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In a million years, I did not think I would have to start another bloggy message about mental health, other than Autism information. Yet, here I am. Why? Because we have had another shooting. Worse yet, a school shooting. The politicians are asking for gun control. The students, God bless them, want gun control. Those who are connecting the dots in all these horrible crimes, however, are seeing another issue, mental health.
I agree with the mental health issue. I am on board with putting school-based mental and physical health clinics back in school. I have evidence to back up the need. Our own state, the highly Blue Connecticut, has consistently cut mental health funding and recently caused the school-based clinics to be closed or redistricted.
I was set to write letters to my state and federal legislatures to request, no demand, they fix the issue. Then, the media has decided to start pointing fingers at the Florida shooters DSM-5 diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They are pointing at those two intellectual disorders as a reason why he snapped and killed those students.
I am here to tell you, that they are absolutely incorrect! I do not know a lot about ADHD, however, I come from a family of autistics. My own child was recently diagnosed. I show all the female traits. I work in a school that has 3 ASD classrooms, housing approximately 15 students, as well as another 3 that are fully integrated into their grade level classrooms, and about 10 others showing ASD traits, undiagnosed. I have yet to meet a child, teen or adult, who even in the middle of a sensory or anxiety induced meltdown, would even consider hurting someone.
The stigma that comes with the label of autism is hard enough for families and individuals to live with. Whether high functioning, what used to be known as Aspergers', or not, Autism gets very negative attitudes. We used to fight for awareness. We have that, sadly very negative awareness, but what we need is acceptance. These news agencies are making that acceptance harder and harder to obtain, when they report stories about the mental health diagnosis of people like the Newtown and Florida shooters.
I am disgusted that the news agencies do not research what they are speaking of before writing their headlines. It shows that they have an agenda, not of reporting factual news, but of getting ratings and promoting discord. IF they actually took the time to look at what they are reporting, they would see autism had nothing to do with the shootings. I would wager the ADHD did not either.
Here is what I have found out about the person who committed the unfathomable crimes in Florida In parenthesis, I have put an average individual's potential feelings, ie mental state:
His birth mother died when he was young. (Trauma)
He was adopted. (Insecurity, unknown future)
Adoptive father passed away from a heart attack recently. (Depression, trauma)
Adoptive mother passed away in November. (Depression, anxiety, anger, trauma)
Living with a friends family, new rules etc. (Anxiety)
Recently broke up with a girlfriend. (Depression low self-worth, anger)
On antidepressants and seeing someone in a mental health facility. (antidepressants have reverse psychosis side effects. Anytime you mess with the natural synapse in the brain, you have problems. How long was he on them? What other meds? Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, and other antipsychotic medications have been proven to induce anger and other psychosis type effects. Just look at the side effect listings.)
NONE of these I listed above have anything to do with autism. Does being ASD make it more difficult to deal with the feelings? Yes, but it does not turn you into a cold-blooded killer. Again, I would wager the same can be said for ADHD.
Why then, did this boy snap? Why was he posting, and saying and doing terrible things prior to the horrible February 14th event? I am not a professional, but I would ask these questions:
When his mom passed, did the school system or whoever had him in custody, get him adequate counseling? If I heard correctly, he was elementary age.
The school officials up to the point he was ejected from school, knew he had problems. Did they make every effort to counsel him? Did they bring in outside services? What about when his adoptive parents passed?
These questions, and the actions he took lead to one conclusion: NO. He was never given the tools to cope with everything that happened in his life.
More questions, and probably the most important:
When the FBI was contacted, on several occasions, about the boy's chatter—Why did they not act?
Could this chatter have been his plea for help?
Why did 17 children have to die, and now, possibly the boy?
I am not defending this child. What he did was wrong, but there were years of red flags. Red flags that were NOT autism based. Autism did not make him a killer.
I have not gone back to the man who committed the Newtown crime, but he is being brought up again, with that cry of "He has autism." I have not looked at the other shooters, either. I am pretty sure, however, that if I did, I would see a pattern: Other trauma, anxiety, psychosis in their lives that went without help.
I wish I was writing to push for those school-based health clinics. I wish that I was writing to applaud the move to autism acceptance. Sadly, another year, another stigma added to the ASD label. I ask that you look inside and start a movement to remove that stigma. Share this article and stand up to those who want to blame ASD, and ADHD for the horrible crimes people commit.
Oh, and to really make a point: Did you know that 1 in 4 males are autistic? Many go undiagnosed. Look around your room. IF you are alone, think to your place of employment or your school. Could you be that 1? Do YOU want the stigma, the looks, the fear? Would that make YOU a killer? NO, I did not think so.