Autism Nova Scotia responds to Preeper family quote on Asperger's

Published on July 18, 2014

Autism Nova Scotia issued a response July 18 to a family member's comments on Asperger's in connection to Dustan Preeper's murder convictions this week.   

Here's the association's letter:   

It has come to our attention that some newspapers have quoted the aunt of Dustan Preeper who suggested that he may have "Asperger's tendencies".  While there is no indication that Mr. Preeper has been assessed or diagnosed with ASD, this comment has been found to be hurtful and confusing for many individuals and families living with autism.  

Perhaps even more disappointing to Autism Nova Scotia is the media’s tendency to headline the label of Asperger’s as the main focus of what is seen by the community as a horrific crime, at a time when thoughts should be with the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.  

Sometimes people cling to negative stereotypes to justify or understand “bad behavior” but this is not reflective of a true understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Currently, it is estimated that 1 in 68 are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, and research indicates that individuals with this disorder are far more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators.  

Autism Nova Scotia advocates for the responsible representation of autism in the media. We stand for representing the strengths of children, youth, and adults on the Autism Spectrum, and clear and factual messages that do not inflate negative and unfounded stereotypes.  

Cynthia Carroll Executive Director