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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Link between autism and planned violence discounted by experts

Unconfirmed news reports after the Connecticut school shooting that gunman Adam Lanza had been diagnosed with a milder form of autism prompted strongly-worded statements from autism advocacy groups that the developmental disorder was not associated with “planned violence.”

Psychologists who treat people with autism point out that pre-meditated violence toward others isn’t one of the traits associated with the disorder in the psychiatric diagnostic manual. While some individuals may thrash out violently when feeling emotionally overwhelmed -- usually those at the extreme end of the autism spectrum -- there’s no evidence linking the condition to the type of forethought required to pack guns into a car, shoot through the entrance of a locked school, and methodically gun down tiny strangers in pigtails and baseball caps.

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