We join a nation in mourning the loss of the precious lives taken last Friday in Newtown, Conn. As communities across the country grieve, we all search for answers as to what led the shooter to do the unthinkable. Various reports are claiming the shooter had a form of autism.
While law enforcement officials continue gathering evidence and facts to help determine the shooter’s motive, one thing is clear: Autism played no role in this tragedy.
It is vitally important the media, commentators, and public not link Friday’s violent tragedy with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). There is no evidence to suggest any link between autism and planned violence. As a society, we are making great strides in breaking down the stigma unfairly placed on individuals with ASDs and other developmental disabilities.
Today, more than 2 million individuals with ASDs live peacefully in communities across the country. Any notion that autism was a “cause” in this horrific tragedy is misguided. We do not need to fear people with ASDs. We need to support them, provide behavior treatments, and continue to build acceptance within their communities where they live. They don’t need terms like “violent” or “dangerous” attached to them.
All of us at Trumpet Behavioral Health again extend our condolences and heartfelt thoughts to the families who lost loved ones, and to the children and administration of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the town of Newtown, and all of the officials that responded to this horrible event.