Expert to the Newton panel says autism and violence not tied.

Hartford, Connecticut, Matthew Lerner, professor of psychology at Stony Brook University – told a commission looking into the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre in Connecticut on Friday Jan 17 that there is no link between autism and increased violent criminal behaviour.

Pat Eaton -Robb in the Star Tribune reports that Matthew Lerner said:

“Having autism, having an autism spectrum disorder, having Asperger’s syndrome does not mean you are likely to commit a violent crime.”

Learner was among a group of experts who all testified on Friday about programs available to help people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) function better in society.

The commission is considering if the state’s mental health programs is adequate.

Matthew Lerner said:

“Having autism, having an autism spectrum disorder, having Asperger’s syndrome does not mean you are likely to commit a violent crime,”

Scott Jackson, the chairman of the commission, said on Friday that autism is very personal for him as he has a severely autistic brother.

“There was concern within the advocacy community about tying developmental disabilities to this great tragedy. I want to say very clearly that is not the intention. This is an issue that needs to be discussed. It deserves to be discussed in public.”

The commission expects to present its recommendations around the end of March.

The full article by Pat Eaton -Robb in the Star Tribune can be found here