Having Autism and being a Psychopath is not the same: theory and evidence from Prof. Simon Baron Cohen

autism_k0gIF

adam_lanzaAfter the horrific events that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, it is understandable that people will look for reasons why Adam Lanza and people like him can and have done such things. It is terribly sad and alarming, however, to find that despite the availability of substantial scientific research on the subject, some people became fixated on the fact that Lanza did what he did because he had Asperger’s Syndrome (a type of Autism which is at the lower, less severe, side of the spectrum).

As a person who works with children with Autism and their family, this is deeply alarming and I wish to straighten this out, once and for all. Why am I so passionate about this? Well, I don’t want Autism to be WRONGFULLY associated with extreme acts of violence and psychopathy. Attributing Adam Lanza’s (and the likes) crime to having Asperger’s Syndrome could lead to devastating effects. People with Autism are misunderstood enough. Students with Autism are being bullied in schools due (in part) to the lack of understanding of other kids. Don’t make this any worse.

THERE ARE NO EVIDENCE WHICH SUGGESTS THAT VIOLENT ACTS SUCH AS MURDER IS CAUSED BY AUTISM. Yes, I have worked with students who were violent in the sense that they have punched, kicked or pushed their classmates and teachers, but none have ever turned into a psychopath. Here’s Simon Baron-Cohen talking about violence, lack of empathy and Autism:

School Shootings:

Prevalence, Causes and Possible Prevention Strategies

More on Autism:

What does Autism mean?

What is PDD-NOS?

Communication difficulties in Autism

Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper: Asperger’s Syndrome’s Poster Boy?

Still unsure if Sheldon has Asperger’s?

The Autistic Me: BBC Documentary

Autism in the classroom:

Guide to parents of students with ASD on coping with the first day back to school

Common signs of Autism in the classroom

First day back to school: Top tips for parents of children with Autism

Practical tips to make your classroom Autism-Friendly

Inspiring People with Autism:

Dr. Temple Grandin

Jessica-Jane Applegate (British Paralympian)

Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator)

Carly Fleischmann

More on Savants:

The Psychology of Savants: Memory Masters

Artists with Autism

The Einstein Effect: Is there a link between having Autism and being a genius?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s