The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

February 17, 2013

Raising Adam Lanza

Shortly after her move from New Hampshire to Newtown, Conn., in 1998, Nancy Lanza had good news about her troubled son.

“Adam is doing well here, and seems to be enjoying the new school,” Lanza wrote to a friend back in Kingston, N.H., in a Feb. 9, 1999, email.

But Adam, 6, then diagnosed with a condition that made it difficult for him to manage and respond to sights, touch and smell, eventually struggled in the first grade at his new school - Sandy Hook Elementary.

His mother would respond, touching off a 10-year educational shuffle with moves in and out of schools and programs that addressed his sensory integration disorder and another diagnosis that would come by middle school: Asperger’s syndrome.

Adam would attend public school, take lessons at home, try private school for a couple of months, return to public school and attend Newtown High School, although he left after his sophomore year. He went to college at 16 and earned A’s and B’s - but it didn’t last. He was out in a year. He then went to a community college, and dropped out in the first semester.

A series of significant life changes followed for Adam as the number of people with whom he had contact began to shrink.

His parents divorced. He abruptly cut off contact with his father, Peter, in 2010, and grew estranged from his older brother. He spent more time alone at home. His mother, who loved to travel, told friends she was grooming him to be independent someday. There were even plans to leave New England - their lifelong home - so Adam could study history and possibly earn a college degree.

But mother and son never left. Adam, now 20, had a plan of his own. He returned to Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

There he would join the lexicon of suicidal mass killers, leaving many to ponder the question of what led a 20-year-old to commit the second-deadliest school shooting in American history. A final police report has yet to be released.

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