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 Adam's cognitive abilities and empathy. Autism spectrum or not?

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Sabratha

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PostSubject: Adam's cognitive abilities and empathy. Autism spectrum or not?   Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:10 am

Well, decided to make it a separate thread as not to clutter the forum and go into eeper and deeper off-topic isssues in one thread.

I think this is a very important issue as far as Adam goes and we should pay close attention to this. Grandma's comment in another thread sparked it, I'll quote her here:

Grandma wrote:
Autistic people, doesn't  matter if it is Asperger or Kanner syndrom, have one thing in common, they create their own world with their own rules and their own rituals. They are frustrated and desperate if something or someone didn't follow this rules or rituals.

That is actually one autistic trait Adam did have. There were a lot of rules like that which Adam put up and routines he had to follow. His mother had to go along with these, especially his obsessions related to cleaning.

There was a time where there were some technicians hired by Nancy to do something in the garden and Nancy had to jump through all sorts of hoops because their presence there interruped Adam's routines and he would get very upset and hysterical.

It is vague, as Nancy is deceased, but she did mention to people she knew taht Adma had some sort of repetitive behaviors too. He would have some sort of fits of anger or hysteria

Overall some of Adam's behavior seems coherent with Asperger or PDD-NOS.

However (and its a very big HOWEVER) Adam was expiriencing hallucinations.

He also did not seem to have any impairment as far as his general cognitive abilities. At times he would express a degree of at least average intelligence and was capabale of producing long, outspoken, elaborate and argumentative witten essays on various topics. Adam had a grasp of how online debates and discussions go and he would use rational arguments at times (at times he was just insulting or angry, but that's not unusual for youtube comments of otehr peopel as well).

Adam's problems were as far as I know, adaptative in nature and mostly revolved around social-skills, his routines and his obsessions.

[quote="Grandma"An autistic person does not understand why YOU are sad, angry, mean or happy because he feels in another way. My son laughs when I yell at him, and sometime he began to cry when someone laughs.[/quote]

Hard to say without seeing Adam in person and talkign to him, but looking at his online interactions, eh clearly had some sort of understanding of how other people will react emotionally to something. At times he inentionally tried to insult or otherwise provoke a negative reaction from someone.

The best imho example of showing just how much Adam did understand symbolism and emotions of others is when he posted comments to videos made by recent CHS students (think it was a recording of some school play). One of his comments was simply: "PEEKABOOOO!" and was a quote from Eric Harri's killing spree in the library. I'm sure Adam deliberately used this phrase to upset current columbine students.  

This might sound simple, but its not an easy feat for someone who would have a severely impaired understanding of symbols, metaphores or emotions. For someone with severe autism, using the "PEEKABOOOO!" quote in a deliberate manner would probably be near impossible.

Another eample (this time of posiive empathy) was Adam making a comment on youtube to apparently a mother of a shooting spree survivor. There he wrote:
"Also try to get your son on disability for depression and PTSD and anxiety as I am sure he is suffering from these things.  They should be able to find him a place to live. If he wants to take the meds, then they will most likely pay for them for him.  I am sure something like this is in place for someone in his condition. Forget the massacre and WHY, it was not your sons fault, he was just unlucky to be there at that moment. Teen suicide is common. Their motive was suicide."

Again, certainly NOT a comment that could have been offered by someone with severe autism. The empathy and cognitive skill of Adam is shown here.

Grandma wrote:
if you want to go on a shooting spree you better have something different than autism, because you can't handle the chaos, the screams, the noise, the panic.

Well, during the shooting Adam was in control. And that imho mattered to him a lot. He was used to his guns and was already quite proficient as he trained with these. I think he knew in advance perfectly well what would happen, that people would cry, scream, call to god, etc. He learned all of that by studying previous shootings.


So, to sum it up: Yes Adam obviously had limited social skills. But (to my best knowledge) had not any cognitive impairment. At times he was also capable of empathy.

I think in fact Adam was smart enough to figure out that his "Asperger" diagnosis was bogus. He knew somethign was wrong with himself, but he did not believe the psychologists know what it is or that they can help him. Adam certainly lost all trust in modern psychology and imho also lost faith in his mother at some point.

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PostSubject: Re: Adam's cognitive abilities and empathy. Autism spectrum or not?   Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:45 pm

yo.

what about high functioning autism - accordin to new dsm-V?

(unfortunately, I have not read the new crosswalk (icd-10 versus dsm-V, yet.)

here (in Europe) we are really waiting for kinda translation - while dsm-V is quite superficial - kanner versus Asperger (got it) Tamet, Daniel versus Cho?
oh - really?
I don't think so - sorry. (cynism intended, yo)

biasing autistic people is like sayin' - well - cho: fair enough - he has been Asian and truly tough.;

and british Daniel - uk is equivalent to "great opportunities for great, true, realistic people" - havin' been said by latin-lovers and other matching tennis watchers - I mean it: WATCHERS.;

however - cho might have been really, really intelligent (may be a genius - who knows? he is dead, if you care...) - what now?

do you really think - someone is ill / disturbed or maybe just wrong diagnosed by head writers and other administrators guessing from connections - where there might have been (none / some / whatever / any / ve-tomatoes) ??

that really is somethin' I might never understand.

sorry for maybe harming / having harmed too many fellow forum users - lanza, adam is one of the greatest role models ever seen - even - if he might be some kind of anti-hero.
the Norway students are being showed exhibitions to decide and speak for themselves - what about you? (@ sabbratha)

maybe quite extreme; maybe too far - don't knoqqw.

and further more?

adam lanza? do you think he has been / is stupid? and why?
could you please explain it to other disabled - autistic - people? even if they still do feel depressed about it?

greetz
nightshiftstalker

(Stanley Cooper)

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Sabratha

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PostSubject: Re: Adam's cognitive abilities and empathy. Autism spectrum or not?   Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:22 am

I don't think Cho was a genius, at least from what little videos were made public and from the plays he wrote. Mr.Brownstone is especially infantile. Richard McBeef is better, but still not genius material at all.


I don't think Adam was Stupid. He wasn't a genius either, but some of his online posts reveal an analytic (if obsessed) mind capable of rational argumentation. No, he wasn't stupid at all. I'd say that given his social isolation and mental issues, he was pretty bright.

Adam wrote in a PM to another forum member at one point taht he was expirtiencing psychotic symptoms (seeing faces that are not really there). This doesn't sound like autism to me, more like some sort of psychotic disorder like schizophrenia maybe. I don't have enough info to guess what he was suffering from, but it certainly was not asperger (or not just asperger). Delusions are not autistic. We need to treat his comment about delusions VERY seriously. People have not been treating Adam's words seriously when he was alive. Its high time we do at least that now that he and 26 other peopel are dead.

If Adam was autistic then we must conclude hew as not just autistic. He had something else, something taht caused teh ahllucinations and delusions.


Why do you think Adam is a role model? For the last year of his life, Adam stopped posting on youtube, stopped posting on all the forums he used to frequent (SCMRPG forum but also gun forums etc). I'm not sure what was goign on, but he cut off all internet contact and from what his mother said to his father, Adam probably broke off all his RL contacts too. I can only guess he was expiriencing a severe psychothic phase (aka delusions).


Also... I am not sure he considered himself a role model. As creepy as it may sound - I sometimes think he considered my characters ("Bullet Time") role models, or even considered myself as a role model.

Quote :
could you please explain it to other disabled - autistic - people? even if they still do feel depressed about it?
I'm not entirely sure what do you mean exactly. Explain what? Explain Adam's motives?

Quote :
do you really think - someone is ill / disturbed or maybe just wrong diagnosed by head writers and other administrators guessing from connections - where there might have been (none / some / whatever / any / ve-tomatoes) ??

that really is somethin' I might never understand.
I'm sorry but I do not understand this question, especially the tomatoes part. Are you using an auto-translator perhaps?

If you were askign if Adam was mentally ill - I do think he was. I also think he was perfectly aware that he is ill and perfectly aware it is not asperger. He experienced delusions, wrote abotu it in a private message and he knew these are delusions.

About his diagnosis - I am sure the initial apserger diagnosis was wrong, or at least incomplete. We have little information available, but I think the Yale psychologists that his mother contacted were actually getting to the bottom of this and probably stumbled on his psychotic traits and perhaps migth ahve suggested a schizophrenia diagnosis. We know his mother pulled him out from that. I guess she was afraid of him getting a "serious" diagnosis and thus cut off contact with Yale. She was probably in denile about Adam.

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PostSubject: Re: Adam's cognitive abilities and empathy. Autism spectrum or not?   Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:31 pm

I'm not as well-informed about everything related to Adam Lanza - the Sandy Hook massacre really set off a lot of issues for me, so I've had a hard time reading things that aren't just about him and not referencing the events. Which is to say, I'm sure most people here know more about the entire thing than I do, at least in terms of event details, so apologies if I mess any of that up!

Having said that, I HAVE spent a lot of time discussing the autism/Asperger's area, and I have to say, almost everything that has been said in regards to Lanza and ASDs has been upsetting at the least, if not very offensive. For a bit of background here, I am autistic, high-functioning (yes, properly diagnosed, not self-diagnosed!). I have two children who are definitely on the spectrum, one of them being moderate to severe, and another who is probably mildly autistic. Every autistic person is as different in their own particular "personal brand" of autism, just as every NT person is individual in personal habits and quirks.

Autistic people, doesn't matter if it is Asperger or Kanner syndrom, have one thing in common, they create their own world with their own rules and their own rituals. They are frustrated and desperate if something or someone didn't follow this rules or rituals. wrote:

This is a pretty extreme generalization. Yes, as far as I know, my kids and I do all have our own rituals, and we do often experience varying levels of discomfort when faced with changing routines or anything that is an established preference. However, it is not true that we demand our own world with our own rules, and that we will become frustrated and desperate if others do not comply. Some autistic people will fit that description, absolutely. Those tend to be the people who have a more severe form of autism. A surprising number of us are able to modify our own behavior to at least some degree, in order to cope with changes, sensory issues, new things, etc., and many of us can understand that the world does not revolve around us, and that we do need to work to create compromise that we can all live with.

Imagine how my home would be, if we were not capable of that - how MANY homes would be, because it is not at all unusual for at least one parent to be diagnosed with some form of autism when they realize that their child is autistic! My children always amaze me, in how easily they can transition from one setting to another, or handle new things, just as I am always surprised by random things that are upsetting. I myself have had to learn to seriously modify my behavior and my coping skills, because we are not at all alike enough to all share the same routines and preferences. There are times when it's simple, and times when it is incredibly difficult, and yes, very frustrating. However, to say that EVERY autistic person is the same in the regard is simply untrue.

It is also untrue to assume that all autistic people have issues with intelligence. The number of autistic people who are intellectually disabled is lower than the number of us who are not. What we DO very often present with are learning disabilities, as well as communication and social problems, which have long been mistaken for lack of intelligence. My IQ is quite high, and from the writings of Adam Lanza that I have found (mostly from here - excellent detective skills!), I would say that he appears to be very intelligent. His social issues can certainly be a sign of autism, along with a lot of things, but he was also suffering from very severe mental illness, IMO. Hallucinations, homicidal impulses, pedophilia (I only got so far into that before I couldn't handle it, so I can't recall all of it)... Those things are not part of autism.

My guess, so far, is that he was suffering from an extreme antisocial personality disorder, very likely schizophrenia, paranoid delusions, and who knows what else. To suggest that Asperger's/autism was the root of his issues does a terrible disservice to the autism community, and to the general public in helping people to understand it. I cannot begin to imagine what his mother was thinking; while I can certainly understand denial, I can't imagine what kind of thought process led her to pair this young man with hobbies centered around guns, or any kind of potential dangers of the sort. I feel badly for her as a mother dealing with a difficult child, and as someone who did not deserve to be harmed or killed, but I have a very hard time remaining sympathetic when we reach the issue of using guns to bond with Adam, readily supplying him with everything that he needed to slaughter a mass of innocent people, mostly small children, and encouraging an enthusiasm for guns. She was well aware that he had severe mental health issues, yet she still did all of that, and enabled him to do what he did. THAT is what I personally cannot comprehend.

I apologize for rambling. TL;DR: Autism is far more complex than what most people imagine, and to generalize it and to suggest it as a major cause in this case does a terrible disservice to all who are affected.
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