of criminal abuse. I had no idea that this was going on until my sister explained things to me after she, herself, had stayed a short time with them. I, firmly, believe that this horrible neglect has played a role in her slow development and a diagnosis of autism just seems to convinient to me. As my sister explained, they spend alot of the time stoned in the living room while Lilly is gated off in her room, by herself. I don't know if I should get involved or mind my own business. It's just so heartbreaking to see a child living in such filth (if you've ever seen movie Fight Club, think of that house)and being neglected.

I would appreciate any advice.
Thank you all!
Worried Uncle
I personally believe that since you have seen this that it is your obligation to turn them in to protective services.  No child should live like that and if she is autistic she has no chance at life living that way.  I'd turn in any member of my family in a heartbeat for harming or neglecting a child and if my family didn't like it then to bad for them that they can't see the harm being done. well...I don't believe that neglect causes autism (slow development but not autism)...neglect and inattention can make autism symptoms worse and if your great niece is left alone with a TV and not being engaged, her symptoms will become more pronounced and she will developmentally fall further behind...

If she is being neglected (autism or not) I believe you have a moral obligation to try to help her...if she is autistic, she is entitled to assistance through the school district and that is her best bet for her to reach her potential. BUT, her parents obviously have to get that for her. .... being gated in a room with little stimulation and living under the conditions you describe AND being exposed to people doing drugs is no way for ANY CHILD to live...

I am sure this is a huge weight on your shoulders but if I were you, I would get involved.....this little girl does not have a voice yet and her parents are not "speaking" on her might have to step up and be her voice when others won't

Good luck...I am sure others will comment..

Oh my God, that's awful.  There's a phenomena known as 'feral children syndrome', where severely neglected children fail to develop appropriate social and language skills.  The most famous case that I am aware of involved a 10-12 year old girl named 'Genie'.  You can google for the specifics of that terrible case.

I don't think neglect can make a child autistic, but it can certainly retard the social and language skills, to the point where I can imagine that a diagnosis of autism is possible.

If the child truly is autistic, they can be helped and they can progress, but won't under conditions of neglect.  I would want to intervene and get the child help in either case.

If the situation is as you describe it, I would certainly call the appropriate agency to investigate.

Call the authorities NOW. I know it is family but you will never forgive yourself unless you do. You may even look into caring for her yourself. NO child should have to live in a prison. My heart aches for her.. Do something, do what is right.


I agree with John...You need to do something now before its too late for your niece...Who knows ...some TLC is all she may need to help her get everything to normal...If her parents stay stone all the time...They are NOT going to know what that little girl is doing or needs....GET HER HELP ASAP...

I wish you the best of luck



I AGREE CALL NOW!! If the protective services don't do anything keep buging them get other family members involved. Go over their heads to a higher agency if you can. Keep a log of everything you can what you know and have seen. But start NOW because unfornutly protective service doesn't repond right away so it may be a fight. If this is the true situation then it IS WORTH the fight.  Good Luck

You have to report this immediately.  This child needs to be placed with someone who actually wants children.

I agree you should call the authorities.

I disagree that an autistic child has no chance at life under these circumstances.  Donna Williams and many other autistic people describe severely abusive home environments.  Some of them even attribute some of their skill development to neglect.

None of them say abuse or neglect is a good thing, mind you, but its effect on an autistic person's development (while always to be prevented in any case) is not so black and white.

There is illegal activity going on in the home.  It needs to be reported. Period.

Oh my goodness!

Thank you all, so much, for this incredible support. This is the very first time that I've used an internet forum and I guess it does make a difference when you can talk to someone who is completely neutral and unbiased.

This Sunday, the whole family will be together for Christmas and Iím going to try to get the rest of them behind me. However, if I have to stand alone, I most certainly will.

Now, just for added fun, my nephew and his wife have a newborn. Thatís how easy it is to get a raise from the welfare department - just have more kids! OK, can you blame me for being a little sarcastic???

I would take both of those kids myself, if I could talk my wife into it. We have three of our own (13, 11 and 2) and I just donít see the problem with placing an extra plate at the table. Yea, I know it more complicated than that. I just want to make sure that, after Childrenís Services gets involved, she ends up with someone who will show her what itís like to be loved and not just cared for because itís their job.

I appreciate your input and will keep you updated.
Thank you again and have a Merry Christmas.


From your post,

I can tell you from experience with others including helping DSS or better Know as Child Protective Services that this is a bad situation.

1. A dirty house will not cause a child to be removed. Filthy-in CSS terns means unliveable such as fecees on the floor, infestation by rats, roachs, etc.

2. The info on the drugs were 2nd had information and unless you seen it your self then it might be checked into but not much credit will be given unless the person who actually seen it talks.

3. I can imagine that this is killing you inside, for the little girl, and wondering if calling DSS would make matters worse, sometimes foster care or the "system" is worse than the places children are removed from. Not always but sometimes. You probably also worry about the family strain or toll it will take on you and everyone else.

4. There is a program called intensive in home support, They are professional thearpists with a whole team of social sorkers, thearpists, doctors, case mangers, etc.

5. Is the child recieving any kind of services? Are the parents recieving any kind of support? Sometimes these things are overwhelming to people and they have no idea how to handle it. It is common for people to self medicate. Is it possible that the parents may be undiagonsised with something?

I would speak to the parents and tell them I thought they needed some help that they cant do it alone. I dont think they will disagree. The parents or you with their permission place a call to your local mental health agency and ask for a list of providers for intensive in home thearpy. They work with the whole family. They may come out 3-4 hours a day 5-7 days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the familys and childs needs.

This may be the answer. If the parents go for it, It could help them, the little girl and If the Intensive team finds that neglectful things are occurring they will report and it will not fall back on you directly.

I dont believe any child should be neglected, abused, or mistreated in any way. I dont believe that anyone should be disabled or not, young or old, black or white, rich or poor.

From your breif decription it seems that this family is lost and thre is a cry for help no matter how subtle. I would (based only on your post) try to help first and then if that did not work I would report it but I would try to find a relative to be aviable to take care of the child if DSS secided to remove. It is bad enough that she has a disablity and parents that either dont know how to deeal or dont care. But to add being jerked away from her entire family to the list, I could not imagine how that could be helpful, unless there is no other chioce.

I know a lot of people on this board may disagree with me but I have had more contact than you can imagine with children coming out of the DSS care system (teens) Out of all the kids I have talked to, only 2 had a good experiences and they were not disabled.  Some parents on this board, and on other boards and parents I have met, just cant deal or dont feel like they can control thier child (safety) or feel that they would be better off somewheres else. you would be surprised at how many children are placed in residental care facilities, institutions, foster homes, etc. Everyone is different and every situation is different. Do what you feel is right but Do Something.

Good Luck and my thoughts and prayers are with this child, you, and the family


CPS when they remove a child from a home don't always put that child into state custody with a foster family.  Many times I have seen them remove the child place the child in temporary custody of another family member while the parents get their act together.  The two women that live down the street from me had this done last summer.  CPS removed their children for drugs and parafinalia in the house and unsuitable living conditions (filth).  The children were placed with the maternal grandparents who lived a bit further down the road until the parents got their poop in a scoop.  CPS at that point determined the children could go back into their own homes and then follows up with them for a certain number of months.  I don't think anyone can be a perfect parent all the time but it looks like to me these people are not even putting out any effort.  Anyone that would lock a child in a room and neglect that child while they go out to smoke dope on the living room sofa is not crying for help.  They are plain lazy as far as I am concerned and care more about their personal issues than those of their own children. 

Hopefully your nephew and his wife will get the help/wakeup call they need to get themselves back on track and give their family proper care. I understand that there are cases of child neglect that cause the young children to exhibit autistic like symptons. You really don't have much choice but to step in here, these children need you to defend their right to a decent childhood, if you don't help them who will?

I hope you have a great Christams - let us know how it goes.


PLEASE turn these parents in to the authorities.  If they are using drugs they may be beyond seeing the effect of their actions, or just addicted and not able to make the right choices.  This may be the wake up call they need and they may thank you one day for it.  Even if they don't it's still 100% necessary to do it for the wellbeing of this innocent child.  Obviously you are so worried that you have posted on here about this and you just need some help making the decision, but do the right thing and report them or you will never forgive yourself.  Good Luck and keep us posted my thoughts are with you.