Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Matt and Isabelle Stapleton Open Letter Project

I am tired of the fascination many in our country have with the perpetrators of murder and attempted murder. This fascination is disturbing and when the victim is disabled,  habitually serves to completely erase them from the story of their own lives. The effort victims who survive make to recover should not be ignored because they are disabled.

I am therefore offering an alternative to the opportunistic behavior of attention seeking blogger parents wishing to twist the attempted murder of Isabelle Stapleton into some sort of sick platform to complain about their lives and vicariously publicize threats to harm their own disabled children.

I am writing to counter that blogging traffic, although I doubt it will catch on. I do not feel it is right to promote the name of an attempted murderer, no matter how upset I am that autism mothers who support this woman are generalizing and presenting their personal poisonous opinions as if all autism parents share them. I am also doing this to counter Phil Mcgraw using a tragedy to drive his show ratings up by othering the disabled victim and giving a confessed premeditated murderer a platform to justify her actions.

 Here are my letters to Isabelle and her father Matt. I have no idea if this will fit under a flashblog hashtag. This is best I can do.

Dear Mr. Stapleton,

First of all let me express my deepest sympathy for the tragedy your family has weathered and wish the best for you and your children. I was amazed and happy to see Isabelle’s progress in a youtube video that you were kind enough to post publicly. Thank you for that glimpse into Isabelle we were not really allowed to see before this catastrophe took place.

I know it is not my business, but in light of recent spates of autism mom blogging in support of your ex wife and her recent appearance on the Dr. Phil Show, I would like to ask a favor. I would like to ask that you consider securing legal representation for your daughter Isabelle and having that law firm or attorney sue to insure your ex wife does not continue to benefit from your daughter’s name, her attempted murder of Issy, Isabelle’s autism label, or any past care providing or contact with your daughter. I believe any attempt at publishing or making further television appearances, blogging, or making any media contact must be included in such a suit. 

I am asking because I am also called an autism mom, and I am offended by each and every mother who is presenting your ex-wife as the standard bearer for autism moms in general. I have no desire to be seen as someone who views my son’s autism as your ex-wife viewed her daughter’s autism. I do not give any other autism mom permission to make sweeping generalizations about me or my son. My son is medically classified as nonverbal. Like Isabelle, he has overcome great challenges and survived. He may need help all his life but it is my honor and privilege to be one of those who provides that help. He is not perfect. He has difficult moments. But he is always my autistic son, and I am proud of the way he deals with his difficult days and his good ones. Your ex wife doesn’t have a right to continue having a platform to defame my son and your daughter by generalizing private experiences into public thoughts. She lost that right when she chose to try and kill Isabelle.  Many autistic children are being bullied to the point of torture because of these statements, made thoughtlessly and selfishly by mothers unhappy with their situations and this needs to stop before more innocent children are harmed. 

Maybe you’ll read this and consider my request. You have taken over a family as a single parent and while I don’t agree with your support of Autism Speaks, I see you are doing all you can to help all your children move past this and make Isabelle certain that she is a wanted part of your family. I realize that litigation will bring up painful memories. But I also believe many attorneys would be willing to help pro bono.

Lastly I hope you do not make the mistake your ex wife did and anthropomorphize autism into the catchall evil neurological whipping post because that makes your daughter an object of hate. None of us want to see Isabelle victimized again. 


Kerima Çevik
Mother of the Great and Powerful Mustafa, age 11, Autistic

Dear Isabelle,

I have wanted to write you for a very long time. I wanted to tell you how sorry I was to read about all the awful things that happened to you. Your mother should not have done the things she did to you. She was wrong. Nothing that happened to you was your fault. Please believe that.

 I have a son in your neurotribe. He is autistic and he is learning to type to communicate. He’s eleven years old right now. When he was four, we were told he was autistic. That day a great many negative things were said about our son. We were told we should be afraid of him, especially when he got older. Guess what? He’s now officially taller than I am. He is strong. I know because when I fell one day he grabbed my arm and caught me! But he is nothing like anyone said he would be. His dad and I are so glad we didn’t listen to them. We searched until we found a whole world of autistic adults. They helped us understand our son by telling us about their own lives and mistakes made to them so that we would not make the same mistakes with him. 

I am writing to tell you that I have a gift for you. I know you are fifteen now. When you and your family are ready, my gift to you is a open invitation to publish anything you want to write on my blog. The intellectual property rights to whatever you write will remain with you. I want you to know how important you are to autistic people. I also want you to know that parents exist who believe in their autistic children, as your father and family believe in you. We are here when you need our support. Just feel better, and take care of yourself. 

You have an army of friends here in internet land. We love you and want to support you speaking out in your own voice about anything you want and being heard. 

Best wishes,



  1. Yes, all of this!! :) From a fellow Autistic adult and friend. <3 <3 I #WalkInIssysShoes, because i too am Autistic, and suffered as a child, and teen, and thru my twenties, because most of my family did not accept me unless i acted a certain way. Most of them still ignore and come down on me because i dared to get a computer, come online and tell my story. I will NOT shut up for them though. I refuse to shut up because they want me to!! I refuse to shut up because #AutisticPeopleMatter!!

  2. Oh, Kerima <3
    Words fail me - I so am grateful for yours.
    Thank you for saying this.