Fighting The Asperger's Means Violence Stereotype
Managing Editor's Note: Thank you to psychologist Rick Ellis for speaking the truth and standing up for our children with Asperger's Syndrome as it relates to pre-planned violence in the wake of the Newtown, CT massacre. From News Channel 3 in Virginia Beach, VA:As millions across the country stare at photos of Adam Lanza, all some can think is why? What would cause the 20-year-old to kill his mother, 26 women and children, and then himself?
CNN reports surfaced that Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning version of autism. No one’s confirmed that Lanza was ever diagnosed with Asperger’s, but that hasn’t stopped people from assuming it had something to do with the shooting.
Blog: Aspergers, autism and the Sandy Hook School shooting – Are we grasping at straws?
“They’re not schizophrenic, they’re not psychotic,” said Dr. Rick Ellis, a clinical and forensic psychologist, who explained that even if Lanza did have Asperger’s, it doesn’t mean it caused him to have a psychotic break.
“[People with Asperger's] are much less likely to engage in violent and angry behavior,” Ellis said.
Ellis offered Phillip Bay’s foiled plot for a shooting and bombing at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach. Ellis evaluated the boy with Asperger’s that Bay recruited to help carry out his plan.
“Phillip Bay had hundreds of round of ammunition. He had pipe bombs, he had molotov cocktails ,” said Ellis who also said it was the boy with Asperger’s who went to police and stopped Bay’s plans from ever going into action.
“It was the boy at Landstown with the Asperger’s syndrome that stopped the bombing, that stopped the attack,” said Ellis. “How many people would have been killed had it not been for the boy with Asperger’s syndrome?”
Christine Passaretti, executive director at Mea Lofa Autism Support center in Chesapeake, said just mentioning Asperger’s and Lanza in the same sentence is causing social profiling aimed at parents and students there.
“Does he have autism, is your child gonna be like this?” she said parents are being asked. “Children with autism do not have any incidences of pre-planned violence rates that are more significant than the rest of the population”
Two of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary had autism; at least one was non-verbal. One of the adults killed was the aide of one of the children- she died with the child in her arms.
Although this is not the usual scenario for autism victims of violence, of course.
Posted by: La Playa | January 16, 2013 at 01:09 PM
I actually found this kind of article disturbing! When Sky Walker an autistic teen Killed his mom did we decide he was not autistic? Just wondering.
Posted by: Jessie Carter | January 10, 2013 at 04:14 PM
"The facts are still being concealed."
Posted by: Lou | January 02, 2013 at 02:25 PM
“They’re not schizophrenic, they’re not psychotic,” said Dr. Rick Ellis
Really? This is what has irked me about autism orgs releasing their statements. It's like they are saying autism is not like those *other* crazy mental people. Do we really have to toss people with mental illness under the bus while trying to defend our innocent children w/ autism? We in the biomed community know better that what biological underpinnings of "autism" are often underlying other "mental" disorders.
Posted by: Kristine | January 01, 2013 at 12:51 PM
The facts are still being concealed.
Posted by: Linda | December 31, 2012 at 12:10 PM
“They’re not schizophrenic, they’re not psychotic,” said Dr. Rick Ellis, a clinical and forensic psychologist, who explained that even if Lanza did have Asperger’s, it doesn’t mean it caused him to have a psychotic break."
It was encouraging to hear this "clinical and forensic psychologist" make the critical distinction between Asperger's and the likelihood of someone having a "psychotic break".
However, I think the psychologist should have further delved into the medical history of Phillip Bay .. the young man who actually plotted the bombing and shooting planned for Landstown High School? Surely only someone suffering a "psychotic break or schizophrenia" could plan such a violent act upon innocent people?
In other words .. was this the first time in Bay's life that he exhibited symptoms of accute psychosis or schizophrenia .. or .. had he exhibited such symptoms in the past?
Posted by: Bob Moffitt | December 31, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Isn't it funny how Adam Lanza's autism is being tossed around just by hearsay? Yet, weeks after the slaying none of the investigators have referred to locating an individual who would be most capable of confirming or denying the diagnosis -- yes, Lanza's MD or psychiatrist! Could it be that this said individual may also spill the beans on the psychotic drugs that Lanza may have been taking, hence its most convenient that he remains a mystery? Now we also hear talk of studying Lanza’s brain to determine if he had an ‘evil’ gene. Interesting…the diversion game abounds! Where have we also heard of ‘bad’ genes causing behavioural problems?
Posted by: Greg | December 31, 2012 at 08:16 AM