Newspaper Editor has Asperger's Syndrome
Cynthia Parkhill works as an editor of the Lake County (Calif.) Record Bee, which publishes this column, and also blogs about Asperger's syndrome and disability in general. Parkhill has Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism.
Said 44-year-old Parkhill, "One issue I look at (on my blog at cynthiaparkhill.blogspot.com) is how people with autism often are covered in the media. One disturbing thing I saw in media relating to the tragic Connecticut school shootings was the linking of autism with violence. It wasn't accurate. It puts us (people on the autism spectrum) in a position of having to confront unfair stereotypes."
Parkhill was referring to Adam Lanza having Asperger's syndrome. The National Institutes of Health states people with Asperger's exhibit "social impairment, communication difficulties, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior." A person with Asperger's often has trouble maintaining eye contact, back and forth communication, and relationships.
Parkhill said, "My main concerns (regarding the Connecticut shootings) were references to autism in two print publications. The Washington Post wrote that a (Lanza) family member had told investigators the shooter had a form of autism, which was attributed to an unnamed law enforcement official. Another print source cited an unnamed law enforcement official as saying Lanza had 'suffered' from Asperger's. I was concerned anonymous sources were being permitted to diagnose Lanza with autism. (When seeing it) I proactively posted on social media about the absence of a link (between autism and violence) and how people with disabilities were more likely to be victims of violence rather than the people doing violence."
Parkhill especially objected to reporters saying Lanza had "suffered" from Asperger's. "I don't feel I suffer from Asperger's," said Parkhill. "It is part of who I am. There are strengths and weaknesses (to having it). I celebrate the strengths and try overcoming the weaknesses, just as anyone would. As a person on the autism spectrum, and as a professional journalist, I try writing my portrayals (about people with disabilities) as accurately and respectfully as possible."
She said Asperger's had given her a degree of creativity and spatial awareness that helps her excel as an editor in laying out newspaper text blocks and photos.
Parkhill said, "It may be a cliché, but it's true. If you have met one person with Asperger's syndrome, you have met one person. We are all different. We are individuals."
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesRoseville Hosting Chicks with Sticks Lacrosse TournamentSwashbuckler Lacrosse is breaking new ground with their upcoming Chicks with Sticks Lacrosse Tournament on July 11-12
John Adams Academy Finalizes Purchase of Campus in RosevilleRoseville, CA - Officials from John Adams Academy (JAA) charter school in Roseville announced today they have finalized the purchase of the former Heald College building
Placer County Foster Children in Need of Mentor VolunteersChild Advocates of Placer County is currently in need of 30 new volunteers to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) or Mentors
50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Lady with a FanWe're like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice." ~ Jerry Garcia
Dots and dashes changed Zachary Barnum's lifeThis 17-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who is legally blind in one eye due to optic nerve hypoplasia and has a form of bipolar disorder (ATOU Cares.org)
Dry Lightning Boosts Northern California Fire RiskDrought Watch: CAL FIRE has increased staffing due to forecasted dry lightning and strong winds throughout much of northern California
California Senate Committee Kills Sex Offender Bill SB54Senator Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) announced her legislation to make sex-offender residency restrictions more workable
Fireworks Safety Tips this Fourth of JulyWith the Independence Day holiday rapidly approaching, CAL FIRE is reminding all Californians and visitors to do their part to prevent fires caused by illegal fireworks
California Lowers Excise Tax Rate on GasState Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner announced that California's excise tax on gasoline will decrease by six cents per gallon
Placer County Water Agency UpdatesAUBURN, Calif. - Recessing from their June 25, 2015 Board meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors
Attempts to change Proposition 13 are misguidedThere's been no shortage of attempts in recent years in the State Legislature to overhaul Proposition 13-California's landmark initiative protecting homeowners and small business owners
50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Truckin' at Levi's StadiumTruckin' opens the Fare Thee Well Run in Santa Clara, CA at Levi's Stadium on June 27, 2015. Full setlist.
NEWS: In Case You Missed It