Two days have passed since I first posted my thoughts about the Sandy Hook
Elementary School massacre. I am becoming increasingly concerned that the news
media and others investigating this disaster have not indicated that they will
investigate whether there may be a connection between the manner in which the
Newtown School District addressed Adam Lanza's special needs arising out of ASD
and comorbid disorders, and the 20 year-old former student's horrific acts.
While official investigators do not appear to be
acknowledging that this may be an elephant in the room, many parents, like Liza
Long ("I am Adam Lanza's Mother"), are not only aware of it, but are on the
verge of being crushed by it. Even in the small state of Iowa, since
Sunday, even I have received several calls from parents of children diagnosed
with ASD and one or more co-morbid psychiatric disorder, who are expressing
fears that their children may be demonstrating potential for
Each of these parents began by saying that while they have been
worried about their children's risk of suicide, since Sandy Hook, they have
become worried that if someday their children were to have access to guns or
explosives, they might strike back at the school system in which they have been
miserable . . . failing . . . isolated . . . bullied . . .
physically/emotionally uncomfortable . . . etc. All of the parents indicated
that they believe the inability of their public school districts to adequately
understand and address their children's needs is driving increases in their
children's levels of self injury, withdrawal and isolation, and verbal and
In response to my questions, all of the parents
indicated that their children are receiving private medical services and other
outpatient treatment, and that some are covered by Iowa's Children's Mental
Health Waiver, while others are on the waiting list for the waiver. Despite
their descriptions of some rather specatcular records of truancy, suspensions,
physical and verbal aggression, property damage and academic failure, according
to the parents, not one of their children's IEP teams have ever mentioned the
possibility that in connection with the school's duty under state and federal
law to provide a continuum of placements, the school might provide the child
with placement in a school with intensive therapeutic services.
is unreasonable to consider children diagnosed ASD as potential mass murderers,
those investigating the perfect storm that produced the Sandy Hook
massacre cannot ignore the research has demonstrated that some individuals
diagnosed with ASD and significant levels of co-morbid psychiatric and/or
central nervous system disorders, are at risk for high levels of abberant
On the basis of all of the above, I would like to reiterate
that while it may be difficult in the wake of the Sandy Hook disaster for
investigators to probe the terribly wounded Newtown School District, no
meaningful investigation into the factors that produced the massacre can
avoid taking a good look at the manner in which, only a few short years ago,
the Newton School District addressed Adam Lanza's special needs.
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