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My grandnephew Tristen has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is one of the most loving, fun, intelligent, and caring people I know. He has walked a mile in heavy traffic to come over and make me tea when I wasn’t feeling good. He calls to check and see how I am. After the sudden death of his Grandpa Mike he is even more concerned about my fragile health and anxious that nothing happens to me. He is our tech support and computer guru. He has blossomed so much in the last year since he got involved in technical theater.

Tristen has had to work hard to learn how to interact with others appropriately. He has well above average intelligence. He is a junior in High School and already colleges are trying to convince him to become a student at their institution. He is in National Honors Society. He has overcome bullying because he is different. He has learned how to make friends.

Tristen and I are very close and bonded the first time we met when he was a baby. I helped raise his mother and she refers to me as Mom. She told me with the death of her Dad, my brother Mike, that I was now officially Mom and Grandmother. I’m also Godmother to her and all three children.

I love my Aspie grandson. I worry that the media with their inability to research a story will take Adam Lanza’s actions and tar and feather a group of people who do not deserve to be linked with his monstrous actions. Whatever Adam Lanza’s demons were that drove him to this vile act it was not the Asperger’s. We are going to have to do the job that the MSM is incapable of doing. We are going to have to defend our Aspie family and friends and get the truth about Asperger’s Syndrome out there. I ask for you help in doing this.

My niece wrote this on Facebook. My brother and I have already shared this and Bernadette has sent this to George Takei asking for his help. Will you please share this on any social media you are on.

“Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder are NOT predisposed to violent or criminal behavior. Research does not back up the violent Asperger's offender theory, and studied offenders with AS usually had co-morbid mental health issues and/or additional commonly recognized risk factors. More evidence suggests children with Asperger's syndrome are victims rather than victimizers.

Please do not blame Adam Lanza's actions on Asperger's, or label the non-neurotypical population based on this tragedy. It is bad enough the number of times I've seen "Aspie" used as an insult in the past couple weeks in article or page comments. I won't tolerate my sons' uniqueness disrespected and misrepresented further.”

Originally posted to michelewln on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Parenting on the Autism Spectrum, KosAbility, KOSpectrum, and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (139+ / 0-)
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    TomP, willyr, Scruggler, tonyahky, Brahman Colorado, vcmvo2, leu2500, raboof, arizonablue, eric611, suesue, doraphasia, Alma, 50sbaby, political mutt, Youffraita, Foundmyvoice, revsue, BeninSC, jck, Hammerhand, Throw The Bums Out, Pandoras Box, kmoore61, el dorado gal, LillithMc, Vatexia, Lorikeet, StateOfGrace, MaryinHammondsport, dle2GA, Steven D, gramofsam1, Damnit Janet, AnnieJo, maybeeso in michigan, raina, cocinero, smalakoff, mofembot, Fe, Jimdotz, greenbell, Lost and Found, ivorybill, Avila, mcgee85, CanadaGoose, klompendanser, mamamorgaine, JNSD, BlackSheep1, Nica24, dejavu, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, petulans, CTLiberal, weck, p gorden lippy, WI Deadhead, Old Surgeon, psnyder, KelleyRN2, cyeko, calebsdad, Sylar, ladybug53, Horace Boothroyd III, DrPlacebo, MarkInSanFran, burana, VTCC73, m00finsan, DvCM, SteelerGrrl, Vacationland, Killer, blue armadillo, Miss Jones, smokem2271, Tchrldy, MT Clarity, tofumagoo, eataTREE, Ignacio Magaloni, Brooke In Seattle, Dave in Northridge, lovelylight, cherie clark, asterkitty, jguzman17, jabney, pedmom, ccasas, Most Awesome Nana, se portland, pimutant, Christy1947, Timmethy, Independent Musings, Troubadour, koosah, BRog, blukat, Sandy on Signal, Liberal Heretic, second alto, Kay Observer2, 417els, demoKatz, chimene, akmk, Aaa T Tudeattack, gmats, DJ Rix, worldlotus, shigeru, enufisenuf, hotdamn, Critical Dune, Matt Z, Gardener in PA, never forget 2000, emal, tash123, Marjmar, dotdash2u, 4thgendem, Chinton, linkage, Involuntary Exile, NCJan, MadEye, livjack, Gorette, jakewaters, Psyche, antimony, pademocrat

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:04:26 AM PST

  •  My partner has a son with (39+ / 0-)

    high functioning autism.  (they may all it something different now, but it is a spectrum and, fortunately, he is able to be mainstreamed in school and does ok much of the time.  Having lived with him for almost 5 yeras (he 's in 9th grade now)  I 've learned a lot.  That Mr. Lanza had a form of autism likely had little to do with the murders.  There are probably a million people with some degree of autism in this nation and just the odds means that like non - autistic folks,  some will suffer from mental illness.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:13:09 AM PST

    •  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

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

        [ Parent ]

      •  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:

        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

    •  I think it may have been his co-morbidities (8+ / 0-)

      He had OCD and a personality disorder which caused a friend of the family to call him"kind of a sociopath." If he really was diagnosed with a personality disorder, I'd say that would easily explain some of what happened since several of these do correlate with violent behavior. From what I've read, it sounds like he was diagnosed, so no real speculation there about that. Also, he could have been misdiagnosed since sometimes folks with personality disorders are undiagnosed schizophrenics who haven't yet met the criterion; he was twenty which is the age when many cases first show up. A psychiatrist can best explain this.

      We bandy around the word "mental illness" like it's one thing when in fact, each disorder is highly distinct. The difference between my friend's generalized anxiety and my grandfather's schizophrenia and my friend's child with autism are world's apart. We would be wise to remember that disordered thinking and delusional disorders and some personality disorders are not like other mental health issues that are not linked to increased violence: personality disorders, however, are associated with a strong correlation with violence (.pdf alert).

      Today, the police have said that they have a plausible understanding of the shooter's motivation. I think we'll hear more as time goes on. I'd say regardless of his particular motives, no one who kills children in cold blood can, by definition, be mentally stable enough to be considered sane.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:02:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's also a lot of cross-over... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        While it's common to talk about psychiatric disorders as unique entities, they're really symptoms.  Rather than thinking of Autism or Schizophrenia as a disease, they should be considered a symptom of an as-yet-amorphous underlying disorder.

        A good parallel of what I'm saying would be high blood pressure.  High blood pressure can have dozens of causes -- bad diet leading to clogged arteries, genetics, medications, or hormonal imbalances. On the surface, the symptoms may be similar, but the causes, treatability, and eventual outcome can be dramatically different.

        It's become common in the Autism research field to refer to "the autisms", to acknowledge the many different causes of Autism, and how Autism may show itself differently in different people.  It's also quite common that psychiatric disorders can blend together somewhat... It's not uncommon for Autistic people to have brief episodes of psychosis, and around a third of Autistic kids have epileptic symptoms.  Also, prior to the first recognized episodes of psychosis, people who will eventually be diagnosed as schizophrenic appear similar to many that would be considered on the Autism spectrum.

        This is a long winded way of saying that mental illness is complex, and it's just plain wrong to try to tar and feather the millions of perfectly harmless people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, because this particular cold-blooded killer may have some superficial similarities.

      •  One of your links is broken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The phrase "kind of a sociopath" should link to here. (Final character should be an "l", not a slash. Either a typo or Bloomberg moved the page.)

    •  Million? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      417els, michelewln

      As of five years ago my understanding was that 1 in 125 children were estimated to be diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder and the percentage was increasing quickly. I guess depending on the incidence in previous generations it could be as low as a million but anecdotally and from the level of media attention it seems much higher.

      Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

      by emidesu on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 05:52:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I believe there are plenty of adults who have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        michelewln, llywrch

        AS and would be diagnosed with Asperger's if they were children today.

        I also know some children who have been labeled as having ASD that I believe is an incorrect diagnosis.  AS is one of the "new kids on the block".  I remember when every child who didn't fit the 'expected behavior model' was diagnosed as having ADHD.  Behavior that doesn't fit a given conventional definition of 'normal' often gets a fashionable diagnosis.

        A very young first time student who squirms while confined to a school desk and talks to their neighbor IS normal in my opinion.  Healthy young children are full of physical and mental energy.  When it's inconvenient for adults, too often there must be a diagnosis and medication.

        My best friend's son was labeled by the school as having ADHD and required to take medication.  I was around this child a lot and he was NOT hyper-active and his ability to pay attention wasn't impaired.  He's a grown adult now, but what happened to him still infuriates me.

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:56:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  most recent numbers I have seen (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        say 1 in 88 children, and 1 in 54 boys. (my autistic child is a boy, my daughter is diagnosed with asthma and ADHD)

  •  Thank you for writing this. Attempts to brand (28+ / 0-)

    autistic people as "violent" and "dangerous" are not only ignorant, they are an attempt at scapegoating a certain segment of the population in order to avoid dealing with the real problem. My own severely autistic daughter would simply not be capable of committing an atrocity like the shooter in Connecticut--such a concept would be completely alien to her.  The real problem is a lack of reasonable gun control and gun safety regulations, and a lack of appropriate mental health services for those who need them.

    Regardless of what the shooter's medical diagnosis may have been, it was obvious to the family that he had problems--and it was irresponsible of the boy's mother to give him access to firearms.

    I was just reading on the Brady Campaign website that about a third of all homes with children in the US have firearms, and of those homes, about 40% store their guns unlocked. I couldn't find statistics on gun storage status in homes with an adult with a mental illness--but I personally think that failure to properly secure firearms in a home where a child, or a mentally ill or impaired person lives should constitute a criminal neglect charge.

    I addition, many people equate learning disabilities, such as autism, with mental illness, and assume that all persons with learning disabilities or mental illnesses are prone to violence. This, in turn, leads not only to discrimination, but to inappropriate and ineffectual care for these individuals.

  •  Thank you. (27+ / 0-)

    Just about every "weird kid" stereotype is surfacing about this guy - he had "no friends", he was "intellectual", he was "a gamer", he "had Aspergers", he "wore weird things to school".  Coming next: he was lousy in gym, too.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:02:12 AM PST

    •  In my school experience (13+ / 0-)

      the people with those traits were the least violent and were much less aggressive/hostile.

    •  on one hand it's rather silly (5+ / 0-)

      but on the other, it's rather understandable that people are trying to find reasons to explain the tragedy. Not saying they're right, but it's in our nature to try to make sense of tragedies like these.

      Live your life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don't wait. Because right now is the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll be ever again.-- some wise person on the Internets.

      by raina on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:37:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  just a thought (10+ / 0-)

        but the common denominator that makes sense to me isn't alleged Asperger's (said of Aurora, CO shooter as well), and now, apparently the alleged shooter in CT.

        video games, i.e. Call of Duty, violent shooting games in which a character can be shot with a full clip and then still get up and walk away.  i truly believe these kinds of games are dangerous influences on children.  Ms. Lanza is said to have taken her children target shooting as well.  she was a gun enthusiast, per Slate.

        •  Um...yeah... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Heretic, worldlotus

          Video games have nothing to do with this.  Call of Duty and other such games are rated Mature for a reason; to provide guidance to people purchasing those games so that they know it's not for kids.  It's much like movie ratings.

          The problem is enforcement of said ratings.  Parents who still purchase/watch this stuff for their age-inappropriate children and no supervision, regardless of what the box says.

          No, the problem here was the shooter's mental state and his access to guns.  It has nothing to do with media. (Because those warning and rating labels only go so far.)

          •  thanks for proving my point (0+ / 0-)

            maybe not your intention, but thanks all the same.  tim wise has a much more comprehensive post about this.

            Yes, we need to talk about this. Please sign the dKos Petition to start a national conversation about gun control.

            by Avila on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 12:56:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, whatever you want to believe (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Liberal Heretic, worldlotus

              I'm saying that as a sci-fi writer who writes mature fiction for the over-18 crowd, it isn't the media at fault here.  I can slap all the "this is for mature audiences only" labels on my materials all I want, but at the end of the day, the enforcement falls onto parents, not government, and not the creators of said content.  To suggest otherwise is pure laziness.

              That being said, I know people who have watched not-for-kid stuff at a young age, and they haven't become homicidal maniacs.  I still wouldn't recommend showing that stuff to children that are clearly not for them, but at least one can argue that parents need to set boundaries on children and teach them from right and wrong.

              Bottom line is, if you think a game or a movie is the root of society's problems, you're not looking in the right direction.  

              •  could it just be our culture of violence, we (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                glorify it, not good for anyone kid or not.

                The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

                by cherie clark on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:31:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Glorifying is a problem. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Liberal Heretic, worldlotus

                  But the media is only projecting what they think the public wants.  Really, most sane people can tell fact from fiction.

                  Here's a radical idea for you; how about if you don't want your kids watching/playing/reading adult material that is explicitly labeled as such, then don't buy it for them.  Educate yourself as a parent about movie/game/TV ratings.  I'm looking to get paid as an entertainer for myself and for anyone who might like my stories.  I'm not looking to be anyone's babysitter.  I've opted out of the gene-pool for one reason; I wouldn't be able to cope with a child 24/7 and shouldn't be expected to manage what the children might see/read/whatever (particularly if they aren't mine to begin with).  Not with my mental health issues.

                  I have friends and relatives with kids and all of them have the common sense to say, "No" to said kids when they don't want them exposed to specific material.  It's called responsibility.  

                  I see violent movies and my newest TV obsession is True Blood (violence and sex).  But it doesn't turn me into some homicidal maniac and/or sex fiend.  The problem is lax gun laws and a system that is a poor one for people with mental health issues.  

          •  How many parents bother to check, my (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shaharazade, Avila

            grandson who is 8 has played inappropriate video games since he was 4. No matter how often I mention it isn't good for him, I get told to mind my own business. SAme with adult themed movies, if he has a question he will ask. REALLY! He sees things he hasn't yet gotten the life experience to process and is going to think to ask a question? He isn't mature enough to know he has a question. Unfortunately my son is afraid of his X so it continues, hopefully I won't be visiting him on death row. It scares me half to death that she could be so stupid about the welfare of her child.

            The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

            by cherie clark on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:29:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Video Games don't kill people, (0+ / 0-)

            Video Gamers do.

            I'm sorry, but the entertainment industry and basically, our American society, as a whole, has to step up and take some responsibility, when someone acts on a society's collective violent fantasies.

        •  I don't think being a gun enthusiast is really an (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          issue under normal circumstances. I can't help but wonder why the guns were where he could get them.

          The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die. ~ Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy

          by cherie clark on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:25:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And a paranoid mother who collected guns (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And took disturbed son to the shooting range, for target practice.

          My dog is a member of Dogs Against Romney: He rides inside.

          by adigal on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:47:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  more details (0+ / 0-)

            Yes, we need to talk about this. Please sign the dKos Petition to start a national conversation about gun control.

            by Avila on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:04:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  And I bet you that is where he got his ideas (0+ / 0-)

            Not from tv, the Internet or video games, but his mother.

            From what I've read so far -- I've not paid that close attention to this, the subject depresses me -- his mother fit the profile in many ways. And with little ability to interact with the outside world, Adam was thoroughly indoctrinated with her world view. As a highly intelligent person, he was able to carry out this violence with appalling efficiency.

            Damn, I wish there was a way to better monitor parenting that wasn't an example of the cure being worse than the illness.

            FWIW, the only other person I can think of who fits the profile of a violent loner with psychological problems is Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unibomber.

    •  Gosh, sounds like me until I hit adolesence and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln, cactusgal

      discovered that girls at least could camouflage that under well applied make-up.

  •  My son's an Aspie too (36+ / 0-)

    And he's a great kid.  Several times during his public school years I had teachers or other parents imply that he reminded them of some 'columbine kid'.  Which really distressed me as it couldn't be farther from the truth.  So I unschooled him and he's now a successful apprentice in a machine shop where he is highly valued for exactly the traits that made non-engineering types uncomfortable.

    It was a challenge at times, but raising him was an honor.

    For every vengeance there is an equal but opposite revengeance

    by mothnflame on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:13:10 AM PST

    •  I also have a son with Asperger's... (15+ / 0-)

      ... and I could literally copy and paste the diarist's description of her grandnephew, change the names, and post her otherwise exact words about him.

      He is brilliant in so many ways that I -- a math professor who earned a 4.0 in college -- am constantly amazed by: Just two days ago, this 11th-grader and I discussed the nature of the American democratic republic and how it compares to the ancient Greek city-states, then we contemplated the nature of Dark Energy and how it might relate to Multiverse Theory, and then he went off to work on yet another one of the symphonic band pieces he is composing online for his high school band to perform.

      But ask him to talk to a girl his own age and he blathers and bumbles and sounds like he's... well... not so smart... which truly is a damn shame, because all you young ladies out there need to know that he will make an absolutely outstanding husband and father -- forever loyal and devoted his family's well-being.

      That this sweet, smart, loyal kid will have to fight off the notion that he might in the slightest way be violent is damned shameful of an irresponsible media.

      Support the Fair Wages Tariff!

      by Jimdotz on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:09:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love an Asperger's child, too. He is my son. (30+ / 0-)

    Thanks for a thoughtful diary.

    My son is a gentle person, as kind as the day is long. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school class and is now attending college. He works part-time delivering flowers while going to school.

    He has a great sense of humor and many friends, loyal to them to the nth degree.  He is active in our church and extremely intelligent. He loves cars, computers, classic rock and roll, and has a messy room like most guys his age. He has Asperger's, but it doesn't define him; it is just a small part of who he is.

    Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

    by 50sbaby on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:20:14 AM PST

  •  Me, too. (17+ / 0-)

    We are just going through finally getting my son tested.  He is only 12 but a lot like Tristen.  This process is making me realize how far he's come and his amazing resourcefulness in overcoming bullying and ostracism, developing some social skills--also his affection, sincerity, and good will.

    This is a worrisome time.  There's also, as I understand it, some stuff out there in the literature that could become part of a hostile perception:  labeling as "autistic psychopathy," for example.  I note that poor social cognition is a common feature of Asperger's and psychopathy, and that both have IMO vague and sloppy diagnostic criteria.  

    •  Diagnosis is a mess (15+ / 0-)

      and those that have to write the DSM will even tell you that.  The problem is that the etiology of various disorders is so poorly known, that they end up making bucket categories of symptoms instead of disease processes as is the case when diagnosing something like a blood disease or whatever.  An Autism Spectrum Disorder kid clearly has symptoms of poor socialization and interpersonal communication, and so do kids with something else going on that leads to social withdrawal.  But the causes may be completely different. One is autistic, with a differently wired brain, and the other develops elaborate fantasies perhaps related to some emotional regulation problem unrelated to neural wiring... and for some reason anger rages out of control.  The same symptoms too lead to different people being lumped together with diagnoses that actually may well have nothing to do with underlying causes.  Diagnoses are also a mess because when it comes to behavior, not only is the brain so complex that there's usually not a single reason for anything to go wrong, but brain plasticity and the effects of environment can lead to such disparate outcomes.

      “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 09:32:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (9+ / 0-)

        I didn't mean to imply judgment of those tasked with defining disorders and making diagnoses.  I think the emphasis on clinically observable criteria is probably as responsible as they can get.  I feel, though, that as someone who very probably has AS, the neurotypical folks on the other side (trying to define and diagnose) are missing a whole lot just when it comes to describing and understanding the condition.  And, as you suggest, outward behavior can have complex determinants.

        Plus I've read some about psychopathy and the laudable attempts to understand and define it.  Perhaps a good summary of the arbitrary quality of definitions and diagnoses is given by Robert Hare (developer of the 20-point diagnostic scale) himself, observing that the definition of psychopathy is somewhat determined by the fact that they mostly study psychopaths in prison, and that if they studied them on the Vancouver stock exchange they might come up with a different array of traits.  

  •  I know some Aspie kids too. (9+ / 0-)

    They're good kids. Sometimes I think they  have more insight than us "regular" people.

  •  My Asperger kid is snoozing away like every other (14+ / 0-)

    teenager right now.    

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:43:40 AM PST

  •  My son has Asperger's (20+ / 0-)

    I am a mental health professional employed in the public schools. Whatever drove this kid to murder, it wasn't Asperger's. my guess is some sort of psychotic break, given his age, but even then, very few psycotic breaks lead to this kind of violence. Self injury is way more a concern. I'm thinking there's too many fucking guns at this point. And I don't give a shit who gets offended by that. Even my gun totin BIL in ME is heartsick this morning, and said he is seeing things differently. And he was never in favor of access to automatic weapons. i'm also an outdoorsman who fishes a lot; a lot of my fishing partners hunt. The best ones use a bow. None of them uses a Glock.

  •  holy crow, I had no idea. I love several Aspies. (14+ / 0-)

    I missed this piece of the news about Lanza.

    Yes, we need to fight the inclination to demonize people with Asperger's. I have several Aspie friends and my daughter has been evaluated for it. (Though we were told she does not have Asperger's, she has a lot of similarities to those who do.)

    I can't imagine any of these people whom I know ever committing an act of violence. In fact, most of them are so sensitive that they won't even eat meat because they can't bear that an animal was killed.

  •  People with Asperger's do not lack empathy (19+ / 0-)

    they just don't know how to show it. i heard a neurologist say how he was sometimes too candid with patients, but he understood when a Parkinson's patient complained that his facial expressions no longer matched his moods due to the disease ( the famous Parkinson's stare ) because he himself as an Aspie also couldn't express his feelings, even though he experienced the emotions.

  •  While I don't have an actual diagnosis, (14+ / 0-)

    I spent a LOT of grad school classroom time studying the criteria.   Based upon that, I'm 95% positive that my firstborn is an Aspie.   I'm about 75% or more sure that I am, too.

    It took a lot of work for him to learn to engage socially--to look people in the eye, and to allow more personal space than he felt was right.   When you speak to someone, in our culture, who doesn't look back at you...and when they stand close to you as well, it can feel creepy and threatening when that's not at all what was intended.   Once he was able to change them, his life changed for the better.  At 40, he holds a professional position in health care and is a VERY caring advocate for the suffering and the helpless.

    I agree...we CANNOT let them scapegoat one mental condition for a worse mental condition...the addiction to guns and a culture of death and violence that our nation is caught in.

    "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

    by revsue on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:07:24 AM PST

  •  I don't think there are many people left in (7+ / 0-)

    this country who DON'T love someone on the spectrum.

    We NEED to increase awareness and understanding.  Even of kids who are undiagnosed but are just "weird" or "hard to get along with".

    My son (who remember, has an autistic sister) was complaining about having to sit next to a kid in band who was "weird" and "hard t get along with".  He would cry frequently, and boy that set this kid apart in high school.

    I tried not to come down too hard on my son, though I wanted to.  But I did explain in stark terms that though no one could force him to be friends with this kid, perhaps he should remember all the undiagnosed Aspie's out there and have a frickin' heart.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:29:25 AM PST

  •  Thank you! (8+ / 0-)

    Lets make sure this is NOT about autism but about the lack of gun control in this country.

    My son is 20 and autistic.  

    This will only put a bigger target on his back now.

    It might be time to leave the USA.  For the safety of my children from guns and bullies and now this...  theblaming of this tragedy on my son's diagnosis.

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:34:22 AM PST

  •  One of the twits on CNN was making much (8+ / 0-)

    of the Asperger's angle.
    I can say that Anderson Copper shut that down.

    Said that violence is not an Asperger's trait.

    But they have to have something to sensationalize.

    Fuddle Duddle--- Pierre Trudeau.... Canadian politics at......A Creative Revolution

    by pale cold on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:41:54 AM PST

  •  My Nephew has Aspergers (10+ / 0-)

    As an infant, I would hold him while he bawled for hours for no apparent reason.

    As a toddler, I helped keep the area calmer since loud noises physically hurt him.

    As a child, I respected his distance and rare times he would talk to you.

    As a teenager I respect his distance, cherice the rare hugs and times he will talk to me.

    I know an Uncle can't have favorites.  I dearly love my Nephew who has made tremendous strides since he was a child.  

    He knows, that his Uncle will always be there for him.

  •  Thank you for writing this. My first thought (7+ / 0-)

    when Asperger's was mentioned was--oh no-here it comes...

    I love a nephew who has Asperger's.  Sweetest kid I know- just  has a really hard time understanding how and why people act the way they do.  

    Nothing connected with Asperger's has anything to do with violence of any kind.

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:46:30 AM PST

  •  I'm an Aspie, or as the say now, on the (8+ / 0-)

    Autistic Spectrum, at the more functional end.

    I get along okay. In the 62 years I've been alive, I've learned to pick up on social clues, most of the time.

    I accept it as part of who I am. My partner jokes about The Absent Minded Professor.

    "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here:

    by Kimball Cross on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:02:29 AM PST

  •  I have two friends who have Asperger's. (5+ / 0-)

    Both are pacifists who would not harm anyone.  It makes me furious that know-nothing twits in the media are insinuating that the fact that the killer in Connecticut had Asperger's might have caused this insane rampage.

    A more valid question that they should be asking is why the killer's mother, who lived in a supposedly tranquil upscale neighborhood, felt it necessary to own two guns and a rifle, and why she didn't keep them in a gun safe, knowing that her son was mentally unstable.

  •  My nephew was diagnosed with it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, second alto, worldlotus

    It's ridiculous to think of him ever hurting anyone.

  •  i have a little boy (6+ / 0-)

    with Asperger's, whom i love dearly, and looks like i'm in good company in this thread, but autism spectrum is now 1:90, I believe.

    pay no mind to the culture vultures in the media.  they love to use the word Asperger's.  why? because they think average people watching at home will see that, get on the phone or the internet and spread the world "he was DIFFERENT!!!1!!! and not like us."

    more film at 11.

    there is absolutely no tendency to violence or predisposition to violence in individuals with Asperberger's.  pay no mind to that Otherizing you see.  our kids are the least likely to hurt a soul.  i don't know if Lanza had AS or not, but if he did, he had something else at play, i.e. a sociopathy, or RAD, as the stem or violent impulse.

  •  This young man executed 20 children (5+ / 0-)

    and at least 6 adults because he was a psychopath, NOT because of autism or Asperger's syndrome

  •  Amen (4+ / 0-)

    I have a son who is a high-functioning autistic, kind of on the borderline with AS. A sweeter, more considerate young man would be hard to find. Spectrum kids seem to be born without guile and they don't learn it either. My son was in and out of special ed, but when he finally got to high school and was in a combination of regular and resource classes, he really bloomed, and he was quite a favorite at his school.

    Adam Lanza obviously had a lot of mental health issues, but you can't blame AS for his murderous rampage. That may be easy, but it's wrong.

    Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

    by Jilly W on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:25:11 AM PST

  •  Daily Kos Is Like Crack (0+ / 0-)

    For people with certain personality characteristics that have been medicalizes as Asperger's.  You will get lots of support here.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:32:01 AM PST

    •  Aspergers is a neurodevelopmental disability (5+ / 0-)

      It is NOT a personality characteristic or personality disorder.

      It means a person's BRAIN actually is structured differently and responds differently to the world - we are just starting to figure out how all that works-

      but it is profoundly anti-science in a tea-baggery sort of way to dismiss valid diagnosis of this condition and "medicalizing"

      The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

      by jgkojak on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:36:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is It? (0+ / 0-)

        Is any kid who is unusual now said to be disabled?

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:43:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Over my lifetime more and more children (0+ / 0-)

          Have been diagnosed as one thing or the other.  

          Fad diagnoses, fad treatments. It's rather shocking. I work with foster children and quite a few of them are on 5(five) meds. Two uppers, 3 downers. And gee, they still have "behaviors".

          This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

          by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:20:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Aspergers and Autism Spectrum (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ARE NOT MADE UP DISORDERS??!!!!

            You're kind of on the side of the anti-global warming crowd to deny the science behind this.

            for example...

            The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

            by jgkojak on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:14:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I. Did. Not. Say. It. Was. !Geez! (0+ / 0-)

              I was talking about the waves of different diagnoses which have washed through society.

              I am actually trained in a modality that can be helpful for autistic children/people.

              Jump to conclusions much?

              This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

              by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:44:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Fad diagnosis since 1944 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That's a pretty long fad.

            Aspergers is no longer a distinct "fad diagnosis" because it's now properly classified as being within the autism spectrum, which is itself becoming better understood.

            Science, which is something that doesn't give a shit about your uninformed opinion, has made remarkable advances in recent years getting a better understanding of a very complex neurological disorder, which is why diagnosis is becoming more accurate. Also, there are no medications for autism, which is why I can dismiss you as an uninformed crank who belongs in the same category as climate change denialists and anti-vaxxers.

            Eat, breed, die. Everything else is a diversion.

            by ooddaa on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:35:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I. Did. Not. Say. It. Was. !Geez! (0+ / 0-)

              I was talking about the waves of different diagnoses which have washed through society.

              I am actually trained in a modality that can be helpful for autistic children/people.

              Jump to conclusions much?

              This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

              by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:45:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  You, sir, are a troll (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Heretic, gmats, Matt Z

      You have NO IDEA what it's like to not being able to understand why your obsessions and hobbies are unappreciated and not being able to properly behave in the manners by which neurotypical people expect of you.  I doubt you've experienced bullying because of social awkwardness and missed cues.  I doubt you know the pain of over-sensory stimulation to the point of meltdown and/or exhaustion.

      As I am an Aspie, fuck you.  I was once that kid who was bullied because I had an obsession over dinosaurs (right down to the phonetic spellings of their names, mind you) and because I failed to fit in precisely because of my social development.  I had teachers who thought I was a fucking idiot because of my lack of social skills and tried to hold me back, but my parents wouldn't let them because they knew that in spite of the lack in social skills, I had an above-average IQ.  I was that kid who would be fucking ten pages ahead in reading, and couldn't understand why there would be kids who couldn't read past the third grade high school and college, no less.  Hell, I can read Shakespeare better than a lot of people I know.   Regardless, I still find it hard to relate with other humans, and I have issues with employment precisely because of said issues.  My computer calms me, as does my art and writing.  

      •  Seems Unlikely (0+ / 0-)

        That you know what I know.

        This being said, do you feel like you are disabled -- or just unusual, perhaps even unique?

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:13:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excuse Me (3+ / 0-)
          This being said, do you feel like you are disabled -- or just unusual, perhaps even unique?
          As the person who did this diary I want to say your behavior is reprehensible. That question is exactly the reason I wrote this diary. It is hard enough for people with Asperger's to deal with this crazy world of ours without people like you trying to make them feel like they are freaks. Some of the best contributions to our society have been made by people with Asperger's. People like the late John Denver and Jim Henson. Aspies are incredible people with much to give to this world. They do not deserve abuse. What you are doing in this thread is abusive and I am asking you to leave now. If you continue I will report you to the Administration of Daily Kos.

          "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

          by michelewln on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:43:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, Excuse Me (0+ / 0-)

            I pointed out the addictive nature of this medium for a person with this type of personality. Probably most of the really active posters here have experiences and behavior such that some would consider them to have "Asperger's Syndrome."

            I have some theories about why this is so.

            Then I objected to the medicalization of this phenomenon.

            I was told it was a disability.

            Then someone started yelling at me when I asked if it really was?

            If it's a disability, what is the treatment, I wonder. Institutionalization? Drugs?

            More likely, this isn't a syndrome at all -- it's part of the natural spectrum of how humans are. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with people with these personality or behavioral characteristics.

            "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

            by bink on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 02:02:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Uh, he's just acting Aspie. Discussing facts as (0+ / 0-)

            though there could be no emotional context inside others to whom he is speaking.

            I'm not saying he IS Aspie--merely pointing out that he's acting in a similar fashion.

            Further, I think he's right, re likely makeup of those on DK. Probably higher than average geeks, high IQ, Aspie, etc. That's neither bad nor good, just a fact.

            And FWIW, a professional in both fields told me that "gifted" (high IQ) and Aspie-Autistic people... Many of the issues overlap.

            This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

            by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:12:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I am AS (5+ / 0-)

    I am in my late 40's and in the last 5 years I self-diagnosed as AS. I have never heard AS to be known as "violent", I can only hope that the people at work and in my social life don't suddenly shun me or report me to authorities as potentially dangerous. is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 10:42:10 AM PST

  •  Thank you Michele!!!! (4+ / 0-)

    My son is also a wonderful Aspie and I wish I could transport your feelings and insight into the minds of everyone who doesn't share them already.

    Thank you.

    Maybe just maybe our foremothers and our forefathers came to this land in different ships. But we're all in the same boat now. - John Lewis

    by bluesheep on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:06:51 AM PST

  •  My grandson as well...sweet child (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, second alto, worldlotus

    with borderline autism.

    Gun lovers are desperate to cast blame.

    We can't let them.

    It's weak gun laws and lack of political will that caused this tragedy.

    Yeah, we won. Now, let's kick some progressive ass!

    by cyeko on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:22:33 AM PST

  •  Whoever approved the NYT article (4+ / 0-)

    that first brought up Adam Lanza's diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome is up there among today's worst persons. The NYT article was the first of them, and actually went online before they even knew for a fact that Adam Lanza had AS. But more importantly, it jumps to the conclusion that only people with some kind of diagnosed mental illness commit mass shootings, and it irresponsibly links AS to violence.

    That scapegoating has real consequences. I know firsthand. I was kicked out of medical school the day after the Virginia Tech shootings for no other reason than that I was an Asian-American with depression. I found a lawyer and got a favorable settlement, but it still completely destroyed three years of my life, and I’m still dealing with the aftereffects. And what about those who, as a result of the knee-jerk reactions, become too disabled to actively enforce their legal rights? Lawsuits after the fact aren't going to fully repair the damage. The scapegoating needs to end.

  •  My daughter is an Aspie (4+ / 0-)

    She's a goofball :-) as she herself would say.

    Do I laugh now, or wait 'til it gets funny?

    by WalterNeff on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 12:21:02 PM PST

  •  I have Asperger's Syndrome myself (5+ / 0-)

    Adam Lanza pulled off a sadistic mass murder at an elementary school in Connecticut, and the fact that he had Asperger's Syndrome was more than likely the least of his personal problems.

    Elizabeth Warren on the Senate Banking Committee is a BFD!

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:32:04 PM PST

  •  His Mother collected guns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, worldlotus

    Guns she obviously did not keep secured.

    In trying to make sense of it, and that is what people are trying to do, one wonders about the comorbidity of other problems. You are right Asperger's does not explain this. Something else was going on.

    He had a confrontation of some sort with the school a few days earlier. Three of the four people that confronted him are dead. The other one was not working that day. This does not sound like Aspeger's to me. You would avoid contact and confrontation as I understand it.

    My girlfriend keeps asking why no one saw it? Why there were semi-automatic guns laying around?

    If you are a gun owner, you are responsible for those guns.

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 02:29:55 PM PST

    •  although we still don't know the details, isn't it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it plausible that he found a key while his mother was sleeping?  She died in her bed.

      Additionally, no one is still reporting the "confrontation" event.  It's probably just another incorrect fact.  There's been A LOT of them.

      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

      by livjack on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 01:05:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This kid had something else going on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, michelewln, second alto

    It's been reported, by his former science teacher, that he had trouble feeling physical pain, so if he burned himself, he wouldn't notice it. A PE teacher said he had a similar concern.

    I don't know what causes that, but it's not Asperger's like, which is often associated with too much feeling, isn't it?

    Also, his disorder was severe enough that when he was in 10th Grade, his mother got angry with the school district and decided to homeschool him completely, even though he was of genius intelligence and she had ample means. They simply withdrew into that house. One friend of the family said she'd known this guy since he was five, and he'd always been mentally unwell and none of this surprised her. That sentiment has been widely echoed by family friends.


    I'm still waiting for the police to give their explanation. They say they have a motive. But they haven't given it yet publicly.

    Obviously deeply troubled.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 03:07:33 PM PST

    •  Eh...the thing with Asperger's... (5+ / 0-) not that we can't feel.  We can.  We just have a hard time expressing those feelings is all.  I think you have it confused with sensory stimulation.

      Aspies and others with ASD tend to be overly sensitive in our senses, so to not be able to feel physical pain is rather odd and doesn't sound like it was Asperger's at all, but something along the lines of some kind of psychotic anti-social disorder.

      •  The inability to feel PHYSICAL pain is a condition (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        michelewln, gmats, worldlotus, shigeru

        completely unrelated to emotional/mental issues.  It's physically dangerous to the person who has that condition (as they can't detect warnings that their body is in danger) but it has no relationship to them being able to recognize that other people feel physical pain and are in a physically dangerous situation.

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 06:58:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, yeah... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          michelewln, shigeru

          But sometimes it can be related.  I have a friend who hurts himself and doesn't seem to realize what he's doing until someone tells him to stop.  Self-harm is a mental health issue, usually related to depression.

          •  Not being able to FEEL physical pain is different. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gmats, worldlotus, shigeru

            Not talking self-harm.  It's a condition, fairly rare, of tissue-nerve ending messages not being transmitted to the brain telling it that something is amiss.

            Self-harm...cutting, etc. is a mental issue.  Some sort of need is being met.

            "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

            by 417els on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 09:32:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Most of the articles I read stated autism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          not Aspergers. Has something else come out? Let me know.
          The new DSM lumps them together, but I honestly think they are two different diseases. In fact I have Aspergers and have adapted well enough that I successfully played sports, was in the army and in combat, raised a family and other things that pass for normal.

          I can attest that just because one has Aspergers does not mean that one cannot have other diseases such as PTSD and depression. Mine is due mainly to combat, but it does not seem unlikely that the bullying and torture that Aspergers people sometimes suffer can also leave one with PTSD or psychosis.

          If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

          by shigeru on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:28:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll always refer to myself as Aspie... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

   matter what the new DSM says. :P  

            I do also suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD (the depression and anxiety coming from years of being bullied; PTSD coming from abuse). But those things don't always make for a killer.  Some people are just plain psychopaths.  

            •  Agree. There is comorbidity that is often (0+ / 0-)

              not diagnosed. Medical diagnosis is geared towards defining a primary cause. Who knows what this guy had. Or why his mother took him shooting. Lord knows what that instilled in him.

              If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

              by shigeru on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 12:37:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Also tired of TM's constant label of "loner" (5+ / 0-)

    every time one of these incidents happen, as if all loners are hell bent on violence.  Apparently it's the TM's way of marginalizing the shooters to make them "different" from "mainstream" society.
      Many people would probably describe me as a "loner" because I'm shy.   But I have no desire whatsoever to go out and kill a bunch of innocent people.  Yet every time the TM targets "loners" I wonder if my neighbors will wonder if I'll go on a rampage.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 03:54:46 PM PST

    •  That stereotype, by the way, is inaccurate (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln, second alto, worldlotus

      Although just about every mass shooter is immediately described as a loner, generally by people who didn't really know him, that only turns out to be true about one-third of the time. What's happening is that when people who really don't know much about something are asked about it by the media, they just fill in the blanks on standard narratives, leading to an echo-chamber effect.

      There's also the simple fact that nobody wants to say anything positive about someone who later goes on to commit atrocities (I doubt too many of Jerry Sandusky's high-school football teammates would be willing to say that he'd been a good friend at the time).

      In a dog-eat-dog world, rabies is an advantage in the short term.

      by ebohlman on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:33:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here Here (4+ / 0-)

    I have yet to see a trained and experienced person come forward with an evaluation of this guy or the guy here in Oregon completed prior to their shooting at innocent people. It is just wrong to through out labels and diagnosis without that. Once again the MSM is failing us.

    Although it does help those who want guns. Because it puts the shooters in a category that they can claim is different than them.

    I am going to hazard a guess that the one thing these shooters have in common is that they were angry. Our Western society doesn't deal with anger well. Sadly it probably won't be something that gets discussed in all of this.

  •  A confession (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, second alto, gmats, worldlotus

    ...I have Asperger's syndrome. I was diagnosed when I was nineteen by an unusually insightful therapist.

    My entire life, I've felt like a freak. In school, I was tormented mercilessly for years. I still carry the scars of those experiences to this day.

    I keep my condition a secret, and I try to "pass" as normal as best I can. And I can only confess it now because I'm under the merciful cloak of Internet anonymity.

    Now I'm more afraid than ever to talk about my condition, for fear of judgment, of persecution, that people would brand me and all the rest of us diagnosed with this condition as ticking time bombs at best and monsters at worst.

    I'm in tears as I write this.

    Sure, we have our quirks and our shortcomings, but we aren't evil psychopaths, but it frightens me to think that the media might brand us as such.

    I'm an animal lover. I'm sensitive, empathetic, and deeply loyal to my friends, and I'm extremely fond of children. I don't have a criminal record at all, and in public I'm extremely meek, shy and soft-spoken. I have three nephews, the youngest of which is the same age as the children who were murdered so horrifically yesterday, so it kind of hits close to home for me, as it does for so many others.

    I'm terrified that we'll become the next scapegoats because another person's evil acts. We aren't criminals who don't understand the difference between right and wrong. We're thinking, feeling human beings whose brains happen to be wired a little differently than most.

    But sadly, it's so easy to destroy and condemn the ones you do not understand.

    "Freedom comes at the price of eternal vigilance."

    by Liberal Heretic on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 05:13:02 PM PST

  •  I think my 3.5 yo has Aspergers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I first realized something was wrong about 6 months ago and have been trying to get him help. He's now in ABA therapy and we are getting him started on speech therapy. Since his case is so mild and he is our first child, we didn't notice it earlier. I'm struggling to cope emotionally. We haven't yet gotten an official diagnosis but I am a diagnostician and it seems pretty clear to me. My son is lovable and very smart, but I truly worry for his future. I'm also pregnant with another boy and terrified that he will be on the spectrum too. The stats aren't good.

    I thought Lanza was a depressive; I didn't realize that he was on the spectrum. It's terrifying to worry that my son could do something like that someday.

    •  Asperger's isn't limited to boys.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michelewln, demoKatz

      I've got it and I'm female.  

      I didn't know Aspies needed speech therapy.  We usually have no issue with vocabulary and speech.  It's just the social awkwardness that's the big issue.  o.O  I was talking (and using complex words) from a young age.

      Perhaps your son is not as high-functioning as an Aspie?

      And thus far, there's no solid proof that the gunman has an ASD.  Just some assumptions are being made about his condition.  His brother seemed to think that there was some kind of personality disorder at play, which I can see as much more plausible if it's some anti-social disorder.  That's entirely different from ASD.

      •  He needs speech for temp hearing loss (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He had chronic ear infections as a toddler and had temporary hearing loss for a long time, hence the speech delay. I have a girlfriend with a son with mild to moderate ASD and he needs speech therapy. My son might be more mildly autistic than Aspergers, though I don't know how to distinguish those and I hear the DSM is taking the aspie diagnosis out anyway?

        He is actually quite high-functioning, though he does throw tantrums quite a bit and has trouble in different environments and social situations. He does make fairly good eye contact and he very actively seeks out adults to interact with. He's just completely uninterested in other children. Well...sometimes he does chase them or look at them. But not much more more than that. It's hard to know what's really going on. We're trying to figure it out, though. I know that ASD isn't limited to boys but it's so much more common. Other moms with ASD children have given me a 1 in 4 chance that my new son will be on the spectrum, they gave me a link but I didn't bookmark it.

        I did not at all mean to imply that I think the gunman had ASD. I don't at all associate ASD with violence. My son is extremely gentle. I trust him completely around babies and young children.

        •  Ah, I get the speech therapy... (0+ / 0-)

          One of my cousin's kids had the same issue with ear infections.  I was lucky and didn't worry about those when I was a toddler, but I did get them as an adult and they are not fun at all. >.<

          Asperger's is the highest end of the spectrum.  I would suggest getting your son tested by a professional.  Mine was diagnosed by one.

  •  Kudos for acknowledging all the pluses in your (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, worldlotus


    •  It Was Easy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      417els, worldlotus, Gardener in PA, akmk

      When you have someone who towers over you (I'm vertically challenged) and wraps his arms around you and says "I love you Aunt Michele" it is easy to acknowledge his pluses because he has so many. Besides he loves theater (I majored in theater), he is an artist (I am an artist), and he loves to cook (I'm writing a cookbook). What's not to love?

      "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

      by michelewln on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:10:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've lived with an Aspie for well over 30 yrs. (4+ / 0-)

    I do NOT consider it a disability.  In fact, the eccentricities of this absolutely brilliant man are part of what makes him so interesting - AND very funny.

    For the most part, our friends are ones I have brought to the relationship...they are outgoing, like I am.  We do all the work of socializing, so he doesn't have to.  They love him just as he is and he gets teased by all of us...and he loves it...he laughs right along with us.  In fact, he baits us to do it. Everyone respects him and he knows that; none of us would ever tease him in a public or inappropriate setting.

    He's an animal lover...we have always had multiple pets, most of them rescued by him.  And children are drawn to him (our nieces & nephews have adored him since they were able to crawl) because he never pushes himself on them. He has the patience of a saint when they use him as a jungle gym or ask him to do things no one else wants to do (like take them to buy fireworks on the 4th of July).

    Most people who meet him find him intimidating and aloof (instead of recognizing what is acute shyness).  Among his fellow professionals there is almost a reverence. He is most comfortable, though, being around those of us who know him well...who appreciate and get a kick out of his quirks.

    I'd not heard the word Asperger until about 10 years ago.  It has solved a few mysteries re the person I love. It has also made me more aware of symptoms and understanding of people I run into who may have AS.

    I maintain that Aspies are as different one from another as the general population.  There may be shared idiosyncrasies, but even those differ in degree and manifestation.

    Finally, there is nothing about AS that would have contributed to the murder and violence in Newtown.  If the Lanz boy was professionally diagnosed as having AS I would not discount a misdiagnosis.

    "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

    by 417els on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:19:49 PM PST

  •  Anectdotally (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, worldlotus

    I'm a scientist who (obviously) didn't fit in at my last job, because I was laid off.

    Virtually everyone who worked there would have been proud of a diagnosis of Aspergers, because a "symptom" was (it's not in the latest DSM) is "attention to detail".

    In all honesty, there are professions where Asperger's is an ADVANTAGE.

    Science is one of them, but really any profession that requires meticulous attention to detail, exhaustive record keeping...

    Get an Asperger's "patient" focused on (insert problem, here) and a solution is only a matter of time.

    Which makes it seem less like a mental illness, and more like a blessing on mankind.

    On the family?

    Maybe, maybe not.

    But my actual experience is that Asperger's can be a blessing.

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:39:05 PM PST

  •  Here's my Aspergers baby...she's precious. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, Matt Z, Gardener in PA

    wearing her Aspergers shirt.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

    by hotdamn on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:52:42 AM PST

  •  Thank you. Me too. My niece. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:40:28 AM PST

  •  My son is on very low end of the spectrum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He has ADHD to boot, so life is never dull. He can do really complex math problems in his head, which sometimes scares the crap out of me, but still doesn't grasp the concept of "turning in your homework". Drives us up the frickin' wall. I don't really consider it a disorder, since his talents vastly outweigh his challenges.

    One thing I've noticed is that people on the autism spectrum are far more interesting to talk to than us neurotypicals. Never a dull conversation once you get past the monologuing.

    Eat, breed, die. Everything else is a diversion.

    by ooddaa on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 10:04:43 AM PST

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