SEQUIM, Wash. - A Sequim family is concerned about one of their children who is becoming increasingly violent. They are worried he will seriously injure someone in the family or himself.
They're hoping a new state law could allow them to get the help he needs.
Lynette Wilson and Scott Campbell have not one, but four sons with autism. One of them, 17-year-old Sean Wilson, has severe autism, and in the last few months has become dangerously violent.
“He became very aggressive toward his siblings. Then he would lash out at me,” said Lynette Wilson. ”I am his No. 1 trigger.”
During an emotional episode in February, they videotaped his behavior to show to doctors and mental health professionals, hoping to find some sort of help.
On another occasion, he grabbed a knife that was sitting on the kitchen counter.
“I was eventually able to get him to drop the knife. But you know I was in the middle of restraining him when Scott came home,” Wilson said.
“I walked in the front door and saw Lynette struggling with Sean,” said Campbell. “It was obvious he had a knife in his hand, and I eventually got the knife away from him.”
In the last month, they've called the police and taken him to the hospital three times. They've even gone to court seeking help.
But they say hospitals and agencies send him back home. Most of them tell the family he’s developmentally disabled, not mentally ill, so the options are limited. Also, the resources available to them on the Olympic Peninsula are limited.
“They're my kids. I want to be the very best parent that I can,” said Wilson. “It's very disheartening to recognize that even your very best efforts are not enough.”
Sean Wilson's family is hoping recently enacted legislation might help them. Joel's Law allows a family to petition a court to commit a person if mental health professionals deny him treatment. It's named after Joel Reuter, who became severely mentally ill and was shot to death by police despite his family's repeated attempts to get him help.
Now Wilson’s parents await word from a judge and hope they find an answer.