Sunday, February 17, 2013

Recommended reading: "Raising Adam Lanza" in the Hartford Courant

My wife Chris and I raised two kids with special needs. Our son was diagnosed at five with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Our daughter had learning disabilities and mental health challenges. They are both adults now and doing well. But Chris and I know only too well the frantic calls from school, the many meetings with teachers and counselors, the convoluted Individualized Educational Plans (I.E.P.s) and the heartache that goes along with it all.

That's one of the reasons it was so intriguing to read "Raising Adam Lanza," the first installment in a series in the Hartford Courant. It's the kind of article that newspapers used to be known for. Courant reporters interviewed friends, family, teachers and neighbors to try to get to the bottom of Adam Lanza's murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Adam was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and sensory integration disorder.

The vast majority of teens with ADHD or OCD or any of the many alphabet soup of disorders or syndromes never turn to violence. Those that do tend to make big, bold headlines. That's why it's important to learn all we can about them. In hindsight, Adam Lanza's mother made poor choices in withdrawing her son from school, and keeping him isolated at home. She also chose the wrong hobbies to help her bond with her sons: gun collecting and target shooting. And Adam spent way too much time playing violent video games. All that taken together led to the Sandy Hook shootings. There may be other reasons, too. I suggest you read the articles and/or watch the concurrent airing of the story on PBS's Frontline. This is an interesting collaboration between a daily newspaper and a PBS show. Maybe it's the wave of the future.

Read today's Courant article here.

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