Days after the Connecticut shooting, Jami Gladfelter said, a stranger approached her friend and asked how she felt raising a mass murderer
he mom was wearing an autism ribbon, a multicolored pattern of puzzle pieces, that aims to raise awareness of the developmental disorders on the spectrum.
Glatfelter, who has a 12-year-old son with autism, said many people don't understand the disorder and so stating that Lanza had Asperger's only creates more misconceptions.
"You're sort of pigeonholing this population, and you don't know anything about them," the Shrewsbury resident said.The San Jose Mercury News reports;
Like millions of people, Paul Bondonno searched in vain for an explanation for the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But when early reports noted the gunman had Asperger's syndrome, the 34-year-old bolted into hyper-driven self-defense, and he hasn't stopped since.
"We don't want Adam Lanza to be our poster boy," Bondonno said at the Coffee Society in Campbell.
The cafe is usually busy on weekends, but a pelting rain Sunday morning kept the crowd and noise down, a perfect setting for separating the facts of a mysterious disorder from the debate over guns, massacres and mental illness. A 13-year-old girl with Asperger's, Puja Uppalapati, and her father, joined the conversation as well.
"It irritated me," Puja said about the initial Lanza-Asperger's connection. "I was like, why are you saying this? Is this what people will think of us?"What might also irritate self-advocates is the online headline of the story:
Asperger's sufferers fear Adam Lanza will become their poster boy
Do not blame the reporter: the word sufferers does not appear in the body of the story. Journalists typically do not write their own headlines. Others on the newspaper staff do so to meet space requirements.