Matt Stapleton: We're So Lucky My Daughter Is Alive

Matt Stapleton Speaks Out Since Wife Tried to Kill Herself, Autistic Daughter
Matt Stapleton and his children (from left) Ainsley, McEwen and Issy
Elinor Carucci

07/06/2014 AT 04:25 PM EDT

Issy Stapleton is baking.

"Cake!" she blurts out in a loud, firm voice that would intimidate if it weren't her normal tone.

"She has a sweet tooth – she gets that from her dad," says Matt Stapleton.

He watches as his 15-year-old, who has autism, delicately cracks three eggs, adds them to a mixing bowl, then licks the chocolate batter.

Later, when Matt says it's time to walk to the post office – a task Issy knows from the written schedule that keeps her on track – she counters, "Drive to post office."

Matt repeats "walk."

"Drive!" Issy demands.

She hits her head twice, throws a water bottle, hurls a pan of corn cooling on the stove, then looks for a reaction.

Matt pretends nothing happened. "Okay, it's time to walk to the post office," he says calmly.

After nearly losing his daughter for good, he views even these violent outbursts as a gift.

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