H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Dec 18, 2012 8:48 PM by Staff, KSBY News

Is autism a link to violence

Investigators are still working to learn more about the Connecticut killer, 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

According to a mediator who worked with Lanza's parents during their divorce, the young man had an autism-related disorder called "Aspergers."

Mental health experts say there is no connection between the disorder and violence.

Aspergers is a mild form of autism often characterized by social awkwardness.

According to Julie Miller, an autism specialist, people with autism do have a higher rate of aggressive behavior, outbursts, shoving or pushing or angry shouting.
However Miller says it's not the type of planned and intentional violence we saw in Newtown.

"There's something else that happened that caused such an unspeakable act, " says Julie Miller, Director of the Autism Center in San Luis Obispo. "But typically individuals on the autism spectrum are the victims of crimes, they don't perpetrate crimes."

She added that people with autism are all unique and cannot be lumped into a single category.

Mental health professionals also say those with autism and related disorders are sometimes diagnosed with other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder.

Leading many to believe what happened in Connecticut may have more to do with other mental health issues Adam Lanza was experiencing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism now effects one in 88 American children every year.

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