Things I wish people would think about before opening their mouths (or keyboards).
1. You can't just walk up to your family doctor, say, "I think my kid has XYZ", and walk out with a diagnosis. This is true of the flu, of a broken bone, or even an ear infection. It is also true of diagnoses such as autism and ADHD.
2. You can't just walk into a school and demand your child have an IEP, and walk away with one. even when something is wrong, it can be very difficult to get the school to acknowledge that it has an impact on your child's education.
3. Just because you have a diagnosis does not automatically qualify you for an IEP.
4. Not all children with autism or ADHD take medications.
5. Most of the kids with autism or ADHD who do take medications are on anxiety medications. Think hard about what you take anxiety medications for when you do not have autism or ADHD. Guess what? That is what kids with autism or ADHD are taking them for. Think hard about that.
6. Kids with autism or ADHD are not lazy, crazy, or stupid. You can't beat the autism or ADHD out of them.
7. Not all kids with autism get a government check.
8. Kids with disabilities have the same rights to life, liberty, and happiness as everybody else. In this country, that includes education- even if you think they are "uneducate-able". They are still human beings, and they are still members of your community.
9. Using foul language and ugly words just emphasizes that you are a mean, ignorant, ugly person.
10. Saying/typing any of the above, and then justifying it by saying you work with special needs kids of any kind, have a medical degree of any kind, or have an educational degree or experience of any kind, also emphasizes that you are mean and ignorant. It also makes me want to track down who you are, to make sure your degrees and licenses are reviewed, and to be sure you do not really work in direct contact with any vulnerable population of any kind.
Because, seriously? Mean people suck. I wish we could put them in a nice social skills class, so they would have a chance to become constructive and positive members of society, rather than blood- and soul-sucking leeches.
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Amen! #6 hit a sore spot with me. My mother would tell me that I'm too easy on him, just spank him and he'll be fine ~insert huge eyeroll here~.
#10 - It's funny you mention this - I was talking with a friend and relating a story this weekend. We were at a Chanukah party at the Rosenbach Museum a few years ago. My son was being... well... my son. Going back and forth from activity to activity in his usual busy style when a strange woman walked up to me and said "he's classified right?" I looked at her strangely and she said "please tell me you are getting him services". I was horrified (even though I was getting him services). She went on to explain that she was a special education teacher which, for me, made it worse. "Thank you stupid bitch for pointing out my son's behavior in front of all these strangers and driving home how different my child is".
And even when they take them for anxiety they don't work 100%.
I've learned to roll my eyes at the news article comments I read online.
My fav is being constantly told "I know if you use that diet (then they pause) it'll cure the autism". Then I have to explain why in some kids it helps (the passing for normal one) and with some kids it doesn't (the severe one).
Sometimes it would be simpler if they said nothing at all.
Agree with mostly everything you wrote. Though in my state, ALL children with autism are covered by medicare, even those who come from exceedingly wealthy families with private insurance. It's not the same as a check, but it's a big deal. I thought that was across all states, but perhaps not.
Also worth mentioning that the only medication currently approved to treat the symptoms of autism is Risperidone, which is not an anti-anxiety med. That doesn't mean that kids with autism (and especially kids with ADHD) don't take other meds or that they don't have significant issues from anxiety and benefit from anti-anxiety drugs. I do think there is often but not always a significant difference in symptoms and behavior challenges in kids with ADHD and autism. That doesn't mean one is worse then the other but it does mean that treatment often differs. I have seen the biggest difference in kids with these diagnoses when it comes to communication - don't know if you would agree with that.
Again, I wish you and Andy and Joey didn't have to deal with all of that, adn that you never had the experience(s) necessary to write that post....
Thinking of you guys.
It is my understanding that taking medication specifically for autism symptoms is not common. But kids under constant threat of having nervous breakdowns, autistic or not, often take anti-anxiety meds.
You should compile this into a chapter in your book.
Also? I think you should write a book.
I hate to say it, but in this case, your understanding may be wrong. In Joey's community or your experience it may be accurate, but not across the board and certainly not across the pediatric or educational world. Something very important to remember is that Joey is 1) verbal and 2) does not present (at least not through this blog) as a prototypical child with Autism -- not that there is such a thing, except that there is and that while Joey's symptoms of anxiety may be targeted with anti anxiety meds, a child with a more typical presentation of Autism would not likely be started on an SSRI or other antianxiety med as a first (or second or third) line of treatment. Again, not saying it's right, just saying that it is what it is. And having accurate facts sometimes makes a huge difference, whether fair or not.
I find Joey is actually very middle-of-the-road as someone who presents with autism, in terms of severity and variety of manifesting challenges. Please keep in mind that Joey did not begin verbal, there has been a huge amount of effort made to help him with language. Even now, as "verbal", he has atypical and limited use of language. His meds are not a first, second, or third line of treatment. I think I might think about it being sixth or seventh, actually. There are other children in our community who are not on the full biomed route (their world is full of pills, shots, and concoctions it seems) we have met who take other meds, but almost all of them are anti-anxiety meds at the bottom of it. A few also take anti-seizure meds regularly. I know of two who have severe issues with communication and behavior who are on anti-psychotic meds. There are also a couple who take meds for hyperactivity. Most take nothing at all, but that may be because we know so many of them from the speech or OT offices, so they are working on those kinds of therapies as first line.
BUt at any rate, ASSUMING kids are on drugs, and making comments such as "this is all a conspiracy of Big Pharma!" or "parents just want to have these diagnoses so they can drug their kids!" are big, honking red flags that you are dealing with a Mean Person Who Sucks.
Oh - should have been more specific. When I said first or second or third line of treatment, I meant first or second or third line of medication treatment. I am taking it as a given (I know, I know) that medication is being tried only after numerous other interventions/treatments/therapy didn't work.
BUT you are definitely right about assuming kids on drugs - I find the opposite, actually, at least in the public school system in one of the largest systems in the country - that most children with ASD are not on any drugs, even though I suspect some would benefit from anti-anxiety meds or others - or obnoxious comments are definitely Mean People Who Suck.
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