Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cho Seung-Hui Diagnosed With Autism As A Child

AutismLink Reacts to Diagnosis of Autism in Virginia Tech Shooter

PITTSBURGH, April 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AutismLink and Autism
Center of Pittsburgh Director Cindy Waeltermann today issued a statement
regarding the recent revelation that Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui
was diagnosed with autism as a child.
"While the entire autism community in Pittsburgh and across the nation
are devastated by the recent events at Virginia Tech, we would like to
caution the public not to stigmatize children or individuals with autism.
Cho likely did not receive the help and support that he needed early on --
that is why early intervention is so important, and that is why places like
the Autism Center of Pittsburgh exist. The act of one individual should not
reflect upon the entire autistic population.
It is unfair to blame Cho's actions on autism when he was clearly
psychologically impaired and likely had another disorder in addition to his
autism. His psychological evaluations apparently revealed a dark history
that concluded that he was an imminent danger to himself and others and was
also depressed.
This is a wake up call that stresses the importance of early
intervention, research, and appropriate treatment strategies. Many strides
have been made in autism spectrum disorders and research has consistently
shown that when children receive the help that they need early on they are
more likely to become more adept at social and communication skills.
Autism affects 1 in 150 children and is now the most commonly diagnosed
developmental disability in the world. It is time to recognize autism for
the epidemic it is."


Cho's great-aunt, Kim Yang-soon, said Cho was diagnosed with autism after coming to U.S. in 1992. Speaking from her home in South Korea, she described Cho as "very cold" and said her niece was constantly worried about him.

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