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 HeadlinesPlacer County Honors Citizens with Commemorative CoinsThe Placer County Board of Supervisors honored Dr. Bryce Jessup of William Jessup University and volunteer extraordinaire Fuzzy Jarnagin of Loomis Tuesday, presenting them with
Rain or Shine: Mountain Mandarin Festival Is OnFree admission offered for Festival goers with orange umbrellas! Mountain Mandarin Festival Is On.
92% of Americans Traveling for ThanksgivingSurvey Says: 92% of Americans Traveling for Thanksgiving Plan to Drive; 71% Expect to Spend Less This Year
Thanksgiving Travel Advisory: Sacramento International AirportPassenger traffic is expected to rise this year for travelers going through Sacramento International Airport. A few tips to improve your travel experience
Rocklin Crime Report Update (11-20-14)Rocklin, CA - Rocklin California Crime Report Update for November 20, 2014.
65,000 Injuries a Year to U.S. FirefightersThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released the latest edition of its U.S. Firefighter Injury Report which highlights data on injuries sustained by firefighters on duty.
Grant Targets Impaired DriversThe California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently announced receiving a federal "Reducing Impaired Driving" grant, which will fund 150 sobriety checkpoints
KidsFirst Denim & Diamonds Appreciation EventCelebrating two weeks before the rest of the United States, KidsFirst, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Placer County, spent Thursday, November 13th in Thanksgiving mode
Placer County's Most Wanted: Johnnie Castro44 year old, Johnnie Castro, last known address of Roseville, CA, is currently being sought by authorities for Failure to register residence
Controlling Holiday Debt Before The HolidaysThe spending is fun and well intended. The debt can be dreadful.
The Effects of Climate Change on Placer CountyAuburn, CA - The Placer County League of Women Voters will be hosting Carole D'Elia, a member of the Little Hoover Commission. Carole will be presenting
Roseville Crime Report Update (11-19-14)The Roseville California Police Department's weekly crime report digest, November 19, 2014