I have written this because of my own experience:

People often say that a child cannot have autism because they “do not look like they have autism”. I think if I hear it one more time I would have to scream. Please, for the love of God tell me what you THINK autism looks like because obviously somewhere along the lines professionals must have misdiagnosed my children.

Guess what….here is a news flash for some people….

Autism can look (and behave) differently. Because if you have met one child with autism, you have met ONE child with autism. You have not met them all.

I have three children with Autism. Yes three. And they are all different. The psychologist even said to me “You have it hard. You have three children with autism. Three different routines and rituals that must be adhered to. 3 different meltdown triggers. And they all have to be treated differently”.

My children are low functioning, moderately functioning and high functioning. But at the end of the day they are all on the Autism Spectrum. Regardless of what people think, and regardless of what people have “seen before” with children that have autism. The label of autism does NOT take away a child’s individuality. It does not mean that because they are autistic they have to behave in a certain way because of this label. They are still different…..just like all other children.

When someone tells you their child has autism and you do not think they fit the bill do not say “no they cannot have autism”….because at the end of the day a child is not going to fit into a perfect mold of what you think they should be like.

This is one place where neurotypical children and autistic children are very much alike. They are ALL different and unique so you cannot pigeonhole them.

As for a child looking like they are autistic? Ummmm autism does not have physical manifestations like downs syndrome and cerebal palsy to show the condition. Often a child (and adult for that matter) can look like anyone on the street. It is a neurological condition. Would you like me to tell you that you cannot possibly be human because most humans I see have blue eyes and yours are brown? or because your teeth are crooked? No, because physical characteristics do not define humanity and neither does physical characteristics define autism.

Ever since my middle daughter was diagnosed with autism I have heard the line “*** cant be autistic because they are not like ***” (insert names). And it hurts because it makes me feel like I have to live my life to justify strangers as to why my child behaves differently. I get told they are just naughty and need a kick up the bum. Or that I need to be a better parent. All because they do not fit the common perception of autism. Or they do not look like they are autistic.

I am sorry my children do not fit certain expectations for Autism but at the end of the day I am NOT a bad parent and they do not “just need a spank”. I do the best I can with what I am given, and my days are far from easy. I do therapy on a daily basis and travel weekly for an hour or more to access the therapists so I can be taught more therapy to help my children. I pay for my son to see a therapist because he has reached that magical age (8) where he is no longer considered as needing early intervention (and being freshly diagnosed I never got funding for him).

So when I hear “they cant have autism because they do not look/act like they have” and the “they just need a spank and better parenting”…it hurts a lot

Posted by clarebear1983, 2nd August 2013

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  • Oh my god, so many afflictions can’t be seen, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. People can be so ignorant


  • How terribly sad and wrong this is. Sounds like to me you are doing an amazing job.


  • Good for you for speaking out about it, you must have it very hard at home at times, and of course I bet all 3 are also very rewarding. Good for you, you are a super Mum.


  • That must be so frustrating for you. Thanks for sharing this post.


  • I have an aspergers husband, a son with diagnosed autism, a daughter undiagnosed aspergers, and another daughter with undiagnosed autism. Also 4 NT kids. My miss 17 was last year at 16, knocked back for a diagnoses of aspergers through our local health organisation because she could make eye contact with the assessment team. At the time she was quite proud that she had fooled them, well 2 out of 3. Her comment afterwards,”how stupid do they think I am, that I haven’t worked hard not to be rude and look at people when they’re talking to me?” They follow the same assessment criteria for a 16 as they do a 3 yr old. It’s ridiculous that even our health professionals can’t be bothered with her because well she’s got this far… Needless to say, I haven’t bothered getting diagnoses for my little one yet. We just take what she gives and help her to receive what we give to her. P.S God help the next person who comments on my children the next time I have them all out together, I’m sick of it. Some people are downright rude.


  • It absolutely sickens and saddens me that in this day and age when there is so much information out there, that people still have this mentality! Sadly it’s often mothers who judge eachother, when they should understand better than anyone. Children with autism are just like any other but they do require a little extra understanding. Pat on the back to you hun, you are doing such an amazing job. Let them walk a mile in your shoes and I’m pretty sure their outlook would change quick smart. We are starting the process of having our youngest son assessed and this is exactly what I fear. Not the diagnosis itself or the daily struggles but that my beautiful little man will be constantly judged and looked down on. People can be so rude and unthoughtful. I bet you are doing the best you can and constantly trying to be a better parent, that makes you a pretty amazing parent :)


  • My 8yo has combined type adhd, ocd and odd. I get sick of people judging me when we are out and she is having a meltdown. I have been called a bad parent and told to give her a hiding to teach her a lesson. I always say to peole Dont judge unless you know.


  • Well said! That is so very true, sharing the same “condition” doesn’t mean sharing the same personalities, people are just too quick to talk about things they don’t really understand sometimes.


  • The more I read about this Autism Spectrum, the more I admire the parents. Hats off to you all!


  • This is the very reason there is an autism “spectrum”….each person is shows autistic tendencies in various degrees and ways. They are not all similar and from my limited understanding, some children can have other difficulties like sensory processing. It is sad that society has such high expectations of all children, let alone those with learning and social difficulties, that even minor misbehaviour or the like is completely not tolerated and met with judgemental remarks.

    Your story is a perfect example of why parents need to help and support each other, not offer negative advice or judgement. A friendly mine has an autistic child and I admire her parenting skills!


  • people can be so rude and narrow minded. Don’t let narrow minded people get you down


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