Statement on Newtown, CT
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December 15, 2012

The staff at the Autism Research Institute is deeply saddened by the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut December 14th. In the hours following the attack, some in the media reported the shooter may have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 

This morning, the leadership of ARI’s Autistic Global Initiative project issued the following statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the community of Newtown, Connecticut today in the wake of yesterday’s tragedy. Some public comments have drawn potentially inaccurate and stigmatizing conclusions about a link between the diagnosis and a propensity for violence and lack of empathy.

The autism community has long labored toward building understanding, awareness, and trust within communities throughout the United States and the world. As adults with autism living productive, peaceful lives, we urge the media and professionals who participate in speculative interviews about the motives of the accused shooter to refrain from misleading comments about autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. The eyes of the world are on this wrenching tragedy – with 1 in 88 now diagnosed, misinformation could easily trigger increased prejudice and misunderstanding.  Let us all come together and mourn for the families and exercise the utmost care in discussions of how and why it  occurred."

Valerie Paradiz, Ph.D.

Director, Autistic Global Initiative 
on behalf of the AGI Executive Leadership & the Autism Research Institute

(CNN) Groups: Autism Not to Blame for Violence