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The Truth About Elliot Rodger: Case Study of a Misogynist

Authors of the earliest known review of the link between Asperger's and violence concluded that no such connection exists. In a more recent review, the determination was that the link is inconclusive and is supported by only 11 of 147 studies on Asperger's and violence when the strictest inclusion criteria are used. Rodger was clearly a sociopath, which has nothing to do with Asperger's.


•    Anonymous said… Elliot Rodger, a high functioning aspie went on a shooting spree in CA. He was angry at being rejected by other college students and girls. He was angry at his only friend ending their friendship and not knowing why. His story at it's core sounds like so many aspies that I've read about, and myself as well. I after reading about him, I felt like it was important to say to all the angry aspies out there YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are different from NTs, you are different from a lot of people, and you are not always going to be understood, but there are others like you out there! It's hard to believe, your aspie symptoms tend to cause you to have trouble picking up on others emotions, so it often feels like there is no one out there that cares, but there are. Check the websites, go to the chat boards, find friends among the aspies that understand what you are going through and are going to accept you. Learn to understand what you are so that you can better relate to the NTs out there. I was angry and lonely. I read his story and have to wonder about what kept me or others from being like him. I found this site, and discovered there were others like me, and it gave me hope. I get wordy in most of my posts. I have the tendency to repeat myself, one of my defining aspie traits. If you get nothing else out of this, just remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
•    Anonymous said… He was never diagnosed! So he was not an Aspie!! He was a psychopath!!! Aspies are not violent people, but kind and caring!
•    Anonymous said… He was diagnosed according to an article I read. And not all aspie are kind and caring. Some are lonely and angry with no idea how to cope and not enough empathy to know what they do is harmful. My empathy is almost non-existent and sometimes I come across like a sociopath because of it. I've been hurt and angry, rejected and alone. I've lashed out. I've also cared and loved and after lots of work feel like I've started to get things working right. There is as many different types of aspies as there are nt's. Isn't it the responsibility of those who have got things worked out to help those who don't? To provide understanding to those who have never had it before? If someone had for him maybe things would have been different.
•    Anonymous said… Only a sick minded psycho will kill people with great planning!
•    Anonymous said… Official diagnosis or not isn't the point. Reading his story online about what lead to his actions was reminiscent of so many stories I've read of aspies as well as my life experiences. One of the key things in so many stories that aspies have is feelings of being different and isolated. Who knows what pushed him over the edge, but for those who feel isolated and alone, I think those of us who feel the same can reach out and offer our friendship. That's what is important about sites like this.
•    Anonymous said… It goes beyond Autism. He was mentally ill. Autism isn't a mental illness. Putting it incorrectly out there only perpetuates the wrong beliefs about those on the spectrum and will create undeserved hostility and discrimination against them.
•    Anonymous said… I hate that this even needs to be said.
•    Anonymous said… wasn't the autism that did this...his mental illness and maybe the medications he on was need to be looked at. Also the media needs to cut down on the sexual innuendos that go have sex quick otherwise you are nothing.
•    Anonymous said… Sad all the way around. No body should be pointing fingers unless there 120% sure. This could be devestating for our youngsters who struggle to put themselves in society. With this they could be "shunned" so to speak.
•    Anonymous said… He was mentally ill, they all knew it. They Refused to do anything to help him.
•    Anonymous said… that's why as a parent of a child with asd you spend all your time helping them, not denying or ignoring the problem! That being said, the people cited in the study, like this guy, or Adam Lanza et al, dont ever forget that these people were, in a word, nutcases. Maybe with autism, but nutjobs, nonetheless, and no one did anything to help them or at least try to stop the process. If you have a mentally unstable teen at home it would seem intuitively ridiculous to keep a gun collection, for example. Don't label the vast majority of truly innocent lovely autistic people just because they are socially awkward.
•    Anonymous said… Good piece. It saddens me that his Autism is even being considered in this case. Violence in those on the ASD scale is certainly reactive and rarely, if ever, premeditated. I believe his coexisting mental illness to be more of a factor than his Autism, but ultimately his thought out, premeditated act was a choice.
•    Anonymous said… I read Roger's 141 page manifesto.  Rodger suffered from Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, which limited is ability to communicate and socialize with men and women.  He is text book autistic.  Aspies have an issue with empathy, but the big difference with Rodger is that Aspies HAVE empathy, they can't show it.  So Rodger is also a sociopath.  

*  Anonymous said... The kid from Connecticut had Aspergers but also some other diagnosis. My son has Aspergers and is one of the sweetest boys ever. I could see him in the face of Adam but there was also something very off about him that wasn't just mildly autistic.
*  Anonymous said... If you have the presence of mind to blame your mental condition, you have the presence of mind to control yourself. I have OCD and anxiety and depression - and I have to control my urges each every day. My husband has Aspergers and depression and ADD - and he has to control his urges every day. Blaming your mental conditions is NOT OKAY. If you comment violence, it's because YOU CHOSE TO, not because your mental condition MADE you do anything. SHAME on anyone who says otherwise.
*   Anonymous said... The diagnostic criteria for spectum disorders, especially in the most recent DSM, is a little on the dicy side. There is now a great deal of overlap between diagnoses, and of course Asperger's isn't even in there anymore. I think it is potentially dangerous to assume that all aspies aren't violent. There is as much variablity between aspies as there is between NTs. I've noticed in my son that he is extremely sweet and kind, and can also be violent, not because he is trying to hurt someone, but because he doesn't know what he's doing is wrong, hurtful, or annoying. These things that come naturally to NTs have to be carefully taught to aspies. One of the phenomenon I've discovered in reading is how many adults have been diagnosed with Asperger's later in life. I have to wonder if that early behavior I'm working on with my son could potentially be carried on with adults who have never been diagnosed. We'll never know about Rodger or Lanza, if they were aspies, sociopaths, schizophrenics or what. However, if there are aspies who don't understand the impact of their actions on others due to a lack of empathy, and in return don't understand the reactions of others, it is important for mental health professionals, medical professionals, and those of us with conditions like asperger's to keep an eye out and help if we can to prevent these types of tragedies. Aspies in particular are in a unique position to help. One of the key traits to our condition is a lack of detriment to mental function. We can communicate. We can share our experiences, ideas, and coping mechanisms, and provide help to others who are struggling through Asperger's.

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Appropriate Placement and Programming for Children on the Autism Spectrum

"What are the important factors for parents to consider when looking for suitable therapeutic programming for their child on the autism spectrum?"

Authorities who decide on entitlement to services are usually unaware of the extent of the challenges faced by children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). Many of these young people are placed in educational settings for kids with conduct disorders, thus allowing for the worst mismatch possible (i.e., boys and girls with a very naive understanding of social situations in a mix with those who can - and do - manipulate social situations to their advantage).

Although young people with Asperger’s and HFA often present with disruptive behaviors in social settings, these behaviors are often a result of their narrow, concrete understanding of social situations, and the confusion they experience when trying to meet the demands of interpersonal life. Thus, the social problems exhibited by these children should be addressed in the context of a comprehensive intervention needed to address their social deficits – as a curriculum need, rather than willful behaviors deserving reprimands that in fact mean very little to them, and only further damage their already poor self-esteem.

Problematic situations for children with Asperger’s and HFA include unstructured social situations (especially with same-age peers) and unique situations requiring social problem-solving skills. Thus, any evaluation intended to determine the need for special services should include detailed interviews with parents and therapists knowledgeable of the youngster in naturalistic settings (e.g., home and school), and direct observations of the youngster in unstructured settings (e.g., recess, lunch).

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

Parents of children on the autism spectrum should become well acquainted with the following factors involved in securing appropriate placement and programming for their “special needs” child:

1. Knowledge of “model” programs: Moms and dads should make an effort to locate programs (public or private) that are thought to provide high quality services according to local experts, parent support organizations, or other parents. Regardless of whether or not they would like for their youngster to be placed in that program, a visit to it will provide parents with a model and criteria with which to judge the appropriateness of the local program offered to them.

2. Knowledge of the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process: Moms and dads need to become acquainted with the PPT process so they can become effective advocates for their youngster. They should be counseled by clinicians, parent advocates, or legal aides as to their rights as parents, and as to the alternatives available to them. The most effective approach is to secure independent evaluations and to present the case for appropriate programming based on evaluation findings and recommendations.

Across the country, a number of service providers are making a special attempt to better acquaint themselves with the special needs of kids with “social learning” challenges, to train themselves and their staff, and to creatively establish better individualized programs. Nonetheless, if parents do not get the support they need, they should seek the advice of other moms and dads, parent advocates, and if necessary, resort to the services of lawyers experienced in the area of challenges associated with autism spectrum disorders.

3. The range of services available in their school district: Both mother and father should make an attempt to visit the various suggested educational placements and service providers available in their school districts so they can obtain first-hand knowledge about them (e.g., physical setting, staffing, adult-student ratio, range of special services, etc.).

Below are program specifications to bear in mind when deciding on appropriate placements and programs for children with Asperger’s and HFA. They may not be applicable to every child, nor are they practicable in some parts of the country; nonetheless, they can be seen as ideal conditions to consider when dealing with program specifications:

1. There needs to be a concern for the acquisition of real-life skills in addition to the academic goals, making use of creative initiatives and the child’s interests and talents. For instance, given the fact that young people on the autism spectrum often excel in certain activities, social situations can be constructed to give them the opportunity to take the leadership in the activity (e.g., explaining, demonstrating, or teaching others how to improve in the particular activity). Such scenarios are ideal to help these young people to: (a) follow coherent and less one-sided goal-directed behaviors and approaches; (b) follow conversation and social interaction rules; and (c) take the perspective of others.

2. There should be a willingness to adapt the curriculum content and requirements in order to flexibly provide opportunities for success, to nurture the acquisition of a more positive self-concept, and to foster an internalized investment in performance and progress. This may mean that the child with Asperger’s and HFA is provided with individual challenges in his or her areas of strengths, and with individualized programs in his or her areas of weakness.

3. Opportunities for social interaction and facilitation of social relationships in fairly structured and supervised activities should be provided.

4. A relatively small setting with ample opportunity for individual attention, individualized approach, and small work groups should be offered.

5. A communication specialist should be available. This professional should (a) have a special interest in pragmatics and social skills training, (b) be available for individual and small group work, and (c) make a communication and social skills training intervention an integral part of all activities (implemented at all times, consistently, and across staff members, settings, and situations). This specialist should also act as a resource to the other staff members.

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

6. A thoughtful counselor who can focus on the child’s emotional well-being and who can (a) serve as a coordinator of services, (b) monitor progress, (c) serve as a resource to other staff members, and (d) provide an effective and supportive liaison service with the family should be available.

Specific interventions should be implemented in a consistent and individualized manner (i.e., across settings, staff members, and situations). Also, the benefit of specific recommendations should be assessed in an empirical fashion (i.e., based on an evaluation of events observed, documented or charted) with helpful techniques being maintained and unhelpful ones discarded in order to promote a constant adjustment of the program to the specific needs of the child.

Below are some suggestions to be considered when discussing interventions:

1. Adaptive skills intended to increase the child’s self-sufficiency should be taught clearly with no assumption that general explanations will suffice, nor that the child will be able to generalize from one concrete situation to similar ones. Frequently occurring problems should be addressed by teaching the child verbally the exact sequence of appropriate actions that will result in an effective behavior. Rule-sequences for certain tasks should be taught verbally and repeatedly rehearsed with the help of the specialist and other adults involved in the child’s care. There should be constant coordination and communication between all those involved so that these routines are reinforced in the same way. Verbal instructions, rote planning and consistency are essential.

2. Generalization of learned techniques and social concepts should be instructed from the therapeutic setting to everyday life.

3. Self-evaluation should be encouraged. Awareness should be gained into which situations are easily managed, and which are potentially problematic. Self-evaluation should also be used to strengthen self-esteem and maximize situations in which success can be achieved. Kids with Asperger’s and HFA often have many cognitive strengths and interests that can be used to their advantage in specific situations and in planning for the future.

4. Skills, concepts, and appropriate procedures should be taught in an explicit and rote fashion using a parts-to-whole verbal teaching approach, where the verbal steps are in the correct sequence for the behavior to be effective.

5. Social awareness should be developed, focusing on the relevant aspects of given situations, and pointing out the irrelevancies contained therein. Discrepancies between the child’s perceptions regarding the situation in question and the perceptions of others should be made clear.

6. Specific problem-solving techniques should be taught for handling the challenges of frequently occurring problematic situations.

7. Teaching guidelines should be derived from the child’s neuropsychological profile of assets and deficits. Specific intervention techniques should be similar to those usually employed for many subtypes of learning deficits.

8. The ability to interpret visual information simultaneously with auditory information should be strengthened, because it is important not only to be able to interpret other people's nonverbal behavior correctly, but also to interpret what is being said in conjunction with these nonverbal cues.

9. The child should be instructed on how to identify a novel situation and to resort to a pre-planned, well-rehearsed list of steps to be taken. This list should involve a description of the situation, retrieval of pertinent knowledge, and step-by-step decision making.

10. Lastly, the link between specific frustrating or anxiety-provoking experiences and negative feelings should be taught to the child in a concrete, cause-effect fashion so that he or she is able to gradually gain some insight into his or her feelings. Also, the awareness of the impact of his or her actions on other people's feelings should be fostered in the same fashion.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Crucial Skills-Acquisition for Children with Asperger’s and HFA

"How can parents help their child on the spectrum to improve behavior and cope with sensory sensitivities/problems related to anxiety?"

Parents often know that their child on the autism spectrum needs to be taught certain skills to improve behavior, sensory sensitivities, anxiety-related issues, and so on ...but they may not know exactly what skill-set will work best in any given situation.

There is a specific set of skills that children with Asperger’s (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) need to be taught in order to insure their long-term success. The progression of skills-acquisition proceeds as follows:
  1. In the first stage of skills-acquisition, the AS or HFA child follows rules as given, without context, and with no sense of responsibility beyond following the rules exactly.
  2. In the second stage, competence (i.e., active decision making in choosing a course of action) develops, and the child acquires organizing principles to quickly access the particular rules that are relevant to the specific task at hand.
  3. In the third stage, the child develops intuition to guide his decisions and devise his own rules to formulate plans. 
  4. In the fourth and final stage, the child (a) has an intuitive grasp of situations based on a deep, tacit understanding, (b) has a vision of what is possible, (c) transcends reliance on rules, guidelines, and maxims, and (d) uses "analytical approaches" in novel situations or in solving problems.

The progression is thus from rigid adherence to rules to an intuitive mode of reasoning based on tacit knowledge. Below are the crucial skills that children on the autism spectrum so desperately need to be taught:

Social and Communication Skills—

Social and communication skills are best taught by a communication specialist with a focus on pragmatics in speech. Alternatively, social training groups may be used if there are enough opportunities for individual contact with the teacher and for the practicing of specific skills. Teaching may include:
  • Verbal decoding of nonverbal behaviors of others
  • Social awareness
  • Perspective-taking skills
  • Correct interpretation of ambiguous communications (e.g., nonliteral language) 
  • Processing of visual information simultaneously with auditory information
  • Understanding the appropriate social context of an interaction 
  • Appropriate nonverbal behavior (e.g., the use of gaze for social interaction, monitoring and patterning of inflection of voice)
  • Imitative drills (e.g., working with a mirror)

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management

Adaptive Functioning—

The acquisition of self-sufficiency skills in all areas of functioning should be a priority in any plan of intervention. The tendency of children with AS and HFA to rely on rigid rules and routines can be used to foster positive habits and enhance their quality of life and that of family members. The teaching approach should be practiced routinely in naturally occurring situations and across different settings in order to maximize generalization of acquired skills.

Maladaptive Behaviors—

Specific problem-solving techniques (usually following a verbal rule) may be taught for handling the requirements of frequently occurring, problematic situations (e.g., involving novelty, intense social demands, frustration, etc.). Training is usually necessary for recognizing situations as problematic and for selecting the best available learned strategy to use in such circumstances.


Concepts, appropriate procedures, cognitive techniques, etc., are more effectively taught in an explicit and rote fashion using a “parts-to-whole” verbal instruction approach, in which the verbal steps are in the correct sequence for the behavior to be effective. Additional guidelines should be derived from the child's neuropsychological profile of assets and deficits. Specific intervention techniques should be similar to those usually employed for learning disabilities, with an effort to thwart the identified difficulties by means of compensatory techniques (usually of a verbal nature).

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management

If significant motor and visual-motor deficits are discovered during the evaluation, the child should receive physical and occupational therapies. Occupational therapies should not only focus on traditional techniques designed to address motor deficits, but should also reflect an effort to integrate these activities with learning of visual-spatial concepts, visual-spatial orientation, and body awareness.


As children and teens with AS and HFA are usually self-described as loners (despite an often intense wish to make friends and have a more active social life), there is a need to facilitate social contact within the context of an activity-oriented group (e.g., church communities, hobby clubs, self-support groups, etc.). The little experience available with social groups suggests that these children and teens enjoy the opportunity to meet others with similar problems, and may develop relationships around an activity or subject of shared interest.

Vocational Training—

Oftentimes, older teens and young adults with AS and HFA may fail to meet entry requirements for jobs in their area of training (e.g., college degree) or fail to maintain a job because of their poor interview skills, social disabilities, eccentricities, or panic attacks. Having failed to secure skilled employment, these young people may be helped by well-meaning friends or relatives to find a manual job. As a result of their typically poor visual-motor skills, they may once again fail, leading to devastating emotional consequences. Thus, it is important that these individuals are trained for - and placed in - jobs where they are not neuropsychologically impaired, and where they will enjoy a certain degree of support and shelter. Also, it is preferable that the job does not involve intensive social demands.

Once the skills listed above have been mastered, parents may find that their “special needs” child functions at such a “normal” level that his or her symptoms of Asperger’s or HFA go unnoticed by others (e.g., peers, teachers, etc.).

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content