MILWAUKEE — There are unconfirmed reports the suspect in the Sandy Hook tragedy, Adam Lanza, had Asperger Syndrome and may have also suffered from mental health issues.
For Rosalie Valenti Tocco, watching coverage of the shooting in Connecticut became even more difficult on Monday, December 17th when she heart that the shooter might have had Asperger Syndrome — or a form of autism.
“I knew there were going to be problems to overcome,” said Tocco.
Tocco’s 12-year-old son has autism and she doesn’t believe it would be fair to label others with the disorder.
“There is so much to learn and understand,” said Tocco.
Emily Levine, the Executive Director of the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin says it’s likely to be the other way around.
“”Individuals with autism and Asperger Syndrome are much more likely to be victims of crime or victims of bullying than perpetrators,” said Levine.
Mental health professional like Dr. Chuck Meseck of Lutheran Counseling and Family Services says attention should not be paid to one’s developmental disability. Instead, one should look for other clues.
“I would say look at more depression and psychosis, anger really,” said Dr. Meseck. “The main thing is to get out what’s inside of them that’s kind of there below the surface that can boil up.”
Dr. Meseck says long-term therapy is the best way to handle someone who has the potential to be dangerous. He also says medication can be very helpful in many cases.
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