Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old gunman in the Sandy Hook school shooting is thought to have had Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism characterized by social awkwardness, but not violence.
After a law enforcement official has said that the 20-year-old gunman in the Connecticut school shooting had Asperger’s syndrome, experts say there is no connection between the disorder and violence.
What is Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disability characterized by difficulties in social exchanges and repetitive patterns or behaviors. People with this disability sometimes exhibit sensory processing challenges, for example sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights. Children with Asperger’s syndrome often have more language skills than other children with autism and are sometimes referred to as “high-functioning.” Some are referred to as “little professors” for their intense interest in one topic or subject area, in which they become well-versed.
Are children with Asperger’s typically violent?
No, by nature they are not.
Some children with Asperger’s syndrome do exhibit outbursts, tantrums, destruction of items in the environment or aggressive behavior towards others. This does not mean they are likely to pick up a gun and kill someone. The cause for such behaviors varies and is individual to the child.
Little is known about Adam Lanza, identified by police as the shooter in the Friday massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. He fatally shot his mother before going to the school and killing 20 young children, six adults and himself, authorities said.
Research suggests people with autism have a higher rate of aggressive behavior than the general population. This includes outbursts, shoving or angry shouting, but typically does not include planned, intentional violence.
Source: CNN, USA