Tag Archives: scientific

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


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?


Bug Art: Manchester Museum’s Big Saturday

Since I was a kid, I was always fascinated with science. As I got older, one of my wishes was to work in a museum because I’ve always thought that museum workers are really clever and they know all about science. Today, thanks to the British Science Association, I had the opportunity to fulfill my dream, even for just a very short time. Along with other volunteers, I helped set-up a stall that aimed to explain the process of pollination to children. We also gave the kids the chance to make their own bees to take home.

This is the model bee that one of our colleagues made for us and the kids to copy:

Looking at the picture below, we aimed to explain pollination through the use of visual aids. The flowers of the left contained little soft balls that represented the pollens. The bee takes them to a different flower for pollination or to its beehive (which is where the bee is sitting):

These are my colleagues in action:

Look at all the people having fun:

There were also some other exhibitions and activities during the day. Here are the pictures of some of the insects on display:

But I guess the best part of the Big Saturday is the maggot painting. Maggots were placed into trays with paper and paint and were guided by the one painting either by brush or by torching them. (Any reader who can explain this better please comment, as I have only caught a glimpse of this).

These are the maggots:

And here are some of the paintings. Can you see the maggots?

For more info about Manchester Museum’s upcoming events, visit: http://events.manchester.ac.uk/calendar/tag:manchester_museum/