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Why? Why? Why?

November 15, 2010

Joanne Hill. Frances Inglis. And now Satpal Kaur-Singh. What do these three women have in common? They have all killed their disabled children, cruelly, and almost certainly against the will of the children- at least, they never stopped to consider what their children wanted, or much less to ask for their opinions.

Joanne Hill, for those who don’t remember her case from 2008, drowned Naomi, 4, in a bathtub because she was ashamed of her mild Cerebral Palsy. She was reported to have  had a history of mental health problems. Frances Inglis is reported to have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when she injected Tom, 22, with heroin as he slept. Reports say that Satpal Kaur-Singh, who forced her autistic son, Ajit, 12, to drink bleach hours after she found out he could be taken into care, had a personality disorder.

Mental health problems seem to be the only reasonable explanation anyone can have for killing their own child. No parent of any child, disabled or not, would ever consider doing any such thing unless they had a mental health problem.

I am a disabled person who is lucky enough to have parents who have given me a good life, and would never consider doing any such thing. Thankfully, I have disabled friends who can say the same thing. That is one of the reasons why I feel sad and shocked when I think of these cases.

I believe that disabled people have just as much of a right to live for as long as possible as anyone else does. Too many of our lives are already shortened by our disabilities- nothing and no one should make them any shorter than they have to be.

I know how difficult disability is to handle, especially for non-disabled parents, who know what their disabled children are missing out on. But real parents should love their children unconditionally. If they can’t, I only wish that, before taking such unthinkable actions, they would realise that they do have other options. Adoption and fostering are two of these options- Joanne Hill had reportedly begged Naomi’s father to consider both. Ajit Singh was killed because his mother feared he would be taken into care, but, considering the actions that she took, he might have been better off there.

All parents of disabled people need support to come to terms with their child’s disability, and they should be given as much of this as is needed. Otherwise we might see more and more cases like these, and then we might go back to a time when all disabled people are taken away from their parents, because Social Services are worried for their safety at home. For this disabled child of loving parents, that is a scary thought.



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