Asperger’s not to blame for Newtown


MEANT TO HELP BRING AWARENESS TO GUN VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS. KESHA’S SONG “DIE YOUNG” IS ALSO BEING DROPPED FROM SOME RADIO STATIONS. THERE HAS BEEN SOME TALK THAT THE CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SHOOTER MIGHT HAVE HAD ASPERGER’S SYNDROME. BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF QUESTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ASPERGER’S. NEWS 4’S MEDICAL EXPERT DOCTOR PETER OSTROW IS SORTING OUT FACT FROM FICTION. ASPERGER’S SYNDROME IS A MILD FORM OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER, PEOPLE WITH ASPERGERS MAY SHOW OCCASIONAL AGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR, BUT ITS USUALLY JUST A SPUR-OF–THE- MOMENT RESPONSE TO A SITUATION ((ITS NOT THIS KIND OF MULTIPLE STAGES OF PLANNING THAT WE SAW IN THIS HORRIBLE CASE)) DR. HARTLEY – MCANDREW IS DIRECTOR OF THE AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER CENTER AT CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. SHE’S SEEN HUNDREDS OF PATIENTS AND KNOWS THAT IT’S VIOLENT BEHAVIOR IS UNUSUAL IN ASPERGER PATIENTS. (( ITS EXTREMELY RARE THAT YOU WOULD SEE VIOLENT ACTS IN A CHILD THAT IS AFFECTED BY ASPERGER, AND IN FACT, CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER DISORDER ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE A VIOLENT ACT COMMITTED AGAINST THEM; THEY’RE MORE LIKELY TO BE A VICTIM. 300 RATHER THAN A PERPETRATOR OF A VIOLENT ACT)) AND HAVING AN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER DOES NOT PREDISPOSE TO VIOLENT CRIME. ((THERE REALLY IS NO INCREASE IN RATES OF VIOLENT CRIMES IN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS VERSUS THE GENERAL POPULATION)) SO THE NOTION THAT SOMEHOW, IN THIS CASE, ASPERGERS MAY BE RESPONSIBLE, IS SIMPLY WRONG – AND WORSE. ((ATTRIBUTING THIS HEINOUS CRIME TO A DIAGNOSIS OF ASPERGER IS IRRESPONSIBLE, AND IT’S SIMPLY UNFAIR. TO THE CHILDREN – THE MULTIPLE CHILDREN WHO ARE AFFECTED BY THIS DISORDER)) THE ANSWER IS LIKELY TO LIE IN ANOTHER MENTAL ILLNESS ((THE PRESENCE OF AN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER DOES NOT PRECLUDE ANYONE FROM HAVING A CONCURRENT MENTAL HEALTH ILLNESS)) A PERSON WITH AN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER MAY HAVE A SEPARATE MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM, BUT IT’S NOT MORE LIKELY THAN IT IS IN THE GENERAL POPULATION. WE SHOULDN’T BLAME ASPERGERS FOR THIS TRAGEDY, AND WE NEED MORE, AND BETTER ACCESS TO MENTAL

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