Olathe mother works to discredit link between autism and the Newtown school shooting

OLATHE, Kan. - Gabby Lucas has two daughters diagnosed with a form of autism. The Olathe, Kan., mother explained that 5-year-old Andrea and 9-year-old Anna are sweet and non-violent girls who occasionally have behavioral problems.

Lucas said that's why she's one of thousands of parents of children with autism across the country trying to discredit the link between the disease and the bloody massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"Autism is not the reason that Adam Lanza shot those children," Lucas said.

It was confirmed Tuesday that Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was diagnosed with a form of autism called Aspergers syndrome. Now Lucas is worried that the world will think all people with autism can suddenly become violent murderers.

"Maybe he had Aspergers, but that didn't make him do what he did," Lucas added.

Matthew Reese, co-director of the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training on the University of Kansas Hospital campus, said he doubts Lanza had Aspergers.

"Aspergers by definition is a non-violent behavioral disorder, not a mental illness," Reese explained. "In my 40 years of working with Aspergers patients, I have never seen any adult or child with the propensity to become violent."

Lucas said she and other parents will continue their social media campaign to let the world know that people with Aspergers are not violent and should be embraced and accepted instead of shunned.

The Center for Child Health and Development is the main center at KU and in Kansas related to the diagnosis and care of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Fore more information visit,
http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-medicine/cchd.html

For more information on Autism and Aspergers visit the National Autism Society's website,
http://www.autism-society.org/.
 

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