Thank you for your response. You make some good points here as well as some others I disagree with. I would like to publish this Email to my blog, either under comments or as a separate post with a response from me. Many bloggers do not believe in the need to ask permission before publishing mail they receive, but I prefer to err on the side of good manners. Therefore, I ask you, may I add this to the blog?
And this was her response:
Thanks for writing and sharing.. I am speaking from the heart and as a parent and advocate of many, I know that the autism community is having a difficult time digesting Autism as a diagnosis for this individual Cho but autism is not the what killed people.. an individual did.
NTs really are hard to understand sometimes. I would have included a word like "yes" or "no" somewhere in response to a question, but maybe that's just me. Anyway, I'm taking this as a "yes", since that's my best guess of what it means. So here is the original e-mail, with some commentary provided:
I have read that Cho was indeed diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at eight years of age… but no intervention took place. It wasn’t autism that killed people in Virginia Tech but an individual that had exhibited symptoms of a learning disability at a young age and the people that came in contact with all the years in school did nothing to intervene. Why ..because he was smart, a loner and Korean….. and probably because his own family didn’t accept the diagnosis (this isn’t so unusual is it?)
Some good points here. Kids who get good grades and are quiet don't tend to set off alarms as easily. All students deserve to get the services they need to be successful. Some families have a very hard time accepting a diagnosis for their children.
I think it is wrong to deny that Cho exhibited autism traits... It is not autism that killed people but this individual Cho who never received help or interventions for years..........Again, I agree. It's the presence of these traits that prompted my original post. However, I am not qualified to diagnose anyone, dead or alive. Certainly, whether or not Cho was autistic, autism is not responsible for these deaths
This is so important for parents to remember and a lesson for all people who try to deny children services/support or say they are too smart to receive services at all... even though they have a diagnosis. All the years that Cho was in school, all the teachers that had in class didn't see that he had a disability and did nothing speaks volumes to me. It is not so unusual to hear about kids that are smart, shy, lacking social skills that continue to get pushed through the system for a myriad of reasons......schools don't want to provide services, parents don't want to accept the diagnosis, parents don't know their rights under law for interventions, and some parents have issues that compound getting help for their own child...
If we don't accept that Cho was diagnosed with autism and learn from this, we are compounding the problem of getting help for thousands of children now and in
This is where I start having a problem.
While I admit that children on the autism spectrum are not usually violent, keep in mind this young man was someone who never had intervention
I never had intervention either; I am not and was never violent. This is true for many many people on the spectrum.
and who knows what it was like for him to deal with day to day issues..which I am certain most people didn't even know as he didn't share his feels.. How many kids on the autism spectrum have challenges with sharing their feelings?
Or alternately, how many of the typical persons in their lives take the time to learn how to listen to what they are saying? Why is it always the minority who is said to "have challenges"? We are supposed to understand and use typical ways of communication rather than NTs learning more about autistic communication, yet we are the ones who are said to be disabled. Logic?
Remember this individual Cho does not represent Autism -
Who said he did? I know it wasn't me...
he was diagnosed with it and no one did anything to intervene. Can you imagine being diagnosed with cancer
Please, no, please, please don't let this be another of those autism = cancer fallacies!
when you are eight-years old and then no one does anything for years, even though they suspect something is wrong?
Something was wrong, alright. It's called bullying.
Then you "suddenly" do things from rage...because you are dying inside and no one did a thing to help.
Autism = dying inside? Well, no...
I am not trying to justify what Cho did as right, what I am saying is that this individual needed help, was diagnosed with autism and lived without any treatment/therapy for years… not able to have friends, social issues, etc. along with other emotional problems that compounded his mental state.
He needed help. Yes. He was diagnosed with autism. Apparently, yes. But note the (illogical) implication here: He needed help because he was diagnosed with autism. No. No. No.
Where are all the experts that saw the signs and symptoms which Cho exhibited for years… and did nothing but push him through the system? By denying the diagnosis now, people will further contribute to other’s not getting the help they so desperately need…
If I understand your point here (and I'm not sure of that), you are saying that autistics need help to prevent them from becoming violent. Or is it maybe that this looks like a delicious red herring to serve up to anyone who might contribute to the causes of research, cure, prevention, etc?
Monica Moshenko, Parent, Advocate
Host – DisAbility News & Views Radio
I appreciate the understanding that autism did not commit the crimes. What's missing is the understanding that Cho did not commit the crimes because of autism.
I'm all for making sure people get the interventions they need. Social exclusion, bullying and forced conformity need to be addressed as the enormous problems they are. Parents, teachers, lawmakers and advocates must insist that the (mostly) typical kids who engage in these practices receive the proper treatment and instruction needed to prevent further tragedies.