Special needs advocates warn against linking Autism, Asperger's and Connecticut shooting

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) - People who work with children with special needs fear that they will be connected with the violence in Connecticut after it came out the shooter might have Asperger's Syndrome.

"These kids are so far from the kind of person that would commit such and act," said Bassie Shemtov.

Bassie Shemtov and her husband started Friendship Circle 18 years ago.  The non-profit in West Bloomfield works with children on the autism spectrum.   

"Our kids are so non-judgmental and so full of unconditional love," she says.

When it came out that the shooter in the Newtown school shooting may have Asperger's Syndrome Shemtov worried it would label all children with the special need as violent.

"It wouldn't even make any sense to put it on that it's because of Asperger's," said Shemtov.

Children with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, have a difficulty with social interaction and should not be confused with someone who has a mental illness.

"To have them accepted into society and into school what a million steps back that could possibly take it because people don't understand it," said Jackie Reale and ABA tutor.  Reale has tutored children on the autism spectrum for the past 14 years.

"My first thought went to all my kids that have worked so, so hard. And are nothing like that," said Reale.

She said the kids she works with have a tough time expressing themselves.

"Obviously our kids have a tendency to have some quirks and do have some differences," said Reale.

Both women said that people who do not understand kids with autism and Asperger's Syndrome might pick on them and isolate them.

"Our goal is to include them into society, into our community.  They're far from the kinds of kids that we would be afraid of," said Shemtov.

To learn more about Friendship Circle, please visit their website .

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