My thoughts on the death of Jarrod Tutko Jr

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The death of Jarrod Tutko was a tragic and sad event to happen. This is a horrible thing to have happen to this family. Both the father and mother were overwhelmed in the care of 6 children, of 5 who have/had various degrees of disabilities:

  • Deanna Tutko, 13, who was deaf
  • Makayla Tutko, 3
  • Aaron Tutko, 12, has developmental disabilities
  • Adrianna Tutko, 10, she is in a vegetative state, confined to a hospital bed and hooked up to tubes and monitors
  • Jarrod Tutko, 9, with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic defect along the autism spectrum that left her son intellectually disabled and with behavioral and learning challenges, failure to thrive
  • Braelyn Tutko, 6, has autism

Like everyone else, I too, have questions …

    • Why was Jarrod not in school? Were the other children in school? (However, depending on the school district they may have tried to fight the parents on proper placement or even encouraged home schooling ~ my daughter’s district tried that at one time)
    • Did the family try to seek services for all of the kids, i.e. therapies, respite care, etc? Ask for help when the children protection agency was there? (with the expectation of Adrianna)
    • Why did the mother and father not alternate care for Adrianna and Jarrod? Give one parent a break from dealing Jarrod who had more behavioral challenges? (If it was a question to avoid possible infection to Adrianna, there is a thing called soap, Lysol, etc to prevent infection)
    • Why continue to have children if the older three had existing health issues? (My daughter has Autism, I decided to stop with her … because it was not fair to her and any possible child to come along in regards to the time, attention, and care that Keri requires. One child would get more attention than the other. Also there was the factor if the possible child had any health concerns to deal with on top of Keri’s Autism.)
    • Why did the Father not call 911 when it was first discovered that Jarrod Jr was dead?

There are a multitude of questions that can be asked. I am not here too pass judgment on the family. I believe both parents were overwhelmed and maybe services previously sought failed this family (if they were sought).

BUT there are those people out there who have nice normal families with neurotypical children that can never understand what it is like to raise a child with special needs and the unique challenges that come along with it. There are people out there WHO DO have children with special needs and would never understand certain aspects if their children do not have behavior issues.

I, myself. have experienced a child who ripped up the floor and mattress. A child who destroyed all the furniture in her bedroom. I have experienced a child who peed on the floor and smeared feces all over the floor and walls. I experienced a child who would hardly sleep and cry, scream and yell during night time hours. I have experienced a child with behavioral issues – self injurious and to others. I have experienced a spouse who could not cope with these actions, and all of it fell on me. So I know with only one child it is overwhelming …. I could never imagine to understand dealing with what that family dealt with on a daily basis for years. I could only say the Tutko family probably did the best that they could do with all of the challenges going on.

Rest in peace Jarrod Jr and may you be in the company of angels!

Inside the Harrisburg home where child died: ‘They were a fighting family’