Laura Shumaker in The San Francisco Chronicle wasn't going to comment, but "for my son Matthew’s sake, and for the sake of so many individuals with autism, clarification is needed."
- Autism is not a form of mental illness, it is instead a neuro-developmental disorder.
- Studies show that individuals with autism have the propensity for reactive outbursts rather thanplanned violence.
- Former classmates described the suspect as socially awkward, friendless and painfully shy, but “Many significant psychiatric disorders involve social isolation,” said Catherine Lord, director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Autism, she said, has become a catch-all term to describe anybody who is awkward.
- People with autism are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Those who are bright often face bullying.
- Some wind up in trouble with the law because they are unaware of social convention, and quirkiness or attempts at being friendly get misinterpreted. This happened just recently with Matthew, who was friending and messaging many many people that he did not know on Facebook and received a warning.
From US News and World Report:
Despite media reports alleging that the gunman involved in the Connecticut school shootings had Asperger's syndrome, experts were quick to assert Sunday that there is no link between the condition -- a mild form of autism -- and violence.
"There really is no evidence that links autism or Asperger's to violence," said Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer at the nonprofit advocacy group Autism Speaks and a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.