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AAPD Condemns Media Coverage Linking Autism to Violence

Washington, DC- Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. During this national time of grief, it is important that there be full media coverage, to help the nation understand the gravity of what has occurred.                                                     

AAPD is disappointed in media coverage linking the disability community with the horrors in Newtown. Inaccurately portraying people with disabilities as violent only perpetuates the discrimination against our community.

Specifically, there have been unconfirmed reports that the killer may be autistic. However, violence is not a symptom of autism. By linking autistic Americans to the horrors of Newtown, the media contributes to an unsafe society for people with disabilities. Research and statistics show, time and again, that people with disabilities are more often victims of bullying and violence, than the perpetuators of violence. If these facts are made clear, millions of Americans with disabilities may be spared from unwarranted stigma and prejudice.

We ask that the media please use this platform to inform people about the discrimination people with disabilities face on a daily basis, without spreading misinformation that causes unjust harm to our community.

Thank you for your understanding during this national time of mourning.

The American Association of People with Disabilities:

Promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living and political participation for people with disabilities.

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