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Asperger’s, ADHD, Autism & Violence: Is There A Connection?

... on the spectrum ...
… on the spectrum …

It was with a gaping mouth that I began reading tweets that indicated that Adam Lanza had been diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome. I was astounded, but not surprised. I was astounded that this was being released to the media, but not surprised that the media and the public were taking up the cry. And I was even less surprised by the shallow draught of the public opinion that fuelled this new spat of updates on social networks.
In fairness, I was surprised that someone with Asperger’s could have done what this young man is alleged to have done. It doesn’t track. Asperger’s is a disorder that leaves those who have it scrambling to understand the rules of the world. But few, if any, would get up in the morning and wonder if a mass killing would be okay.

I hate not knowing the rules!

Not knowing all the rules is something that I can understand. And worrying about having broken one or more of them causes me much anxiety. I’d have to be at my wit’s end to break one of societies rules knowingly.

But there you have it, right? My wit’s end. That’s what it would take to cause me to break down. And how would I get there? Good question.

What’s happening in the news?

The news, in this day and age, is nearly instant. If someone sneezes on the president, if someones dress slips, if someone wins a few million dollars, we all know about it in moments. But when thousands of people use words like stupid, crazy, insane, retarded, weirdo, geek, nerd, space cadet, etc. no one bats an eyelash. That’s because it’s okay, everyone does it.

But it isn’t okay. Society stigmatizes mental health, and that creates greater need for help and, at the same time, keeps people from seeking that help. You belittle the need, so funding isn’t allocated. You fuel the bigotry and it grows, creating larger waves of bigotry.

So what am I saying?

The title of this post is: “Asperger’s, ADHD, Autism and Violence: Is There A Connection?” Yes! So what is the connection. In my opinion, the connection is this. Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD are all mental health disorders on the Autism spectrum. As such, these diagnosis indicate a spectrum of needs ranging from a great deal of support to some training and mild stimulant medication.

[…] the link between disorders on the Autism spectrum and violence … is society.

But the connection to violence is through the marginalizing that comes when society as a whole seeks to stigmatize, either intentionally by bullying and degrading those with these needs, or unintentionally by using the diagnostic labels for these and other mental health disorders as insults and abuses.

So I guess what I’m saying is this, the link between disorders on the Autism spectrum and violence … is society. And if this guilt is laid at societies doorstep, it’s no wonder society is so ready to accept the “diagnosis” as the cause. The alternative would be to accept the guilt.

And now, I’ll shut up – oh, one more thing …

In closing, I’d like to quote from today’s blog post written by a very good friend of mine, Melanie Knapp, she says: “I’d like to make a rule, you only get to refer to mental illness if you get to know me for my strengths.” I know her for her strengths. And believe me, knowing her for her strengths may allow you to refer to mental illness, but it also teaches you that it’s so small a part of the woman you get to know, so small a part of her world that you’ll rarely need to refer to mental illness … if ever.

Asperger’s, ADHD, Autism & Violence: Is There A Connection?

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2016). Asperger’s, ADHD, Autism & Violence: Is There A Connection?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 12, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 Jan 2016
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