Albany teen talks Asperger’s, Conn. shooting - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany teen talks Asperger’s, Conn. shooting

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

There are still so many questions why 20-year-old Adam Lanza slaughtered innocent children at a Connecticut elementary school last week.

We do know Lanza had Asperger's Syndrome, a highly functional form of autism.

An Albany teen who lives with Asperger's is speaking out.

He wants you to know to know the truth about the disorder and to understand people like him aren't dangerous.

17-year-old John Scott Okon practiced his guitar with other teens at the Levee in Downtown Albany Wednesday night.  It's easy to see that he's a music lover. 

He also has Asperger's Syndrome, and he was frustrated after hearing Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza had the disorder.

"I was not real happy about it because I've never killed anybody before," said Okon.

John Scott and his parents want other families to know that kids like him aren't dangerous.

"He goes not all of us are like that. It really Upset him that people think these kids are just way out there, well it can be any person on the street that did something like that that's having a hard day," said John Scott's mother Tara Okon.

Not much is known about Lanza's mental state, but experts say it's clear he suffered from some sort of mental illness for which he needed treatment.

"What my hope is, is that this shooting may give us the opportunity to have more open discussion about mental illness in this country," said Dr. Cheryl Kaiser.

Dr. Cheryl Kaiser says people diagnosed with Asperger's are usually mild tempered and rarely act out violently.  She believes there was something else that triggered Lanza's rampage.

"He had Asperger's disorder, but I think it's probably more to it than that because it's not a function of Asperger's to become dangerous to society," said Dr. Kaiser.

"I don't want to be portrayed as a psychopathic murderer," said Okon.

Now, John Scott wants to get the word out about Asperger's and says others shouldn't stereotype or alienate those with the disorder.

"Even though I have Asperger's, I'm very proud to live with it and do not judge me by my condition only judge personality," said Okon.

He hopes the public heeds his advice.

Dr. Kaiser also said there is no clear connection between Asperger's syndrome and violent behavior likes Lanza's.

Thursday, five more of Adam Lanza's victims will be laid to rest, three 6-year-olds and two teachers.

 

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