Severely Autistic Boy Murdered By His Mother But Don’t You Dare Judge Her

Autistic Alex Spourdalakis Murdered By Mother It’s five in the morning. I have been sitting in my dark house, drinking coffee, reading about Alex Spourdalakis, a 14-year-old boy who was murdered by his own mother on June 11. Alex wasn’t just murdered, he was savagely murdered. First his mother and his godmother/caregiver, Jolanta Agatha Skrodzka, tried to kill Alex by giving him an overdose of sleeping pills. According to the Chicago TribuneDorothy Spourdalakis stabbed him four times in the chest with a kitchen knife, including twice in the heart, and then slit his wrist, almost severing his hand. Alex Spourdalakis was severely autistic.

My house is dark and quiet, but soon my kids will be up and my house will be noisy, breakfasts made, animals fed, kids laughing and bickering and asking when it’s time to swim, my oldest son telling me about some new band he likes and my daughter asking me to help her put tiny dolls shoes on some fashion doll and my middle kid kissing me and asking How is your day when my day hasn’t really started yet because that’s what he does. My children aren’t autistic. My children have no emotional or developmental or medical problems. I cannot imagine. Unless we have an autistic child we can’t imagine.

When my kids were younger I would go to the bookstore on Sundays, because even though my kids are *neurotypical they are still kids, and all parents have this, the wanting, the needing the asking the quarreling even the laugher at times can wear on you. I would go to the bookstore and buy magazines or a book, a fancy coffee and just sit for an hour or so, my time. No kids. My husband left alone with them while I had my little break. One day when I was leaving I heard a scream, a horrifying scream, the scream all parents recognize as that of a child. I saw a crowd had gathered in the children’s section around a young boy who was flailing on the ground, crying, his arms and legs lashing out, the bookstore manager raising her voice at at a father. I overheard him from a distance.

My son is autistic. Can you please make these people move away I can calm him, we will leave.


If you don’t control your kids I’m calling the cops. You need to leave.

She stormed away from him, the father going to his child, the crowd dispersing and I confronted her, in the way that someone does when they are upset but they have no idea how upset until they try to articulate it. I think I told her she handled it terribly. I told her the young boy couldn’t help it and she had no right to treat the father and son that way. Then I stormed off to my car and unlocked the door and sat with my head on the steering wheel and cried for about 15 minutes before I finally went home and broke down again in front of my husband. I should have done more, in hindsight I should have went to the father and offered to help or called the corporate office of the bookstore or told that crowd of gawkers to move the hell away but I didn’t. I never went back to that bookstore.

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  • Alana

    Found this through tags, and I know it’s a bit too late but I have to say something because I am too angry to think about anything else until I rant about it.

    As someone with autism, someone with an autistic cousin. A close family friend has a child with severe autism and he’ll be a teenager next year. Do I know exactly where they come from? No, but I have an idea.

    I disagree with the idea that these women shouldn’t be judged. They should be. I don’t care how desperate they were, I don’t care how sorry they pretend to act. They killed someone who trusted them. Someone that relied on them. There were other ways and they ignored them and killed him.

    They killed him so violently that it’s impossible to say that there was no anger and resentment.

    We need more support. We need less albism. We need more understanding. And we need for parents of disabled children young and grown to seek out help without shame or fear.

    Not killing them.

    They should have asked for help. They should have researched homes for developmentally disabled people. They should have asked relatives to take care of Alex for a few days while they had a break. There is no shame in that.

    But they didn’t. They murdered him. And in my opinion, they have lost all right to mourn his loss when it was needed and their fault.

  • Lindsayface47

    Wow, quite a bit of offense meant, but screw you. I’m Autistic. Does that mean my mother has a right to MURDER me? Should she get sympathy for that? No way.

    These women were murderers. That boy is dead because of them. He was a person, and he had a right to live his life. These women, who were supposed to love him unconditionally, and take care of him, KILLED him.

    If he wasn’t Autistic, would you feel the same way? Would you feel bad for the mother who murdered her own child? No. Stop treating Autistics as subhuman. We deserve the same rights as everybody else, including the right to justice and outrage when we are murdered.

    She had quite a few choices. All but one of them included NOT MURDERING HER CHILD.

    There’s no cure for Autism, and I’m thankful for that. Autism is not a disease. It’s a neural wiring. I’m not sick, and I don’t need to be cured. The majority of Autistics don’t want to be cured. We just want people to stop treating us as if we’re not people. It’s people like you, and attitudes like this that lead to people murdering their own children. If anyone is sick, it’s people who think it’s okay to murder a child in cold blood. You may say that you don’t think it’s fine, but by mourning for the mother, your thoughts come across quite clearly.

    I just remembered why I only read the STFU Parents blog on this site. I am disgusted and outraged by this article. How dare you? I am a person, and I should not be murdered just because my brain processes information differently. Neither should Alex.

  • Guest

    As a mother of

  • Disgusted

    Nope, judging the FUCK out of this murderous bitch. Fine, I can do it, I’m the mother of an autistic child who is autistic herself, and where the hell do you get off justifying murdering us because *whiiiiine parenting is haaaaard?* If you don’t want to parent your autistic child, give them up to the state. At least they won’t kill them, we hope.

    • JMO

      Give them to the state? That’s worst than death itself.

  • Autistic Parent

    When I saw the title I thought it contained some wit, but I see you were serious. As someone who does walk in autistic shoes, you are damned right I judge this woman. And so should every other human being out there. Murder is a crime. It is morally and legally wrong.

    Some of the comments here are even more disgusting than your assumption that killing your own children can be justified. This enabling attitude guarantees there will be a lot more kids like Alex, viciously murdered by their own family members. Shame on you.

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  • Gema

    OMG I can’t believe what I am reading! I am the mother of a child with Autism and I find this entire article and what few comments I could bear to read completely disgusting! What in the hell is wrong with people thinking their is justification for killing a child because they have a dissability??? To the parents who have autistic children who are smashing things, hitting, being verbally abusive…check your parenting! My son learns differently than others. We have to have more patience with him and we definitely devote more time to him than my other to children and he is a perfect angel! Straight A’s, never been in trouble, kind, loving and he has a wonderful heart. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so if your autistic child or any child is misbehaving then fix your parenting. You teach respect, compassion, and love by showing it. Too many lazy parents out there! Ugh!!!

  • no

    I like all the people here trying to explain a crazy person’s irrational behavior with logic. Like if we can prove she was mad/sad/glad at the time, it meant that she was in her right mind when she killed her son. Are you a sane person? Is there any fathomable reason you could come up with that would justify to you, a sane person, that murdering your child and the family pet would be a good thing? I don’t think so. The very definition of insane is what they’ve done. If the very act itself isn’t the ultimate proof, I don’t what is.

    I get it, people want to find blame here. They want to say, “No, this can’t just happen. People don’t just break down and lose touch with reality so completely that they’d do something like this.” If we find fault then maybe that means it could’ve been prevented in different circumstances, e.g. your circumstances, because surely you’re doing much better than they ever were. Sure. Or that it could never happen to us because those women were somehow seeded with evil and you’re not evil, right? Except, I don’t believe in magic. Evil doesn’t exist. Mental illness exists, and, sad as it is to accept, it can happen to anyone given the right stressors and/or genetic predisposition.

    I can’t imagine what these women went through to break them like this. My own problems are hard enough to deal with, but to have to struggle with an autistic child for years on end, and to have him abused at the hands of the very people who were supposed to help him? I don’t know what that would do to me and it’s cruel to assume.

  • Tiffany Carroll Kloepfer

    I have a daughter who has autism . I can understand how hard it is to be a parent to a child with autism ,I know the struggles the heart ach and the psychical fight . but as her mom I couldn’t not imagine brutally killing her like these women I have done . I don’t care how hard it is sometimes to be her mom I couldn’t do that . it wasn’t enough that they put him to rest with the sleep pills (which I might can see but I don’t agree with it but can some-what understand) but then stabbed him and almost cut off his hands that was brutal and then to kill the cat . sounds like these women need help themselves if she wasn’t up to take care of him the hospital was the place it might not have been idea but he would be alive you may not can judge but I am it was wrong point blank . those mom did need more support the should have looked for help . I do feel sorry for them that they felt that was the only option but there is always an option other than death (murder)

  • Erin Schroeder

    I have high functioning Autism, I have friends all over the spectrum, I have gone to camp with these kids and I have always been willing to be there to ground these kids in reality when their grip on the world is falling away, I have been smacked, screamed at, and clawed by children who can not take the overstimulation any more, I have made excuses for numerous children to confused or even angry onlookers, I have glared back at those who look at my friends like they belong in an institution, and I have drawn them out of the meltdowns that steal them from our grasp, but never once have I gotten angry at them, never once have I felt so sorry for them or myself that I have thought of ending it. I’m Just a fifteen year old kid who has faced Autism head on as it blossoms in myself and others and not backed down, so yeah, I am judging.

    • Erin Schroeder

      And if anyone thinks that they would have done the same thing, just look into the eyes of an autistic child who is being yanked away from reality by forces beyond their control, look at the father with his neurotypical children who is sneering ar the child rocking in the corner, look at the child who has no one to keep them safe and to fight for them but you, now tell me, would you give anything less than your full effort to protect them?

  • squid

    If you love your child, you do not murder them.
    I know exactly what these mothers go through, and it doesn’t justify it. Just like it wouldn’t be justified if a parent murdered a child who was gay, or transgender, or had downs syndrome, or ADHD. It’s not fair. These people failed in their basic duty.

  • JMO

    I have not had any experience with autistic children (except for my 2nd cousin and that was on a very brief basis). However, my daughter is bipolar and I belong to a forum on the web that are for parents who have mentally ill or handicapped children and what the parents of autistic children go through is just excruciating and painful to read, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live with. Going through the things I go through with my bipolar daughter is like hell, but I must admit, what parents of autistic children go through tops even what I have been through with my bipolar daughter. There is no way in the world I could ever raise an autistic child. I have to be honest about that. A long time ago, I would have cursed someone to say such a thing as I am saying now, but I can really sympathize of what it must be like on a daily basis for a parent or a sibling of an autistic child. To be the brunt of that every single second of every single day. How torturous for the parents and siblings and most of all, the child suffering from autism. ESPECIALLY when the child get’s older and bigger. I know for a fact as a parent, I would not have been a good mother to an autistic child and that is VERY hard to admit, but I have to be honest. I in no way judge what happened here. No one knows the hell this family went through. They kill the poor boy and then the cat and then try to kill themselves? It just makes me so mad sometimes at God for things like this. Maybe the mother just wanted to end her poor boys suffering and her own and her sister, even the cat. There was a psychotic break for sure only brought on by the sheer amount of hell autism brings.

    I give any parent of an autistic child mucho credit and should be considered a hero because I could NEVER do it.

    Disclaimer* I know not all autistic children are hard to raise and I know most parents wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

  • Bryanne Weaver Smith

    I read an article about judging, how we are afraid to form opinions about things because we will appear judgmental. I don’t vilify these people because they have already done that. But, I do judge them. What they did was wrong and horrible, and they deserve to be punished. For me not to say that is me saying that killing an autistic child because “life is hard” is okay and it isn’t. If a person isn’t prepared to be a parent to any type of child, then maybe they shouldn’t be a parent. I am an autistic adult and I have gotten violent before, but my parents listened to me, and got me out of the situation. They never tried to kill me and if they had, I would have defended myself. To judge means to form an opinion, and I will happily form an opinion because it is wrong to kill your child. I don’t care how little support there is. We are all worthy of life.

  • Brooke

    It is sad that there is no cure for autism but hopefully there will be soon, or at least a way to correct it before it happens (something health related a women could do prior to conceiving a child, that would prevent the child from having this condition). It’s horrible to have a child that is inconsolable, violent, destructive, hurtful and unable to be taught appropriate behavior. NOT ALL children with autism are this way!! But for the ones who are, they make their families lives miserable and there aren’t enough resources in the world to help them. I truly think there are many children with autism who need to be institutionalized rather than being at home with their families. I am not saying this out of hate for the child, not at all, it isn’t the child’s fault. But families can’t cope with the severe stress and most simply don’t have resources, whereas institutions maybe can at least restrain the child so they don’t hurt themselves or anyone else.

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