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Researcher: Dispel Newtown’s misreporting

ABC News report on autism
ABC News report on autism

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., grade school killings, the Associated Press has issued guidelines for reporters on coverage of mental disorders.

“That’s a good, first step in dispelling the myth that autism causes people to commit horrific crimes,” said a Washington State University psychology professor who has researched the disorder.

After Adam Lanza shot 27 people and then himself on Dec. 14, numerous media reports implied a link between his shooting rampage and the fact that he had Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism.

“When I first heard that, I thought, ‘Oh no, this is bad. This is really bad,’” said WSU psychologist Theodore Beauchaine, who spent a decade researching the condition that affects one in 88 children, according to the most recent estimate by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more about getting autism right at WSU News >>