A reader writes:
My son who went to elementary school in Newtown many years ago has Aspergers. He was horrified by what happened on Friday. He was afraid to go to school yesterday because he thinks people will assume that because he has Aspergers he is a potential mass murderer.
Parents of children with Aspergers have mercifully risen to the occasion. Another writes:
My 12-year-old son was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was seven. After the shootings at Sandy Hook, I found myself reading obsessively online to find out how journalists were accounting for the horror. Once I read that Adam Lanza had been considered a socially awkward loner, I feared he would be identified as having Asperger's. (I recalled that after the Jeffrey Dahmer killings, an African-American friend told me that she was so glad he was not black.) I have talked to my son about how he may be perceived differently in the wake of Sandy Hook. I have told him he should never participate in the violent joking rhetoric so popular among 12-year-old boys because it could be misconstrued.
I am a child and adolescent in-home therapist who works with children with severe emotional and behavioral problems. As one of the only male, community-based mental health therapists in my county, I have a caseload mostly made up of very "aggressive" males (often also shy, awkward, insecure, creative, funny once you get to know them, deeply wounded and at their core – human). For them to be eligible to see me, they typically have been hospitalized for serious threats to other people, which are often times family members.