Asperger’s and Sandy Hook

If you suffered a loss as a result of yesterday’s shooting (whether they were Asperger’s diagnosed or not), please accept my condolences for your loss.

Disclaimer:  I do not know the Lanza family, nor do I know anyone or have contact with anyone in my personal or professional lives that know them.  I’m posting this because the media has attempted to bring Asperger’s Syndrome into the story.

It has been confirmed that Adam Lanza was the shooter responsible for the shooting in CT that occurred yesterday.  I post this, because Adam’s older brother, Ryan, told reporters that Adam allegedly had Autism and a personality disorder.  I also say ‘allegedly’ because there has been no definite proof released that Adam was ‘on the spectrum’.

You might ask “Why would he tell a reporter that information if it weren’t true?”  In times of crisis, reporters will hear and be exposed to a wide variety of information, from a wide variety of sources.  When it comes to journalism, it’s up to reporters to verify information gathered using whatever resources are available to them.

Depending on the outlets that you follow, some are coming out and saying that Adam Lanza had AS, some are calling it Autism, others are calling it a ‘personality disorder’.

I wrote this article to shed some light on some things:

  1. The media making a declaration of something, doesn’t always make it so.  In fact, to bolster ratings, the media will often try to take something like and run with it.

    Bottom line:  Unless a report made available to the public stating that Adam did have AS, assume it’s all speculation.

  2. The only people who knew definitively whether or not Adam Lanza had AS, were anyone involved with his mental health and care.  If it does come out that Adam did have AS, I will update this post accordingly.
  3. Since this blog is available to be read by anyone – neurotypical or Asperger, I want to point out that shooting sprees, vengeance, and a defiance to the law, are not typical or normal in those with Asperger’s.  I do encourage adult neurotypicals to read this blog, as I believe it will help them better understand us and how we function.

Things that are relatively common to those with Asperger’s include:

  • Difficulty with social situations including starting conversations or reading the flow of a conversation.
  • Difficulty or inability to pick up on or read social cues and nuances.
  • Inappropriate use of language or spoken word for the person’s age.
  • A strict sense of structure and order.
  • Total immersion in one or more subjects.
  • The associations that one with Asperger’s might make can be and sometimes are polar-opposite to those considered ‘neurotypical’.  It doesn’t make them back associations, just different.

It is also very common and very popular for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome to have comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, and in some cases ADHD.  These other diagnosis’ are made based on behaviors exhibited by the person at the time of testing, and could be a factor into why someone behaves the way they do.

Ultimately, until the validity of the diagnosis is known, don’t jump to any conclusions.

As always, I invite discussion either on this blog entry, ASA’s Twitter feed, or on the ASA Facebook Page.  Please be respectful and mindful of others in whatever you post.


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