AANE Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT

by AANE

December 16, 2012 — At the Asperger’s Association of New England, we share the horror and sadness of people across the world. The shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, were a terrible and incomprehensible act of violence. We convey our deepest sympathy to the victims, their families and friends, and their community.

Early reports have suggested that the suspect, Adam Lanza, might have been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome or a mental health condition. This has not yet been confirmed. Having Asperger syndrome does not preclude acts of violence, just as having any other condition, or no condition, does not preclude acts of violence. Some people with autism spectrum disorders have co-existing mental health conditions or other complex issues. Nevertheless, violence is not part of the Asperger or autism profile. People with Asperger syndrome or any other form of autism are far more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of violence. Although it is impossible to conceive of a mass shooting as a mentally healthy act, the vast majority of mental health issues are not associated with violence.

Our overwhelming concern is for the families of the victims through their deep, enduring grief and devastation. We hope too that the conversation around Adam Lanza will be thoughtful and considerate of people who have Asperger syndrome or other forms of autism and their families. When myths and misunderstandings are perpetuated, nonviolent people with the same condition suffer. It is painful and frightening to feel associated by virtue of a diagnosis with someone who has committed such a horrific crime.

Discussing this tragedy is challenging for families and very upsetting for children who have Asperger syndrome. Our staff is available to give advice or support relating to this issue during normal business hours: (617) 393-3824. We are exploring ways to provide additional support around any concerns relating to the terrible loss of these innocent lives. If there is a way that we can support the families and friends of the victims or the Newtown community, we will be here for them.

December 16, 2012       Posted in: Adults with AS, Advocacy, AS Community & Culture, AS Information & Support, AS News, Parents

8 Comments

8 Responses

  1. AANE Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT « Left Brain Right Brain - December 16, 2012

    [...] Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) has issued a statement: AANE Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT. The statement begins: December 16, 2012 — At the Asperger’s Association of New England, we [...]

  2. Band Aid Solutions to Age-Old Problems | DarthNoxAeterna - December 17, 2012

    [...] Fellow Blog Writers and Others Who Stand with me We Need to Talk by Gretchen Leary When Children Die, It’s Time to Grieve and to Reflect, Not to Scapegoat by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg Autism, Empathy, and Violence: One of These Things Doesn’t Belong Here by Emily Willingham My Broken Back by The Raving Mother from Hell who Pushes for Tolerance and Equality of Those with Neurological Differences Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE )Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT [...]

  3. Lisa - December 17, 2012

    I’m from Rhode Island, and I went to the National Rifle Association to look up Rhode Island’s Gun Laws, and I printed and mailed the information to Governor Lincoln Chafee.

    I enclosed a letter, telling them how unacceptable they were – there’s practically NOTHING there!

    Hopefully, he’ll do something about it!

  4. Liz Ditz - December 18, 2012

    Thanks for writing this. I am keeping a running account of the responses to the media meme, “autism made him do it”, at

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2012/12/gun-violence-and-the-search-for-a-scapegoat-autism-edition.html.

    I have added this post.

  5. leslie.weiher - December 18, 2012

    Could someone please get Tony Atwood or some other responsible/knowledgable psychiatrist to explain that our children with aspergers syndrome are also becoming victims to this tragedy in CT. I as a mother of a 17 y/o with aspergergs am so tired of hearing all of the arm chair psychologists in the media who THINK they know about the shooter’s mental condition and then having to explain to my son that this IS NOT the reason for the shooter’s actions.
    Thank-you.

  6. Kat - December 19, 2012

    I believe that it’s important for us to all watch our words and the language that we use when discussing this situation.

    My blog discusses just a few of these words/phrases in short that I personally believe should be omitted and changed in some way when describing these events.

    http://go2uttyler.blogspot.com/2012/12/watching-your-language-in-time-of.html

  7. Don’t Let Newtown’s Tragedy become an Autism Backlash - December 20, 2012

    [...] autism are more likely to be the victims of violence. Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, Asperger’s Association of New England and several other autism-related organizations have issued statements saying the same.I’ve been [...]

  8. Shifting the Stigma is Not Okay | Michael Forbes Wilcox - December 22, 2012

    [...] blog post containing links to and descriptions of many, many more such postings. Lucy has also put AANE’s statement on the Newtown incident on the AANE [...]

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