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In September 2017, an unfortunate event had occurred. A mother was killed in her own home in Bandung, Indonesia. The only witness that morning was his own child, Abraham (not a real name). Abraham, is not the ordinary  16 year-old teenager, a children of Special needs (read.autism spectrum) that lives with his father. They lived in a different city. His parents are divorced two years prior the incident.

“These parents have, by and large, chosen to love their children, and many of them have chosen to value their own lives, even though they carry what much of the world considers an intolerable burden. Children with horizontal identities alter your self painfully; they also illuminate it.” 

-Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity.

During the interrogation as a witness, the psychiatrist told the media, Abraham was an aggressive teen each time he was being questioned in regard to his mother. The aggression was toward himself, and quite difficult for him to control. His hysterical behavior is related to how he felt concerning the relationship with his mother. Elly in raising Abraham often treated him as a little child, considering his special needs condition, and it made him felt anxious.

The chronology

Before the tragedy, Abraham spent four days taking trips with Elly (not a real name), trains, going back and forth between Jakarta and Bandung, and the night before the murder, they went to see The Nun , a horror-genre movie.

The next morning Abraham called out his mother in slurred vocals outside the house , with hands covered in blood and holding a knife, caught Elly’s neighbors in shock. Later the police came and confirmed the death Elly, 42 years old with 28 jabs of knife in her remains, including left shoulder and left eye. Found also hand-scratching marks in Abraham’s  wrists, the authorities immediately conducted a lab test for the swab. A kitchen knife were found as murder weapon.

The Kitchen Knife

Source : copyright of detik.com

There were no sign of breaking and entering. The house was properly locked from the inside, and no stolen possessions or property that indicates a robbery.

Victim was also known as quite an attractive lady wearing a veil, working as a bank clerk and had lived her private life in solemn.

After a thorough investigation of nearly 20 witnesses,the authorities had finally conclude one suspect with an undisclosed identity. The law prohibits the suspect to be revealed in public.

Visual triggers for special needs

By the time the case was all over the news, I decided to dig in the events that took place before the assault. Why did she decide to take her son to watch such horrific theme movie that night before the murder. Full volume and dim lighting in my room might not fueled the same atmosphere as inside the theater. I was trying to create the similar sensories effect.

The first scene was opened with a suicide of a nun in 1952, hanging herself out of fears on top of a monastery castle’s tower. What follow are a series of startling visuals and sound effects of horrifying nuns. More than that, there is a child demon and others that can occasionally jolts you to be frighten by it.

Most of the demons are nuns, that even some of them are in a form normal human beings. One that I find gripping is that Sister Oana, one of the character in the movie died with blood-teary eyes.

There are also two maybe even three ambush scenes. Among those contained violence act of stabbing with a cross, strangling and drowning a nun underwater.

Alas, perhaps Elly’s decision to pleased his son’s choice of movie has led her to a dismay?

How deep is your love

As benevolent as it might seem, an act of taking a custody of special needs children for a father is a challenge. In average cases, the law accordance with the respective religion of the family. A child in minor age (under 12 years old) under normal circumstances—the mother is still alive and able, will have to be their mother’s responsibility.

Elly and her husband divorce took place by the time Abraham reaches the age of 13 years old. At this age, the decision pertain to the child’s preference. Though Abraham choose to live with his father under certain circumstances, he still get acquainted with his mother every weekend or during the holidays.

Abraham had allegedly being driven to specific treatment since 2017, in West Java Mental Hospital. In order to tackle his disability of controlling his emotions, speech therapy and assessing his learning difficulties. The psychiatrist, Lelly Resna told the media that during the treatment process, patient needed to be medicated routinely to subside the potential tantrums.

Did Elly were informed regarding his son challenges of growing up ? Or, she didn’t know how far did the impact of the movie able to stimulates an unstable teenager with emotional disabilities?

Listening is everything, including about your child, More about listening, read it here.

Sensory differences in special needs children

We conclude a journal report from The Pediatric Research of Sensory Processing in Autism. A Review of Neurophysiologic Findings by Elysa Jill Marco, and colleagues. Discussion pertained on ; How far aggressive behaviour can be trigerred, as well as being avoided in prolific cases.

Over 96% of children with Special needs (in the autistic spectrum) report hyper and hypo-sensitivities in multiple domains of sensory processing. Similar to the wide-range of spectrum severity found for communication and social deficits. Sensory behavioral differences also range from mild to severe, and these behavioral differences can endure through adulthood.

There are also other category at DSM-IV which said to have similar and more specific features on Abraham, which called Conduct Disorder (CD). Healthychildren.org informed that :

A child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and CD does have a greater chance of experiencing learning disabilities such as reading disorders and verbal impairment. What distinguishes children with ODD (oppositional deviant disorder) and CD is they are defiant and resistant. Furthermore they can be (in the case of CD) aggressive, cruel, or delinquent, behavior.

May Elly rest in peace. While the lesson she gave took us to learned it the hard way. It was an enormous and profound effect of changing our environment into a more vigilant society. In particular, for parents.

Marco, E. J., Hinkley, L. B., Hill, S. S., & Nagarajan, S. S. (2011). Sensory processing in autism: a review of neurophysiologic findings. Pediatric research, 69(5 Pt 2), 48R-54R.

Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity.

The Pediatric Research of Sensory Processing in Autism: A Review of Neurophysiologic Findings by Elysa Jill Marco, Leighton Barett Nicholas Hinkley, Susanna Shan Hill, and Srikantan Subramanian Nagarajan

Author: Fraya

A writer and entrepreneur with profound interest in humankind research and insights. An avid coffee drinker and book hoarder. Hours and days spent in Jakarta.