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There are no words

Media giving information about the shooter in Newtown, CT has given a mother recourse to continue to fight against the stigma of autism.

Sandy Hook Elementary School saw the most unspeakable evil and tragedy at the hands of a madman on Friday, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all effected by it. 

As I heard the news on Friday I ran to get my kids from school, I just couldn't NOT pick them up, I had to be with them.  I was full of anxiety and just wanted to love all over them. 

I had to turn the news off at the first mention from ABC News, "Shooter was autistic - with personality disorder".  The same thing happened the day after the Aurora, CO shooting.  Joe Scarborough of MSNBC said "These shooters are young, white, men, possibly autistic, loners.  On top of an overwhelming sadness for these poor babies, teachers, and school officials taken from their families, I'm so pissed off at the media for their blatant malpractice and lack of research on Autism.

Piers Morgon on CNN had a psychologist who stars on a BRAVO reality show listening to millionaire cocktail queen Bethenney Frankel whine about her poor pathetic life GAWD, blathering misinformation about Autism.  Yeah, that's a great source to give you information about Autism, my GAWD.  Piers Morgan then goes on to say how autistics are missing something in the brain.  WELL THANK YOU PIERS.  You and your over weaning ego have solved the mystery of autism.  He also stated they are unemotional and unaware of right and wrong.  That expert opinion of his is just mind blowing!  I wanted to reach through the TV and punch his arrogant pompous English accent right in the throat. Him and his arrogant smug look on his face set back autism acceptance by years.

So as other reports are stating Autism is a mental illness, personality disorder and behavior disorder.  Over and over to the point of nausea.  The whole thing was sickening at how lame most of the media now is at their jobs.

As the parent of 2 small children with autism, I am pissed that the entire media has set back autism acceptance and awareness years.  These children have so much social stigma on them already, so much to fight through just to do what typical children do.  It was all shoved to the back of the bus by the large sweeping statements made by many bloviating windbags who did nothing but damage an entire community of people by their false misleading, misguided and uninformed reports.  My son does have public temper tantrums and outbursts, and can at times be aggressive.  I get the stares, I have had friends stop bringing their children here to play, what we really need to do is throw psycho killer on top of the stigma they have to carry on their tiny little shoulders.  Thanks a lot media.  I thought your job was to tell a story of what happened? Clearly not your practice anymore.  They literally set back the acceptance and understanding of autism years.

As I lost most hope for those in the media CNN's Dr Sanjay Gupta proved to be the voice of reason via social media.  On his twitter feed "Something needs to be clarified, there is no evidence of a link between autism and planned violent behavior".  Then Anderson Cooper took to the airwaves to debunk the myths being reported about autism.  So to Anderson thank you, to Megyn Kelly thank you, to Dr Gupta, we appreciate your truth, support and common sense in your reporting.

And I think as the talking egos got the picture via social media that they lit a fire that they were not going to control the rage they brought out in autism parents, the phony "clarification" starts coming in.  Fox News today had a panel of parents of children with Autism on Megyn Kelly's show "America's Newsroom".  Megyn Kelly "Autism is not a mental illness but a neurological disorder."  And believe it or not that is not very hard to research.  That exact definition is on the CDC website, the Autism Society, Autism Speaks.  So clearly our media and the so called journalists and anchor people no longer like to work they just want to report something first.

My heart hurt for my kids and then I was just overwhelmed with the thought of if a shooter came into my kids class.  My son cognitively would not know what was going on,  he would not receptively understand instructions from the person trying to hurt him or help him.  The sensory overload of his nervous system would probably cause him to do something that would end up costing him his life.  THAT IS THE REALITY OF AUTISM that the media is missing.  These kids are more likely to be the victim, the helpless, silent victim of a crime than the perpetrator.

The pain that I feel for these children with autism that now have a new battle to overcome.  They now have to fight their way out of the reports of idiots that know not what they speak.  There are too many people that take the media seriously and will now be afraid of people with autism, will make more of a stigma on the kids than they already have.  I have a friend that always tells me "Your kids don't play with mine" "They don't share", "They don't want to be friends with my kid".   I have to constantly fight that kind of ignorance, and now I have to be an advocate for all the kids and families with autism that our kids aren't going to turn Psycho Killer.  Thanks for that Piers, you're a GEM!

This is a tragic event for so many and we should not lose focus on that.  However, the media has a responsibility to use their platform to inform the public.  It does not have the right or invitation to fill minds of masses with information that is incorrect, especially when it has the capacity to hurt many more.

 

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MFriedrich January 04, 2013 at 05:27 PM
The other issue is that autism is a pervasive development disorder, and referred to by experts as a so called "spectrum disorder". That it is to say that two children with autism may have similar symptoms and attributes to their mental condition, but in fact they don't share the same identical disorder. It's not like you have tuberculosis or thyroid cancer or not. It's never black and white. One autistic child could reside on any one of a million points along an infinitely wide spectrum of the disorder - from extremely severe to non-severe. This is the frustration so many parents have. You can't nail autism down except in very broadly described terms. This make treatment and a cure elusive. Not surprising given over 60 years of negligence and insufficient neurological and scientific research. Frequently the media portrays "autism" to equal "Aspergers syndrome". Asperger's is a pervasive development disorder and certainly on the autism spectrum. But not all autistic children have Asperger's syndrome. So yeah, the media pretty much sucks at explaining anything in 30 minutes to 1 hour programming. When it comes to very complex medical disorders, matters are typically only made worse by such programming messages - leading to greater misinformation. It's reminiscent of 1984, the outbreak of AIDS and the story of young Ryan White.
Rebecca Goddard January 04, 2013 at 09:29 PM
I have 2 children with autism. I get it. There is no link between Austim or Aspergers and violent crime. Just so we are clear autism is not a mental disorder, you can look it up anywhere. It is a neurological disorder which also attributes to the developmental delays. sperger's has its own designation in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4), considered the Bible of psychiatry, which has been in use since 1994. However, as of the spring of 2013, when the new DSM-5 comes out, "autistic disorder" will be known as "autism spectrum disorder" and Asperger's will be folded within that larger category.

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