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