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
Placer County News HeadlinesLake Tahoe Marathon Returns September 14thArguably the most beautiful marathon in the world, the Lake Tahoe Marathon returns to Lake Tahoe on Sunday September 14, 2014. Since its inception in 1995, the Lake Tahoe Marathon has evolved into a premier running event
3 Month Old Dies in Sacramento, Parents JailedAshleigh Smith and the 19-year-old father, Terry Scott, were interviewed, they were both booked that night into the Sacramento County Jail on felony child abuse/neglect charges.
Dropping Gas Prices Lift Summer DriversLocal gas prices continue to drop and bring relief to drivers across California and the nation.
Inter-Faith Task Force Seeks New MembersThe Roseville Police Department is hosting an Inter-Faith Task Force comprised of congregational leaders and security teams for churches and other
Lake Tahoe Basin Community Plan Environmental ReviewWith the release of the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Environmental Impact Statement/Report, the ongoing update to the complex Tahoe Basin Community Plan continues to make progress
Preventive Autism Treatment Focus of Research AwardsResearch could affect nearly one in every four cases of autism among children in the U.S.
Simple Changes Helping California Small Businesses and EntrepreneursIt's not easy doing business in California. In order to be successful, business owners must overcome many challenges, one of which is dealing with California's complicated tax system
Hyundai scores with Santa Fe SUVsOne of Hyundai's more impressive vehicles is the 2014 Santa Fe, a sport utility vehicle that has three rows and seats seven. It replaced the 2012 Veracruz in the Hyundai lineup.
Adoption Involving Fetal Alcohol SyndromeLaura Bloch adored his picture. "My husband and I had just been approved through an adoption agency and the agency sent out a letter with a picture of a child on it,"
Placer County Wines Honored with 52 AwardsPlacer County Wine Trail wines have delighted judges' taste buds again at this year's California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
Border Crisis and Illegal Immigration in the United StatesCongressman McClintock recently delivered the following remarks on the House floor regarding the United States Border Crisis.
Influences of Cognitive Abilities in Old Age StudyEarly life experiences, such as childhood socioeconomic status and literacy, may have greater influence on the risk of cognitive impairment late in life than such demographic characteristics