Adam had Asperger’s syndrome, the parents told Paula Levy, the family therapist who was their divorce mediator, Levy said in an interview with the Associated Press. The parents were unified in their commitment to meet all of Adam’s needs, Levy said, and gave few details about his condition.
The generous settlement, said John Aldrich, a family law attorney in Connecticut, “could have been, they took into account that with a special-needs child, the mother was going to be more hands-on, require more money for her son. There is no magic percentage.”
The couple agreed to joint custody of Adam and of their partial set of Boston Red Sox season tickets. Nancy got the house and the rights to final decisions about Adam.
“They always stayed civil,” Marsha Lanza said. “They always stayed friends.”
Caring for Adam took time and patience, and educating him presented challenges.
Newtown school officials couldn’t be reached to comment on his schooling, but interviews in recent days with acquaintances and family members, as well as published reports, suggest that Adam bounced from public school, to a private Catholic school, to home schooling, to taking college courses at Western Connecticut State University, according to the Associated Press.
He was not close with his older brother, Ryan, who lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Ernst & Young.
“I know they were totally different kids,” Marsha said. “Just totally different kids. Oil and water. I mean, they didn’t obviously click. They tolerated each other because they were brothers.”
Father and son have been in seclusion since the shooting, and through an attorney issued a statement that read, in part, “Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. . . . We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why.”
The Champion family also issued a statement to “express our heartfelt sorrow for the incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence.”
At some point while he was in high school, Adam joined a technology club, a move Nancy apparently supported.
Gloria Milas, whose son Joshua was in the club, said the teens would sit around and link to each other by computer and play games — called LAN parties, for local area network — with each player on a computer. She said that contrary to published reports, the games were not violent. She likened them to Mario Bros. games.
“They were always laughing,” she said. “When this all came out, I asked my son, I begged him, ‘Were you playing games that were violent?’ He said no.”