Autism as an Excuse?

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I was researching a topic for a piece I was writing about autism and special interests.

I typed into Google, “Using autism…” and stopped.  Fixations?  Obsessions?  What word should I search.

As I pondered, I brought my gaze from my ceiling to my screen and saw Google had done an autofill.

“Using autism as an excuse”

I became slightly indignant.

I pressed the search button.

And there was an entire page of unfriendly titles.

I looked at the bottom of the page and found the following searches were chosen for me based on this search:

Searches related to using autism as an excuse

  • autism or spoiled brat
  • autism vs bad behavior
  • autism is no excuse
  • difference between spoiled and autism
  • autistic kids are annoying
  • sick of hearing about autism
  • autism disrespectful behavior

 

Page 2 seemed to focus on parents.  Parents allowing their kids to behave badly and using autism as an excuse to allow them to be bad parents.  Or using the “autism card” to gain pity.

And the pages went on, and on, and on.

Yes, there were legitimate posts there as well, ie, “How do I stop my child from using autism as an excuse?”  Did I see those?  No.  My feathers were ruffled as I focused on the negative ones.

With squinty eyes I started clicking here, clicking there.  Saying an occasional, “WHAT?!?!?” when I read some of the posts.

I got up and walked around.

Then I personalized the messages I read.  In my world, I know there is a list of people who do not believe in autism, do not believe autism exists in my family, that believe my husband and I are bad parents and/or do not support my family.

They became the faces of the people who authored the pages of posts I read.

And I thought, “Just one day.  Just walk in my shoes one day.  Discipline?  Think you can discipline autism out of them?”

My mind went through the events we have been through, and I cried.  How our lives changed.

Then, I thought of my kids.

What if I had never reached out for help?  Where would they be right now?  In 5 years? 10?

What if we continued to try to solve our problems with discipline.  What if they grew up thinking they were bad kids.  Constanly seen as a behavior issue.  What would that do to them?  How much frustration can one house hold?  How much stress?  How much yelling?

 

I don’t use autism as an excuse for bad behavior.  Bad behavior is bad behavior.  My husband and I are not bad parents.  We are trying our best.  My kids are not bad kids.  They make mistakes, all kids do.  We teach them from their mistakes.  And they learn from them.

 

I recognize everyone walks a different road.  This was the road laid out for us.  And I love our road.

I look at the titles of the posts that got me upset.  I realize, that in some cases, I can talk till I am blue in the face but my words will fall on deaf ears.

But that doesn’t shut me up.

I continue to speak up about autism and our experiences, hoping to help bring more light and understanding to autism.  To be a part of the autism community as a voice and a safe place for discussion.

And hopefully, for those upsetting post titles to be replaced one day with something more positive.

Personally, I want the world to understand autism, to see my kids are not bad kids.  Because each day I send them out into the world and the world needs to be ready to accept them.

For my kids, I will do everything to help them understand themselves, feel good about themselves.  Find the right tools to succeed each day.

Because one day they will be adults, and they will go into the world without me by their side.  And I will hope that the work I do today will have helped paved a road to help create a world that is more understanding of autism and ready to accept and include my family in it.

 

25 thoughts on “Autism as an Excuse?

  1. It’s disgusting what people will do and say when they have no idea about an issue. I was constantly being told how I could make my kids mind or be a better parent. The worst were my husband’s family. They were constantly telling me how great the kids were with them and that they didn’t need medicine. And then they actually spend more than a couple of hours with them and the reactions change. I think I’ve told you this before, but I’ve even sent my kids to some of these family members without their medicine and they now make sure they have it every time.

    1. I agree – it is very frustrating. So glad your family sees the difference now, and makes sure your kids have the medicine so everyone is happy!

  2. I hear you! It hurts so much whenever I hear comments that blame kids or their parents. I’m glad you celebrate reaching out to get support and saved your children from being hurt by adopting the story that they are ‘bad’. What people say is ‘bad’ is basically an expression of their own fear and frustration. Maybe they’re wanting to protect themselves from feeling guilty if they’re annoyed or frustrated in response to something a child is hearing or doing. I think having a child on the spectrum teaches us to look deeper and listen from the heart: to nurture our own needs and try to understand and support our kids in knowing and fulfilling theirs. I’m glad I can across Marshall rosenbergs book nonviolent communication when my kids were young. I found it helped so much to start looking at everything as an attempt to meet needs … and that our needs matter as parents too.

    1. Definitely – I listen from the heart because I know they are speaking from the heart. The book sounds great – I will check it out!

  3. You are a brave and positive person. 🙂 It takes courage to understand the things a person with autism goes through. You are a great parent. Your kids will become amazing adults. 🙂

  4. I’m doubly bad because not only am I a “bad parent” when Ben is having a difficult moment, I’m also a “faker” or “lazy” or “drug seeker” because of my Fibromyalgia. Thank goodness there are still many kind people amongst all the rude, judgey ones. Sometimes it’s very difficult but I’m always looking for that silver lining.

    1. People can be very mean – but I agree – there are kind ones out there, too. They are so wonderful! Let’s keep our eyes on the silver linings 🙂

  5. The only excuse autism gives you is an excuse to excell above the crowd like you are doing so well! You give other parents of children with autism hope and gidance by offerin to share the resources that have helped you with your own kids.

  6. In England it takes so long to be diagnosed, because they don’t want to have to help you. My daughter tried to get a diagnosis from age 2 until finally got it at 10. All that time she only had help with ‘learning disabilities’. I don’t know how she managed.

    1. That sounds really frustrating. I feel very blessed that the Pediatrician picked up on it so early in Declan.

  7. Very well said. I’ve been diagnosed at 32, it was able to solve the mystery to so many struggles in my life, unfortunately cannot ever mend them.

  8. My soon to be 18 year old has autism. I’ve heard the discipline spiel too. Being in a lot of special needs places, I have seen parents use excuses but I choose to realize we are all fighting a pretty hard battle. Some days it’s just hard! I always try to focus on the good. It’s one thing I dislike about “the system”. Seems like they want a running report of all the bad stuff. It’s enough to drive a parent to anxiety! I’m going through the transition stuff right now and I have cried about 5 days out of 7. People should learn to shut it. It’s hard for me to take all the stuff thrown at me plus the rude comments. Hang in there! You are doing the best you can.

  9. Our worlds are so alike,i too have an autistic son,and people constantly staying “he’s coming along so well” or “don’t worry he’ll grow out of it”, it’s like a deep thump to the core..I’m a busy mum,and yes I find some days more challenging than others but you know what?? The average joe who has no children and lives on his own has just as many challenges I’m sure,I’m proud of him and proud of us also..we the parents will determine any possible outcomes our children will be responsible of..so in “our own wee world” we can solve this together,I’m writing my blog now (I’ve just started it actually,mainly about my son and how life treats us all) and it’s great to see more awareness raised for our precious children,women should empower one another,and in the end it’s the strangers who will pull you back up not your family..🌈❤ thank you for that wee post!!

    1. Wow, yes! So nice to connect! I love meeting other autism families – to share stories and offer each other support. I agree, we will empower one another, raise awareness and help pick each other up. So happy to connect!

  10. Great post! I think autism is such a huge part of our lives that it’s easy to underestimate how little people still know about it. A woman at the dentist last week looked at Jake charging up and down the waiting room, quoting lines from Toy Story, and certainly looked as if she thought he was out of control. As I started to get mad, I realised she’d just jumped to the wrong conclusion because she hadn’t thought about the alternatives. I explained and she was lovely. One more person ticked off the list! 😉

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