The Autistic Victims of Sandy Hook
There is still no official confirmation that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza had autism, but at least one, and very likely two, of his victims did.
Bob and Michelle Gay, whose daughter Josephine died last Friday have put out a statement that confirms that she was autistic:
Since Joey's passing, we have received many media requests for our story and for pictures of our daughter. Although we are protecting our family’s privacy during this time of healing, we believe it is important to share some of Joey's story. It will help us if others know what a special person she was and how she inspired everyone she met.Joey was autistic and severely apraxic. She could not speak, yet she touched the lives of so many around her: teachers, therapists, friends, neighbors, all loved and cherished her. Joey was social and affectionate; she smiled, she loved hugs, and she even had a wonderful sense of humor. Her spirit was indomitable. She participated in rigorous therapy and treatment on a daily basis without complaint. She loved to play with her Barbie dolls, iPad, and computer, swim, swing, and be anywhere her sisters were.
Dylan Hockley was in a special education program. He died in the arms of aide Anne Marie Murphy, whose family asked that donations be made in her honor to Autism Speaks:
The Hockley family, although devastated by their son's death, took the time to honor those who helped him.
"We cannot speak highly enough of Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, exceptional women who knew both our children and who specifically helped us navigate Dylan's special education needs," Dylan's parents said. "Dylan's teacher, Vicki Soto, was warm and funny, and Dylan loved her dearly."
Dylan's family said everyone who met him, loved him.
"His beaming smile would light up any room and his laugh was the sweetest music," they said. "He loved to cuddle, play tag every morning at the bus stop with our neighbors, bounce on the trampoline, play computer games, watch movies, the color purple, seeing the moon and eating his favorite foods, especially chocolate. He was learning to read and was so proud when he read us a new book every day. He adored his big brother Jake, his best friend and role model."
Joey was seven.
Dylan was six.
Anne-Marie was 52.
Like eighteen other children and six other adults who died that day, they were real and wonderful and their families have all of my love and respect.
It should be about them. It should all be about them.
Thanks to Beth Arky.