Aaaarghhh! I heard it again, and this myth I cannot bust with Bible verses:
“I certainly never examined Mr. Mercer, but these details, if true, may point to conditions like schizoid personality disorder, Asperberger’s(sic) syndrome or even schizophrenia, any of which can dramatically limit the ability to socialize and empathize with others, contribute to feelings of emptiness and isolation and spawn anything from intense depression to paranoid delusions. ” – Dr. Keith Ablow, psychiatrist, commenting on the Chris Mercer mass shooting story.
I have Asperger’s syndrome. Ablow, for all the other things he may be an expert on, does not even know how to spell Asperger’s syndrome, and he opines this motivates someone to kill? Aspergers is not a pathology or a mental illness. Aspies are no more likely to kill than anyone else.
The myth that we are emotionless and have no compassion exist because of a compassion shortage in people who are not on the Autism spectrum. They only notice compassion / empathy if it is expressed in the exact subtlety of expression and words that someone like them would use to express it. People like me don’t always communicate well – our words are more laboured if we speak, our gestures are different.
It is a myth that we are more likely to be killers. Asperger’s does not lead to “paranoid delusions” either. Please do not take the word of someone who cannot even spell Asperger’s. You will only start to treat people like me with ungrounded suspicion and hate. If we have “feelings of emptiness and isolation” it is usually because people around us can hardly tolerate people with hearts and minds no worse than theirs, but who does not talk about the same things they do, and in the same way. We get isolated when people turn away, when we are easy targets for bullies. Please, church, be as Christ and learn to understand and love us.
But I don’t ask you to change your attitude towards autistics for our sake alone. Change it for your own sake: Learn to appreciate the personalities, gifts and love we bring to you. Make us part of your church, even if our gifts come in packages you find strange.