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AUTISM Did Not Kill Those Children

December 15, 2012
candle, candle in glass

candle, candle in glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our hearts go out to the families of all of those affected by the senseless acts of a murderer.  The slaughter of innocent children is inexcusable.  The fact that it happened in a place of learning and shelter is despicable.  As more information comes out about the Newtown, CT killings and the person responsible I fear that there will be more unintended victims in the wake of this tragedy…those who have been diagnosed with autism.

The media has reported that the victim had a form of autism, Aspergers syndrome.  My hope is that the media will also point out that “murder” is not a side effect or symptom of autism.  Autism doesn’t make a person a “killer” any more than having black, blonde or grey hair.

As humans, we tend to attack the things we fear; and fear that which we don’t understand. Unfortunately, there are lots of myths and misinformation out there concerning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Autism is not mental illness. It is a brain development disorder. It often manifests itself in problems with verbal communication and social interaction. However, it is a very wide spectrum of symptoms and behaviors, varying from very severe to very mild. There are some people who are so high functioning that you might not even know they have autism, THEY may not even know.  Persons with autism MAY be extremely sensitive to lights, textures, tastes, smells…sensory related inputs.

There is no cure for autism.  There are treatments and therapies that can aid a person in making transitions. Certain diets are said to yield impressive results in diminishing some of the undesirable aspects of the disorder including outbursts and stimming (movements of the body—hands, arms, legs for stimulation).

One of the worst things that can happen for the autism community, is for the nation to link autism with what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

If it is true that the suspect had autism, you can bet that the suspect had far more issues.

Hours, days, months and years after a tragedy we analyze the events to see what if anything could have been done to prevent it.  We should do that in this case as well.  Let’s have an honest discussion in this country about gun control, about school security, about checking on and talking to those who look think and act differently.  Let’s even have a conversation about autism.

But please, don’t FEAR persons on the autism spectrum.  Do your research about what it is. If you don’t know ask someone who does.  One in every 88 children is diagnosed with autism.  Millions have lived successful lives with it.  Many persons, like Dr. Temple Grandin, who are autistic have used their “different minds” to benefit all of mankind.

The actions of the shooter at Newtown were horrific and despicable.  He did a deplorable thing.  He took dozens of lives, and forever changed what we thought was unimaginable.

He took innocence, he took peace of mind. There is no human reasoning that could ever make his actions digestible.  In searching for something to blame or something that will explain, we need to look in other corners of his life, other aspects of his being. Autism did not take these lives; evilness did.

-Raphael and Sarena  James

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2013 2:29 am

    Thank you for thiss blog entry!

  2. April 2, 2013 2:23 am

    Reblogged this on Appalachian aspie..

  3. Nirosh Naidoo permalink
    December 18, 2012 4:18 am

    Thank you for sharing.As an educator in S Africa I found this article invaluable and have passed it on to my friends on FB.We too in SA are reeling from the Newtown tragedy.

  4. Ebony Wright permalink
    December 16, 2012 6:21 am

    Well said!

  5. December 15, 2012 11:58 pm

    Thank you for this post. As an Autistic/Asperger’s mother, I have worried about the effect these media reports will have on Autistic children. I wrote about it here. paulacdurbinwestbyautisticblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/mother-with-asperger-syndrome-grieves.html

  6. December 15, 2012 10:08 pm

    Well said.

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