BullyHERE is an article about the tremendous pain and life altering consequences that can come with having autism or Asperger's Syndrome.

"Antietam school stabbings admitted by boy, 13: The eighth-grader will be committed to a facility specializing in Asperger’s syndrome, a mental disorder characterized by lack of social skills."

From his lawyer: “He’s a good kid,” Gavin said. “Life dealt him a difficult hand.”  Indeed.


polly kahl

I'm the person who sent the article to Kim in email this morning. The irony is that I wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper that printed this story, and they contacted me and told me to site professional sources in my letter before they'd print it in their newspaper. Gee, if they'd done that with the writer of the article in the first place, it might've actually been accurate.

Bottom line, the article shouldn't have even mentioned the kid's AS. He exploded because of years of bullying, NOT because he has AS. Here's my letter to the editor. We'll see if they print it or not.
"Dear Editor,
I am writing in response to your 2/20 article Antietam School Stabbings Admitted By Boy, 13. The case involves a boy who stabbed children at his school after suffering years of bullying by classmates. Including the information that the perpetrator has Asperger's Syndrome, and that he has now been placed in an inpatient treatment center specializing in Asperger's, gives the impression that AS was responsible for the stabbings. This was irresponsible reporting to say the least. Asperger's syndrome (AS) is an autism spectrum disorder. It is milder than autism but shares some of its symptoms, according to Margaret Sytrock in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Pervasive Developmental Disorders. It is not listed in the DSM-IV (The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as a mental illness or a mental disorder. According to Dr. Donna M. Schwartz-Watts of the South Carolina School of Medicine, little is known about the prevalence of violence and autistic spectrum disorders. Although Aspergians may be subject to more than usual bullying due to the social awkwardness and eccentricities that are inherent to the condition, there are no studies to suggest that the condition itself would cause a violent reaction to that bullying.
It is dangerous to give such misinformation to a general public which is only now becoming aware of AS. Aspergians have enough social challenges without being labeled as violent or mentally disordered. I hope the Reading Eagle will exhibit more sensitivity, and more common sense, regarding this subject in the future.
Thank you,
Polly Kahl, M.A."

On reporting

"The reported harped on the Asperger's component of the storym and got SO MUCH wrong - but at it's heart this is about bullying."

Stagmom I could not agree with you more. What qualifies a reporter to become a reporter anyway? Who chooses the angle a reporter should report from? Who decides how a particular story is to be "handled." What is the driving motivation behind an Editor's reporting of *facts*? Do you think a reporter might be interested in reporting Robin's story of an attempted arrest in an attempt to hand out the truth (no pun intended)? Or do you think a reporter's only attempt at an autism coverage comes from the angle of increase vs decrease, better diagnosis, whether vaccines are to blame or not, what XYZ pediatrician thinks and so on. Even though they are beginning to report on autism from sensational angles, we have enough stories of people taking their life or their child's, jumping off bridges and so forth - you would imagine there might be reporters out there interested in covering a basic good fight for truth wouldn't you? That's not exactly taking sides, is it? This would just be a reporting of facts and this would be of enough interest to generate those needed circulation rates. Just ask the parents, we have a lot of fights going on on a daily basis - the fight for time, the fight for money, the fight for services, the fight for keeping up with the latest on treatments - all of them fights to not miss the bus for our kids. Good old inspirational stuff that ought to drop a tear or two by the general masses. They dote on stories like that you know.



Left some comments on your blog, I won't repeat them here. Instead I'll 'tag on' to what you said. Exactly, the story is about a young boy that was bullied until he snapped. Why was he bullied? We don't know.. the fact that he has AS may have had something to do with it, but maybe it had nothing to do with it. Maybe he was bullied because he wore classes, maybe because the things he liked to talk about were thing the bullies could not relate to. Maybe he is smarter than the bullies and that made the bullies feel insecure about themselves. There are so many reasons why kids are being bullied.

What this article COMPLETELY missed is that the fact that the boy snapped and lashed out has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT HE HAS AS. Any kid that's bullied enough and doesn't get the help they need in dealing with the situation will eventually snap.

Where the AS may or may not have contributed is the way in which the inevitable 'snapping' presented itself. An NT kid may have 'just' beat up the kids that were actually tormenting him, as opposed to 'randomly' going after school mates that were not the ones bullying him with a deadly weapon (what little I do know of how a child with AS thinks and feels tells me that once this boy snapped, he was no longer able to make the distinction between tormentors and bystanders; again though, is THAT unique to having AS?).

The thing that really gets me is that I am sure this young boy gave plenty of 'distress signals', that were either missed or ignored. But instead of the school community taking some ownership for what happened and what could have been done better and/or avoided, the sole blame is laid at the boys' feet 'because he's a mental case' (the reporter's interpretation, NOT mine).


It's the bullying here that drove the child to the brink - he was bullied I assume because his Asperger's makes him different, probably even annoying to the other kids. When you don't understand the social rules you can't be expected to meet them. The reported harped on the Asperger's component of the storym and got SO MUCH wrong - but at it's heart this is about bullying.

Autism Parents


Let it be known to all and sundry -

That the parents of kids on the autism spectrum have been bullied by the blind pediatricians of the AAP, the deaf CDC, the apathetic FDA, and the greedy pharmaceutical companies for many years now. Let these responsible parties also know and *understand* that if this bullying does not stop, the consequences can be severe. And since we parents are of sound mind, it might very well be the bullying parties that will be responsible for that particular guilt. Think *carefully* again, as to how far the bullying has gone and how much further you think you will be allowed to push that particular envelope!!

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