Did Adam Lanza Kill 26 People Because He Had Asperger's?

Simply put, the answer is NO! Asperger’s and violence are not linked behaviors.

In the days and weeks since the killing of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been a great deal of speculation in the media about the gunman, Adam Lanza.

It is natural for the world to be asking why something like this has happened. We are searching for an explanation, any explanation, of an act that seems unfathomable.

One thing that has been widely publicized about Adam Lanza is that he had Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning type of Autism. It is not clear whether this was a formal diagnosis by a physician or simply speculation from those who knew Adam — Adam’s brother, Ryan, was quoted as saying that his brother had Asperger’s and a personality disorder. Whether we can confirm what may be an amateur diagnosis or not, the simple fact that Asperger’s has been connected with a mass murderer may result in people drawing incorrect conclusions about the nature of Asperger’s.

This much is clear: Asperger’s syndrome did NOT cause Adam Lanza to commit these violent murders.

Asperger’s is not associated with violence and does not cause violence. Violent behavior is not a symptom or indication of Asperger’s. 

Asperger’s is classified as a type of autism, which affects 1 in 88 children in the U.S. today. People with Asperger’s are typically very high functioning and extremely intelligent, but lacking in social skills — and this seems to fit with some of the descriptions we have read and heard about Adam Lanza. Former classmates described him as “weird,” a “loner,” someone who was visibly uncomfortable when called upon to communicate, and a teen who had few friends.

Does My Child Have Asperger’s?

These behaviors are not atypical of people with Asperger’s. But the disorder is NOT associated with premeditated violence. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who recently discussed Asperger’s in depth on CNN because of its association with Adam Lanza, mentioned a study of 132 individuals with Asperger’s. Throughout the study, only three individuals displayed any kind of violence, and in all three cases it came in the form of a spontaneous outburst, rather than anything premeditated like the Newtown tragedy.

Click here for CNN video on Asperger’s

It is important to note that Asperger’s and autism are classified as neurodevelopmental disorders, not mental illnesses. People with Asperger’s and autism are not sick. They do not have to be cured — or feared. Their brains simply work differently than those of us without these disorders.

So, if your child, or anyone you know, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, do not fear that this disorder in and of itself, will produce any violent behavior.

How Can Brain Changers Help?

Brain Changers has the tools to help cope with Asperger’s, utilizing Holistic Medicine interventions such as  Counseling to teach social and communication skills, and Neurofeedback to retrain the brainwaves to help with these and other associated symptoms. Each of these modalities can be done independently, but the greatest benefit comes from a combination of therapies toward improved health and wellness.  More information about Asperger’s syndrome is available on our website. If you or someone you love needs help dealing with Asperger’s, contact us today to start the journey toward a more productive and even higher functioning life!

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