Daniel Joost becomes the latest autistic who has been killed by a family member and made the news. Mr. Joost was 18 years old. Daniel Joost and his mother, Margaret Joost, were strangled by Daniel’s father David Joost, who then committed suicide. The Chicago Tribune has the story: Family dead in murder-suicide struggled with financial problems.
Little is public so far about Daniel Joost. The Tribune reports that he spent much of his time playing computer games and that he “would spend time with several other autistic children who are members of the congregation” of his church.
Being disabled makes life harder. Yes, that’s obvious but that fact is usually skipped over when people mention that parenting is tough and parenting a disabled child is even more tough. While there is no report yet indicating that Daniel’s family faced more struggles than others, now is a good time to consider the resources and strategies available to families who are facing tough times.
Shannon Des Roches Rosa has an article on exactly that at BlogHer: Parenting Kids With Disabilities: How to Get Through Tough Times.
One reason autistics and their families might need extra support is aggression and self injury. Again, we have no indication that Daniel Joost faced these challenges, but again this is a good opportunity to discuss resources for autistics and their families who do face these challenges. At the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism we have this article (another by Shannon Rosa):
When Autistic Kids and Teens Are Aggressive or Self-Injurious: Overview
There is always an option other than murder. Anyone even considering killing needs to reach out. Find a different option. Yes, it sounds simplistic, but murder is not an option.
Daniel Joost is survived by his sister Kathryn Joost. An effort is underway to collect money to support her through this time. (Friends, family raising money for daughter in murder-suicide)
By Matt Carey