Great Onelies in Real Time: Dr. Trudy Steuernagel February 4, 2009Posted by Onely in Great Onelies in Real Time.
Tags: autism, feminism, fox8news, Gertude Steuernagel, Kent State, mental health advocacy, Sky Walker
Onely salutes Dr. Gertrude Steuernagel, a beloved and progressive women’s studies and political science professor at Kent State in Ohio. Steuernagel is an accomplished and outspoken and feminist and autism advocate. As she raised her adored son Sky, who is autistic, she also found time to make an impact in both the women’s movement and in mental health advocacy–all while Onely.
Tragically, last week Steuernagel was severely beaten by Sky. Autism does not/not cause violence in and of itself, but the resulting sensory overload and frustration of not being able to communicate can cause sufferers to lash out, and Sky had other neurological challenges as well that may have contributed to the assault. He didn’t know what he was doing. Steuernagel knew the challenges associated with caring for Sky, but she also knew the joys, as she describes in this amazing essay. She is truly a Great Onely, and we send our strongest well-wishes out to her numerous family and friends.
P.S. Kudos to fox8 news. Of almost an entire page of news stories on Google a couple days after the incident, their story was the only one that mentioned the Sky’s autism. The other articles, by their passive omission of this fact, allowed Sky to be portrayed as a crazed mother-beating criminal instead of a sweet boy with brain dysfunctions. That is irresponsible journalism at best, and immoral journalism at worst. Granted, the fox8 news article doesn’t caveat their mention of autism with “this is not necessarily the whole cause of the incident,” which would have been nice, in order to avoid giving the impression of all autistic people as violent–but it’s still better than not mentioning it at all.