A Valley doctor denied that Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, could have led a 20-year-old man to murder nearly 30 people at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school.
"We know that children with Asperger's disorder and children with autism are just not more prone to violent crime than any other group in the population," said Dr. Raun Melmed, a developmental pediatrician who studies children's mental health and is also affiliated with the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center.
Melmed said the conversation about Asperger's possibly contributing to the shooter's decisions could be unneeded, as it has not been proven that Adam Lanza actually had any form of autism.
"The fact that this person may have had some underlying neurobiological disorder, in addition to what clearly is significant mental health challenges, I think unfairly singles out the group of individuals with Asperger's disorder."
Melmed said that, rather than being the perpetrators of crime, people with autism disorders are often the victims of crime.
"They're often the victims of bullying. They're often the victims of being singled out and being ostracized, especially in junior high and high school situations."
Melmed said the best thing a parent with a child who may have a disorder early is to face the issue and get their child the help they need rather than refusing to accept the issue at hand and letting the child discover their own means to deal with it. Community members can also help by watching out for those children and helping them.