One of the most annoying things that happens to us- fortunately far less often than it used to- is when people (complete strangers!) walk up to us in public places and recommend discipline for Joey. The behavior that people find unacceptable was most often that even as a larger child, he would often ride in the cart or walk around the cart. However, he does occasionally squeak or squeal in public when he has been denied an item or when being guided away from ordinary misbehavior, such as touching items on the shelves or begging for toys. Suggesting that I swat my child's bottom is simply and plainly Rude.
We now have our strategies in place for dealing with Rude People. My most common response now is to smile, thank them for their helpful advice, and walk away. If I am blocked at that point, I then note that Joey is autistic, and we are helping him learn to cope with public situations. This deals with the vast majority of Rude People. One thing I have not had to deal with is someone insisting that autism is the diagnosis-du-jour, a-la-Michael Savage. I think I would have to exert a great deal of energy to not slap someone who said something like that.
Fortunately, most the people we meet and strangers who approach us are mostly curious, helpful, considerate, gracious people who show much understanding and patience with us, and who can apparently read my bumper stickers or purse buttons (Yes! You can ask me about Autism!) The general push for awareness has had some effect.
With Andy's new diagnosis, I was expecting the ignorance of strangers- though honestly, I've only had a couple of encounters about Andy's behavior, as when it is just him and me, he's usually quiet. It is the ignorance of friends that has been startling.
After all, it is widespread in popular culture to consider ADHD to be a farce, a medical label for poor parenting rather than a real condition, somehow a conspiracy of bad parents to justify lack of discipline and medicate their kids into a stupor. Comments sections on parenting are full of this widespread attitude. The idea that kids are "overmedicated" for "rambunctiousness" even pops up in mainstream media. It is socially acceptable to deny ADHD and denigrate parents of children diagnosed with it.
However, I would think that if a friend of yours breaks the news that they have a child just diagnosed with the condition, upbraiding that friend just may not be the best way to show support and concern. Maybe that's just me. Starting an anti-ADHD diatribe and demanding second and third opinions may not be the best response to a friend who may already be upset and worried. I'm just saying. I can also assure you that it makes your friend very skittish to share the news with other people, and thus cut them off from needed support- especially when this is the reaction you get from not just one, but several "close" friends.
They may even turn to their blog and test the waters of their online friends, whom they consider more understanding of disability and conditions including ADHD.
Personally, I think the absolute best response I have gotten thus far was from Stimey, who (poor thing) got it full and immediate on the phone the day we got the verdict: "So... how do you feel about that?"
I am so fortunate to have you guys, folks like Farmwifetwo, Maddy, Niksmom, Club166, and Stimey who understand that a diagnosis is really about getting appropriate accommodations and services. Andy hasn't changed; we have a new perspective to consider what is best for him and how to help him learn important skills to get through life. Just like Joey didn't change when he was diagnosed as autistic. Andy is still going to be his energetic himself (I have no intention of medicating him unless it is proven absolutely necessary, just as we do not medicate Joey).
Yes, reminders of how to get through the process of getting Andy what he needs are appreciated; but lectures on ADHD as a "pseudo-condition" are really just annoying right now. I need real information. Lots of information. Accurate information. And I need it by the 15th, when our Child Study is scheduled.