Just once I'd like to see the media portray Asperger Syndrome AS IT ACTUALLY IS. I have to give props to Adam Lanza's father, Peter Lanza when he stated , "Asperger's makes people unusual, but it doesn't make people like this."
However, at the same time her refers to those with Asperger's as being "arrogant". He states that all the kids in the Tech Club at the high school are "weird and smart". He stated that Adam thought "he could control her (his mother) more than he could control me."
Adam's mother stated that, "“While Adam likes to believe that he's completely logical, in fact he's not at all, and I've called him on it."
A psychiatrist that Adam saw, Paul J. Fox, implied that home school equated with "isolating him from his peers."
The reporter, Andrew Solomon, commented on "violence by autistic people" when there is an invasion of personal space and then follows the statement with a comment on committing crimes.
Lastly, the reporter stated, "Both Autism and psychopathy entail a lack of empathy."
So, where do I, the mother of two children on the Autism spectrum stand? Where do I, the mother of a teenage boy of Aspergers, other of an 8 year old with High Functioning Autism, and friend to many adults and children Aspies stand?
First, I have yet to meet a child with Asperger Syndrome that is arrogant. Let's take a moment to define "arrogant". Google defines it as, "having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities." Yet, this article goes on and on about how Adam felt that he couldn't do anything right. How he was frustrated and helpless at his inability to complete tasks he should have been able to do, tasks his peers could perform. NOTHING in the article, or anything I've read about Adam portrayed arrogance. Show me just ONE child with Asperger Syndrome that is "arrogant". Just show me one!! You'll be hard pressed to do that.
Peter Lanza also said that Adam felt he could control his mother. Yet again hasn't all the information about Adam show that he felt no control at all? Again, show me one child with Asperger Syndrome that seeks to control others. It doesn't happen. They want to be able to control their own environment, just like neurotypicals. Yet, Asperger Syndrome makes it more difficult to do that.
Adam's mother stated that Adam felt he was completely logical, which he wasn't. Yet, the majority of children on the Autism spectrum are VERY logical and take everything VERY literal. If you stop to look at things from their literal perspective, then it is VERY logical. The more time you spend with those that are on the Autism spectrum, the more you realize that it is us, the neurotypicals that aren't logical. It is us, the neurotyps, that use phrases that do not make sense (it's raining cats and dogs). It is us, the neurotyps, that base our decisions on emotions, that will change plans at the last second, and that can leave tasks half finished without skipping a beat. Which of us, the neurotyps or Aspies are more logical?
I won't even respond to the comment Paul J. Fox made implying that homeschool equates isolation. If the general public hasn't wizened up to this myth by now, than that's on them.
Violence by autistic people when entering their personal space.......... Yes, some children on the spectrum can not tolerate you're entering their personal space. Some children on the spectrum have no concept of personal space. I'm mother two children that exhibit both (one is the first, one is the latter). In this respect, they are just like some neurotyps I've met. Come on, we know the guy or gal that stands to close when speaking to us. We also know the guy or gal that will not allow you to hug them or get close to them physically. Asperger Syndrome is no different then neurotyps in being one way or the other. The difference comes in how that information is processed by the brain. Yes, my youngest child will resort to what could be deemed "violence" when you move into his personal space and stay there. He will invariably, after communicating his intense discomfort in a variety of ways (verbal and/or non-verbal cues), push you away from him. If you come back, he may hit you. Yet it is impulsive, he doesn't think it through, he doesn't plan it, and he doesn't even do it in a way to cause damage. It is as much reflex as your jerking away your hand from a hot flame to avoid pain. Being in their personal space causes them pain and they are reacting accordingly. Yes, there have been cases of police officers stepping into a person with Autism's personal space while speaking to them in a very loud and raised voice, and the person striking out in an attempt to restore their personal space. However these were also cases where the law enforcement officer was unaware of the person being on the spectrum and approached them in a way that frightened, confused, and seriously terrified the person. Still, shouldn't the reporter be more specific? Why would the reporter imply that Asperger syndrome is synonymous with criminal violence? The reality is that studies have not empirically shown that there is a higher prevalence of violence among those with Asperger Syndrome. What has been proven is that more males with Asperger Syndrome show violence than women with Asperger Syndrome but this is simply because there are many more men with Asperger Syndrome then women. Many specialist have verified that Autism Spectrum Disorders DO NOT result in higher criminal activity.
"Both Autism and psychopathy entail a lack of empathy." Really? Where oh were did this research come from? It has been determined that studies done regarding empathy and ASD did not utilize testing tools to accurately measure empathy. People with ASD think and feel differently then neurotyps and therefore the tests that register empathy in neurotyps did not give an accurate result when tested on those with ASD. A study that was done addressing this states that, when tested with a way that truly represents those on the spectrum and empathy, the measurements are comparative to neurotyps. Of course, I've seen my child cry for HOURS because he made a comment that someone took offense at. A comment that was purely logical and meant to cause no harm or disrespect. I've seen the empathy in those tears.
Unfortunately, there will always be those that jump on what the media states and bases their assumptions on that. There will be those that, due to the media's portrayal of Asperger/ASD, will believe that Autism equates violence.
I will not be one of those. Please, join with me in refusing to accept what is portrayed by media as fact and instead determine to dig for the facts yourself and see the truth in all matters.