Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A new perspective on Amanda Knox?

Amanda Knox has been all over the news in the past few days since she was acquitted on murder charges in Italy. I read an article yesterday that I couldn’t stop thinking about. Written several months ago and prior to all of the latest breaking news in her case, the author ponders the possibility that Amanda might have Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism.

The author of the article takes you through the journey of some of Amanda’s less socially appropriate behavior and analyzes it with the filter of Aspergers. Some of the points made are compelling, but obviously it is not possible to draw a conclusion since she has not been professionally evaluated for such a diagnosis.
Now, I’m not here to discuss her guilt or innocence, so please don’t start yelling at your computer screen or angrily typing in the comments.
What got to me about the article were the questions raised in my mind about what Aspergers can look like for a teenager or young adult, especially one who is involved in or near a criminal act.
To be honest, the thought of how easily a high-functioning kid on the spectrum could get themselves into major, big time trouble with the law puts a nauseating knot in my stomach. There is always a scary and ever present potential for my boys and those like them to get into big trouble by complete accident, mistake, or misunderstanding.
You may recall about a month ago I shared the story of a young boy with autism who was handcuffed following a meltdown he had on a bus. Some of you reacted very strongly after reading that post.
Even now, with some things that have happened with my boys at school, I can see how easily something minor can escalate quickly. Trying to get to the core truth of an incident is like pulling teeth, and nothing is ever absolute because of the communication and processing difficulties they have in sharing pertinent information. Question marks always remain after conversations like that. I shudder to think about this in the context of a police interrogation. Dear God, I pray that we never have to experience that.
Agree or disagree with the conjecture about Amanda Knox, this article reaffirmed to me that there will always be lots of work to do to help prepare my children for a successful adulthood.
I encourage you to read the article and then comment below.     

15 comments:

Cari said...

I'm going to be honest and tell you up front, that I didn't click on the article. I'll have to go back later...on my way out the door.

Now, yes, are we ever prepared enough, are they? I think with my guy being 4, almost 5, that I have faced some of the biggest hurdles and it's just going to get easier.

Then it creeps into my mind, oh my gosh, Kindergarten, less supports in place, have I done enough, is he ready? I guess any parent, typical or not would say the same.

I think if anything, this is a red flag for people out there, Autism is on the rise; rapidly. We can't ignore it.

Great post, Angela...as always:)

krismac said...

I feel like I see ASD in almost everyone these days (as I stare at my NT 6 yr old who is tip-toeing across the room) so I'd rather stay away from specifics about Amanda Knox.

Extracting information from our kids has also been on my mind a lot, I've been trying to get to the bottom of a specific issue for my son. When he is anxious, it is impossible for him to express his thoughts, and I think he gets so upset, he can't determine what the truth is. Then I end up giving him leading questions and he adopts those as truth, even if they conflict.

My heart aches for any person with ASD who is subject to an interrogation, and agree -- we have A LOT of work to do as a society to prepare our kids. thanks for writing this, it was great!

Lizbeth said...

I don't know, I just don't know. I can see it but to be honest I've not followed the case that closely. I do know how things can go from mole hill to mountain status in a blink of an eye though.

Anonymous said...

As the mother of a son on the spectrum, I googled Amanda Knox and autism after reading a series of articles that highlight her odd behavior, because I wondered if anyone else thought she might be autistic. It would explain a lot if she was on the spectrum.

Caffeinated Autism Mom said...

Thanks to everyone who commented! The article and topic certainly does make you mull it around in your mind a bit, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea, however my question is if the stepfather (and by extension presumably her parents) knew that she had absolutely NO "street smarts" why did they allow her to go to another country where it would be difficult to help her if she needed it?! I went to college with a girl who was high functioning Asperger's, yet her parents would not report it to the school, so the school was unable to give her extra support services. I understand wanting to give her a chance to not be "labeled", but it really was not in her favor. This girl also had zero "street smarts" and was heavily lacking in the life skills department (teaching her how to wash a dish/ plastic melts in the microwave/don't throw towels on the stove when things catch fire/etc). Her parents were only a few hours away, yet there were plenty of times where had we (her randomly assigned roommates) not stepped in she would have been in trouble (not understanding rules, etc). So I could only imagine what would have happened had she been allowed to go to another country alone.

Heidi S, in MD

Scott said...

In Amanda Knox's appeal statement for a second trial she makes reference to the fact that she has difficulty expressing herself verbally.

"...I'm not gifted in speaking. I often don't succeed in expressing my convictions, at least verbally, in the moment. In fact, among my friends, I'm the weakest at this..."

I assume this was translated from Italian.

http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/AmandaStatement.html

She does seem to be very gifted at written communication, and languages.

Scott in NC

Anonymous said...

I am reading a book about Amanda Knox. I knew very little about her. If the author is correct about the behavior of Amanda prior to the crime and afterwards, I would not be surprised if she was professionally diagnosed with AS. The descriptions of her odd reactions or lack of emotion in some areas reminds me of my sister-in-law and her first born daughter. Both have AS. I am not diagnosing Amanda but merely amazed at the similarities.

carlofab said...

The problem is assuming things said about Amanda are true. Nini Burleigh checked the police interrogation records and found that immediately after the murder none of the British girls had anything bad to say about Amanda. None spoke of ill feelings between Amanda and Meredith. They reconsidered a month later, after Amanda was charged with murder and tabloids ran headlines quoting Mignini's theory that Amanda was a sex-crazed Lucerfina. Faced with this storm of sensational headlines and public outrage, the British girls scrambled to distance themselves from the girl who once accompanied them to bars and restaurants. They never really liked her, they now assure everyone. And Meredith didn't like her either. Keep in mind these British girls only knew each other, and Meredith, and Amanda, a few weeks. They all met for the first time in Perugia. That is hardly enough time to pass judgement -- especially when it differs so profoundly from her peers who grew up with Amanda in Seattle. To take the slander of silly schoolgirls as fact and proceed to "analyze" the root of Amanda's problems is ludicrous. She was by all knowledgable accounts a kind and good spirited person.

Anonymous said...

Carlofab, you are absolutely correct. None of the British girls had anything nasty to say about Amanda until AFTER her arrest.

I have often wondered if Amanda has PDD-NOS. She has always reminded me of a very close relative (I'll refer to as D), who will be 20 in a few months, and who was diagnosed with PDD-NOS in 5th grade. They are amazingly similar: both are beautiful young women, both are very intelligent ( D has an IQ of 135), both have a highly developed sense of defending what they see as "right", both have unusual or "odd" reactions to stress and don't always present themselves in a socially acceptable way. D also has very little sense of "style" when it comes to clothes, like Amanda. D wears what is comfortable, not for how it look or if it's "in style". D comes across as "quirky" like Amanda. But, D is also kind, loyal to her friends, not violent in any way, and would never intentionally hurt anyone, either emotionally or physically. Her somtimes "clueless" remarks may hurt someone's feelings, but it's never done maliciously or on purpose.
I believe that it's more likely than not that Amanda Knox does have undiagnosed mild autism.

Daina Krumins said...

As an adult aspie woman, 67 years old, I know all about this kind of trouble.

In high school I remember there was a teacher, or maybe more than one, who perceived me as a walking bundle of "wrongness".

He would stop me in the hall and angrily ask, "Where are you going?"

I would say something like, "I'm going from my English class to my algebra class".

You would think this would satisfy him, but it made him more angry. He was looking for something to justify his perception of me, and felt cheated that I had not provided it.

It's just the way it is for aspie women.

Perhaps I was lucky that I learned, the hard way, not to trust most people because there was something about me that disturbed them. Amanda Knox was protected, which was good in a way, but apparently also not good.

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