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Did Adam Lanza, the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School, have a developmental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome?

According to the recent NY Times article, A Gunman, Recalled as Intelligent and Shy, Who Left Few Footprints in Life, “Several said in separate interviews that it was their understanding that he [Lanza] had a developmental disorder. They said they had been told that the disorder was Asperger’s syndrome, which is considered a high functioning form of autism.”

As a psychologist, I have been treating children and adults with Aspergers Syndrome for many years and I agree that they have social interaction difficulties, restricted patterns of behavior and interests, and appear as “little professors” because they can excel in cognitive areas. I have not seen a significant tendency toward violence as a component of Asperger’s disorder.

That said, it is essential for children who suffer from developmental disorders and mental illness to obtain adequate treatment. In this story, I am Adam Lanza’s Mother, Liza Long, a mother of an extremely mentally ill son, shares the hardship of finding him appropriate treatment and knowing what to do to ensure her child and all around him stay safe.

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