Local author reacts to his book found in Newtown shooter's home - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Local author reacts to his book found in Newtown shooter's home


The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is back in the spotlight following Thursday's release of warrants in the investigation.

The documents show police found a local author's book in the home that shooter Adam Lanza shared with his mother Nancy.

Along with guns, ammunition and samurai swords were books. Those books included some dealing with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism.

Investigators believe Nancy used the books to try to understand her son's autistic condition.

Western Mass resident John Robison has authored three books on autism, including the New York Times bestseller Look Me in the Eye. According to warrants, that book was among several discovered in the Lanza home.

"When parents read that book, they read it for that reason," said Robison. "It is not so much a training manual as it is a window into the mind of someone who grew up like that, with differences."

Robison knows those differences well, having Asperger's Syndrome himself.

He said people with autism are more likely to be victims of violence. That is why he believes there is more to Lanza than just a young man with autism.

"It is important to remember that just because somebody like that might have had Asperger's, that does not mean that he does not have other problems," Robison stated. "Asperger's does not protect you from any number of other potentially serious disorders."

At its root, Robison said autism is a communication disorder. For someone like Lanza, it could make it difficult to understand what people are trying say.

"It can make you lonely," said Robison. "It can make you depressed. It can make you anxious. It can make it hard for you to learn. There is nothing in the profile of autism, in any of its forms, that predicts violence towards other people."

That is why Robison, who just last year was appointed to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee by the secretary of health and human services, believes gun control is a tough issue. He said for every child diagnosed with autism, there are two adults who have the disorder but do not know it.

"Some of those adults that are not diagnosed are policemen, security guards, some are all manner of other emergency responders," said Robison. "Some are soldiers in the military. Should we take guns away from them? Of course not. Most of those people are valuable members of society."

Robison said something that gets overlooked in all of the Sandy Hook reporting is that two of the 20 children who were killed were also in the autism spectrum.

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