I have decided to open my blog with a passage I recently posted on my Facebook page:
In response to the media frenzy on the "possible link between Aspergers and violence", here is my two cents: First of all, Autism is not synonymous with mental illness. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder. The stereotype that our kids lack empathy has led to erroneous reporting and unsubstantiated assumptions regarding those on the autism spectrum.
Yes, children with autism tend to be socially awkward and may have a more difficult time making friends than their neurotypical peers, but they are most likely to become a victim and not a victimizer. Violence is in no way, shape, or form a characteristic of Asperger Syndrome. Autistic "outbursts" are often misinterpreted as acts of violence, when in fact they are displays of frustration from the inability to communicate or express one’s feelings. As a result, aggression is most often self-directed.
My point is that folks fear what they don’t understand. Do the research. Listen to teachers and parents who deal with autism every day (the REAL experts) and know your facts. Don’t join the media bandwagon, or you’re likely to miss out on knowing some pretty cool kids.
Here are just a few statements from credible autism groups and parents: