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View Diary: I Love An Asperger’s Child (133 comments)

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  •  More than one thing going on (29+ / 0-)

    Autism spectrum disorders are not linked to the sad fact that males in their late teens and early 20s sometimes have violent psychotic breaks.  If Adam Lanza was on the autism spectrum, his violent action is best explained as a parallel and unrelated (and under-researched) phenomena.  Similar shooters in other mass killing like this, such as Columbine or VA Tech, did not have an ASD diagnosis.  There's lots of ASD kids; sooner or later one of them was bound to fall prey to this unrelated, violent disordered impulse.

    A lot more research needs to be done about the fact that males (and exclusively males) sometimes break so violently at this developmental stage.  Because these breaks are relatively rare and it's so hard to tell when a youth is just not adapting versus ready to explode, we should be looking at ways to restrict access to semiautomatic handguns and assault weapons, at least to youth who fall into this demographic.  I've always felt like more of a centrist on these gun control issues, even as I feel contempt for gun fetishists.  But that's changing.  I don't see a remedy for this except to start placing restrictions on these weapons.  

    And I have an autistic nephew now in his teenage years.  There's nothing about his autism that would lead to violence.  There are other challenges, but deliberate cruelty or outward directed rage of this sort is simply not something related to autism.  Those of us who know Aspie or autistic kids know this... hope the word gets out.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:19:51 AM PST

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    •  Proactive mental health care (10+ / 0-)

      There may also be a need to give more power to parents and authorities over the mental health of young adults.  It is very difficult to intervene to force help upon an adult who refuses it and maybe we need to make an exception to that for people under 30 since mental illness often strikes in the early 20's.

    •  I have two aspie kids... (14+ / 0-)

      Both are the most wonderful kids in the world.  They do have their emotions, but may not know how to express them or have words for them.  

      My partner and I are also worried about the backlash from the investigation of the shooter.

      "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

      by doingbusinessas on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:52:42 AM PST

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    •  Good insight ivorybill (10+ / 0-)

      Young men 20-30 are under amazing stress at a time when they are supposed to leave home and become productive adults.  We had two in the past week have the "violent break" who went out wearing and using military equipment to kill Christmas shoppers and small children before killing themselves.  Beyond the shock and sadness, there is a need here to look at how we as a society are functioning.
      We need to look at the big picture.  The struggles of families with special needs children.  The lack of support for public schools.  Military equipment including guns sold at local stores and over the internet often without restriction or requirements for training.  This past week was a big flag saying our society is in decay.  

    •  Yes, many people have some sort of disorder (4+ / 0-)

      related to the neurological system, whether mild or severe. The brain is an organ that is just as variable and subject to varying degrees of functioning as other organs and systems in the body. (Skin is an organ and think of the incredible variation there!) It can be something well-defined like dyslexia, where signals are not corrected processed, or depression, which is likely a chemical imbalance, or something not really well defined in society that causes anti-social behavior that is not labeled, except by calling that person a jerk. If having a certain disorder was enough to become a mass murderer the human species would be on the verge of extinction.

      It's the combination of disorders that might lead to violent behavior. Fortunately, because these events are relatively rare, it appears to take an extraordinary combination of conditions, some of which are mostly benign on their own, to result in mass murder. (And we should take into account the availability of treatment for those conditions and environmental circumstances that may exacerbate them.)

      I say relatively rare because there is far more violence that does not reach this level. How many instance of murder occur every week perhaps because someone's anger and frustration rules their behavior and it is combined with a narcissism that focuses blame outward on one or two people and a lack of empathy that blunts your recognition of another person's humanity? But it would also take a complete lack of the almost universal instinct to protect children to shoot up a school.

    •  Isnt this also the right age (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln

      for schizophrenia to have recently appeared? I think I remember hearing that the first break is often in the early 20s ? that would make a lot more sense as a contributing factor than autism would

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