According to the Associated Press, Ryan described his younger brother to authorities as “somewhat autistic” and said he suffered from a personality disorder.
I went into his room, took some clothes from the closet, handed them to him. And hinting at what he was about to do only with a small sigh, as if to say, “I’ve had enough,” my son picked me up and threw me across the room.
I had three broken ribs and a bit of damage to my liver that made my doctor fret. Still, who among us hasn’t wanted to toss our mother across the room when she’s nattering on and making cheerful sounds in the morning? I dismissed it as an aberration until a couple weeks later when Andrew decked his elderly tutor, knocking her onto a concrete sidewalk and breaking her hand. He went on to attack several staff members at the group home, grope the mentally handicapped young women who attended his transition program, and finally to accost his 14-year-old sister right in front of my eyes.
. . . .
Secretly, as if committing a sacrilege, I searched online using keywords such as “autism” and “violence” and “murder.” What I found was confusing. There were roughly a dozen recent articles about heinous acts committed by people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, but each was followed by editorials and letters written by autism advocates vigorously denying a link. There were a few studies from the ’80s and ’90s, but the results — when they showed a higher rate of violent crime among people with autism — appeared to have been quieted or dismissed.
The whole article is worth reading. And the incidence of violence by those with autism is worth discussing. Not to demonize those with autism, but to confront facts and be aware.
UPDATE: I want to make something very clear. I have no desire to demonize autistic children. I know people with very sweet-natured children who are autistic or Asperger’s. The link in the article was sent to me by someone with a severely autistic child who had personally experienced or witnessed violent tendencies of the sort described in the article. I had never heard of this possible connection before and thought it worth raising.
I have not read the studies mentioned in the article, but I am concerned about the author’s representation that some studies indicate a relationship between autism and violence — yet the results of those studies have been minimized. IF this is the case, and I’m not saying it is, it should concern everyone — but especially the parents of autistic children.
I understand how people with autistic children could have a negative emotional reaction to the post and the linked article. It is not my intent to upset such people. Again, I am not trying to demonize anyone. I am raising a possible connection that interested me because I had not heard about it before yesterday.