Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ignorance Ahoy

In this time of pain and grief and uncertainty I'd like to say, Thanks, local paper, for perpetuating rampant stupidity:

Re: "Windham County schools helping students cope," by Howard Weiss-Tisman, 12/18/12

To the Editor,
As friends, parents of and/or persons with autism spectrum diagnoses, we would like to clarify some important and potentially damaging aspects of Weiss-Tisman's article. 
He wrote,  "...the alleged killer, had Asberger's [sic] syndrome or some other personality disorder, it was important not to draw conclusions, or make assumptions abut [sic] other children who suffer from mental illness."  (http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_22212875/local-educators-respond-conn-killings)
Aspergers syndrome, following the publication of DSM5a to be known as an autism spectrum disorder, is definitively neither a Personality Disorder nor a type of mental illness. 
Persons with autism are in no way more inclined to violence than the average population; in many cases and in our own experience they are among the most gentle and emotionally empathetic people we know. In fact, persons with autism are significantly more likely to be Victims of violence than to commit it.
We support The Reformer's and all efforts to increase school safety. Our thoughts are with those who were impacted by Friday's terrible events. Let us be sure not to add tragedy to tragedy by perpetuating negative stereotypes around mental illness or autism. 
We ask that you publish this letter so that people in our community will not be misled into harmful and erroneous ideas about autism.
[FSM, friends, family]


  1. Here is a fantastic piece about, well, autism, empathy and violence:

  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/opinion/dont-blame-autism-for-newtown.html?ref=opinion&_r=1&

  3. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/12/why-diagnosing-adam-lanza-is-a-problem.html

  4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2012/12/18/confusing-aspergers-with-mental-illness-and-mental-illness-with-evil/


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