“Declan has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).”
The eyebrows go up as the eyes go down to look at the ground.
I see it. Don’t worry, I gotcha. You are sharing your “Yeah, right…” feeling loud and clear.
Of course this is not the only response I got when I told someone Declan had been diagnosed with autism. But I have found that it is one response that I could get. When I finally found the courage to cross the border from silence to say the words, to share the information, I was met with all kinds of responses.
The one mentioned above is one of my least favorites.
I understand that not everyone understands autism, or thinks of the person with autism as very withdrawn, unable to speak or care for themselves. I spoke about this and other responses in my post, “Maybe It’s Not Autism” found here.
Autism brought isolation to our family. We are slowly trying to get out a little more to provide Declan with more experiences as he is able. I spoke about the Social Isolation of the Autism Family in my post, found here.
Some people did not know what to say to me, so they stopped talking to me. Some people didn’t believe in the diagnosis, so they stopped talking to me. For both instances, I advocate for knowledge and acceptance for our family and for my children on the Autism Spectrum.
ADHD is not a Hoax
Recently I was speaking with a friend who asked me if I had heard Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was fraud. His wife had told him the founder of the disorder (Leon Eisenberg) admitted he made up the diagnosis before he died. Consequently, ADHD is a hoax.
So I began the research.
I found a lot of articles out there like this one: “Before his death, father of ADHD admitted it was a fictitious disease.”
To sum up the article: If you know someone diagnosed with ADHD, they are probably just fine. ON HIS DEATH BED Leon Eisnberg admitted ADHD was a fictitious disease and the children today are being prescribed pills that are setting them up to be adults living a life of drug addiction and failure.
So, I kept going. Apparently others did, too.
Turns out, their is a misinterpretation happening.
In his last interview (7 months before he died) Eisenberg said something similar to, “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease.” When you put the statement in context and allow for variations translating from German to English, Eisenberg wasn’t stating that ADHD isn’t a real disorder but that he thought the influence of genetic predispositions for ADHD were vastly overestimated as opposed to social/environmental risk factors.
The Autism Fad
Like ADHD there seems to be a lot of skepticism when someone is diagnosed with Autism. There are no physical tests or scans for these disorders and lot of people are being diagnosed with ADHD and Autism more than ever before.
Consensus? ADHD is real. ADHD is complex and affects many people around the world, including adults. Are some people misdiagnosed? Sure. Over diagnosed and under diagnosed. But children and adults who are struggling and finding benefit from ADHD treatments should not be ashamed.
Autism went from a diagnosis that only a very few people were diagnosed with to a very large number. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that 1 in 68 people have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Why the rise? Is Autism to be considered another fad diagnosis? The issue has been discussed again in articles like the ones listed here (“How Did Autism Become the Latest Fad Disorder?”)and here.(“Is Autism a Popular Fad Diagnosis?”)
Like the consensus with ADHD, ASD is real. ASD is complex and you must meet all the criteria to be diagnosed. It affects children and adults all around the world. Are some people misdiagnosed? Yep – over diagnosed and under diagnosed.
Why is autism diagnoses on the rise? In the past, Autistic Disorder and Asperger’s were separate diagnoses under Pervasive Developmental Disorders. In 2013, Autism became a spectrum disorder and houses both disorders from mild to severe symptoms. Autism Spectrum Disorder encapsulates a lot more now.
On a personal note, Autism is not a fad in this house. My children face different obstacles. They are involved in different therapies and treatments to help them with their obstacles. These therapies and treatments are very helpful to our entire family. We are not ashamed with the diagnosis and are thankful for the help.
How can I help clarify Autism Spectrum Disorder for someone who doesn’t know? Tell you the signs of Autism, found here from the National Autism Association: