LoHud.com Hall Monitor blog: “Autism expert at Pace: Don’t rush to provide psychiatric explanations for Newtown shooting”

“We struggle to make sense of the incomprehensible tragedy in Newtown Connecticut. In our quest to find reasons for unexplainable actions, we must resist the rush to provide psychiatric explanations for the motives of the shooter.,” said Mary. R. Cohen, director of the Center for Teaching and Research in Autism at Pace University’s School of Education.

Mary. R. Cohen, director of the Center for Teaching and Research in Autism at Pace University’s School of Education, just put out this statement:

“We struggle to make sense of the incomprehensible tragedy in Newtown Connecticut.  In our quest to find reasons for unexplainable actions, we must resist the rush to provide psychiatric explanations for the motives of the shooter. It was reported early on in the media that the shooter had Asperger’s Syndrome (AS).  We have now learned that much of the information provided by news organizations was inaccurate. Snap judgments on the part of news reporters have had a negative effect on children, adults and family members of those individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. In addition, misinformation regarding Asperger’s individuals having a “lack of empathy” has been disseminated on Piers Morgan Tonight and on several Internet sites. The confirmation of this diagnosis from reliable sources has not occurred and even if it does at some point, the complexity of Adam Lanza’s state of mind cannot be explained by Asperger’s. This type of violence does not occur in AS and individuals with AS are much more likely to be the victims of bullying and violence by others. There are many complex layers to unravel before anyone can elucidate the reasons for his actions. Family dynamics, the onset of psychosis, and severe pathology that is yet unknown may set these violent impulses in motion.”

You can read more about Cohen and the Center for Teaching and Research in Autism HERE.

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