New information in Newtown shooting brings attention to connection between autism and violenceFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Reports the gunman in the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut had a type of autism known as Asperger’s, have caught the attention of some parents.
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Reports the gunman in the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut had a type of autism known as Asperger’s, have caught the attention of some parents.
They're worried some their autistic children will now be labeled as dangerous.
Sandy Smith, Mother of Autistic Child: “The people in Connecticut, I feel for them and my heart just hurts for them.”
Sandy Smith had a similar reaction as most of us last Friday.
As word spread that the gunmen was a loaner and had trouble with social interaction, a new worry came over this mother of a 10-year-old autistic child.
Smith: "I did honestly think to myself, ‘Oh please, tell me that this child did not also have autism or Asperger’s.’”
Some of the characteristics of autism can cause people to think they are loaners.
Smith "They lack the communication skills and the social interaction skills, they would rather be alone but they are not being alone because they are mentally ill and they are hearing voices or different things like that."
Because of the shootings in Connecticut, Psychology Today has a new article out that says there is no connection between autism and violence.
Christine Soukup, Ann Carlson Center: “There can be some that are aggressive but it usually is because they are reacting to a situation.”
And Soukup says that it's important to keep kids with autism with other kids.
Soukup: “Kids with autism the social is the big part of their disability and just including them and educating people about autism and the way that they might react is really key.”
And soukup says the best thing parents with autistic children can do is talk to classmates of their child.
For more information on autism and Asperger’s, go to AutismSpeaks.org.