EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 30, 2012

Psychosis, not Aspergers, fuels outrageous violent act

Dear Doctor,

The horrible news from Connecticut has made us all sad, but we are also scared. We have an Asperger’s son who is a teen-ager. The news says this young man was Aspergers. Is this kind of horrible thing something that should worry us?

-- Mother

Dear Mother,

My blood pressure has been up since I heard what you are reporting.

Take this to the bank: It was not Aspergers which prompted this horror. It was, most likely, a psychotic illness. Aspergers had nothing to do with it. In my many years of practice I have had the privilege of knowing and working with at least a thousand Aspergers people. They are among the most intelligent, kind, and beautiful people I have known. They are funky, idiosyncratic, often perseverative, and invariably don’t get social cues. Watch the “Big Bang” on television. It is one of my favorite shows and features a group of brainy Aspergers characters. Sheldon, a physicist, is a classic.

As Aspergers youngsters age, they usually become less recognizable in their peculiarity and uniqueness. Adults are more accepting of them.Their social life improves but with its own pattern or style.

Not all Aspergers people are the same to be sure, but these are generalities which are more the norm.

The real miracle in our evolution is the neurology which makes us control ourselves. The prefrontal lobes of the brain are rather thin, and that is where the “don’t do that” pattern dwells. Lord knows prediction of such behavior is faulty and hardly a hard science.

Believe in your son and cherish his gifts.

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