Thursday, March 1, 2018

Experts Warn Against Linking Autism to Florida Shooting

Autism experts around the world are urging caution against linking the autism spectrum disorder to violence in the wake of the recent Florida shooting which left 17 people dead
After the recent shooting in Florida which left 17 people dead, and over 13 wounded, many autism experts are urging caution in linking the autism spectrum disorder to violence. Several different media and news outlets were quick to link alleged killer Nikolas Cruz with autism during their coverage of the unfolding event.
A massive shooting happens, and it’s a senseless act of violence,” said Dr. Karoly Mirnics, director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “As you are searching for answers, you start to notice differences. Too often in these troubled times, many media outlets are too quick to try and find a link to mental health issues or find a reason for senseless acts of violence.
Autism Speaks released a statement following the Florida shooting and said “As investigators search for motives, media reports indicated that the gunman had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. But an autism diagnosis does not explain this horrific act of violence. We know that speculation and misinformation about autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities have hurtful and lasting consequences.
Some of the common symptoms associated with the autism spectrum disorder are:
Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people
Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture
Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation after it has begun
Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates
A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school
These are by no means all the symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder. Some people with autism may show signs of all these symptoms, while others may only show slight variations of some symptoms. However, you look at it, associating autism with violent acts does no one on the autism spectrum any favors. Too often these days media outlets are too quick to link an act of violence with a disorder or mental health condition. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts and opinions.

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