Further, the Autism Society is committed to informing, educating and securing appropriate services by providing reliable and unbiased information. To that end, we are compelled to dispel any myths about individuals with autism:
No evidence exists to link autism and premeditated violence. Suggesting otherwise is wrong and harmful to the more than 1.5 million individuals living with autism in the United States. (Gunasekaran, S., & Chaplin, E. (2012). Autism spectrum disorders and offending. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 6, 308-313.)
Individuals with autism and those with other disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators.
(Hughes, K., Bellis, M. A., Jones, L., Wood, S., Bates, G., Eckley, L., … & Officer, A. (2012). Prevalence and risk of violence against adults with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. The Lancet. 379, 1621-1629.
Many of the individuals with Asperger’s syndrome who have committed crimes had co-existing psychiatric disorders.
(Newman SS, Ghaziuddin M: Violent crime in Asperger syndrome: the role of psychiatric comorbidity. J Autism Dev Disord 39:1949-52, 2008.)
Individuals with autism who act aggressively typically do so because they react to a situation.
Please do not judge any individual with autism based on the discourse surrounding Friday’s tragic event. Instead, please strive to educate and inform your communities. Help the Autism Society ensure that individuals with autism are not marginalized due to a misunderstanding of a complicated disorder.