Psychologist: There's no research linking Asperger's Disorder with violent crimes
More focus needed on mental health services and availability
Adam Lanza was a 20-year-old man described by former classmates as a loner and awkwardly shy.
"I think he was just socially not into going out there and making friends as everyone else does in elementary school and middle school. He preferred to be by himself," said Alex Israel, a former classmate of Lanza.
The quiet and unsocial behavior is one of the symptoms of Asperger's disorder which Lanza's brother said Adam had.
To get the facts right on this type of mild autism, NewsChannel12 talked to clinical psychologist, Dr. Amy James.
"There is absolutely no research linking Asperger's Disorder to violent behavior, homicidal behavior or anything of that nature," said Dr. James.
Every diagnosis and case is different when it comes to a person with Asperger's Disorder.
"The majority of people with this diagnosis are not violent. They don't want to socially engage. They don't want attention drawn to them and to stigmatize is painful to the person who already has a stigma and a label associated," said Dr. James.
The only aggression associated with Asperger's Disorder is described as a magnified temper tantrum such as kicking or pushing, not shooting innocent people.
"At this point, I think we need to be focusing on the mental health services and availability rather than the stigma and fears associated with," said Dr. James.
The former Air Force psychologist says many children and adults suffer from these types of disorders, but some cannot afford the proper treatment.
TORI TIDBIT: If you have any questions about Asperger's Disorder or other types of autism, you may visit autismspeaks.org
Copyright 2012 by WCTI12. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.