Autism

Two steps back for Autism Awareness (BBC & Telegraph article)

How many times has an Autism parent heard “they’ll grow out of it.” I heard it often before my girl got her diagnosis and it often used to rile me as I knew in my heart that she was Autistic even before her second birthday.
I haven’t heard the comment lately, that was until a rather unhelpful article popped up on my twitter feed.

I’ll attach the link at the end as I want to get my point across before you all drift off into the article from the Beeb website (similar one on Telegraph and who knows where else!)

I don’t know how many times I have had to explain to people that Autism is a spectrum disorder and that everyone is different and functions differently. It’s like trying to decide on a skin tone, we are not white or black we are a million shades in between. Well apparently the researches who put together this little study would do well to remember the S in ASD.

They are pointing out than many children “grow out” of their Autism and progress to a level where they function academically and socially on a par with their peers. That’s great and very true, look at Miss Montana in America, she is flying the flag for Autistic children and has come so far since she was a scared little girl who didn’t fit in. However she has coping strategies that she has learnt over time, it’s not her natural state and I wonder how many of these “grown out” children have similar coping methods.

I lived in Spain for a while and many English speaking children were brought over by their parents and integrated into Spanish life and culture. The younger they were the easier they picked up the language and yet in their minds they think in their native language even when speaking fluent Spanish. This is how I imagine life is for these children. It’s not difficult or a hardship but they have had to learn to fit in, to read facial cues, body language etc.

I am in no way saying their claims cannot happen and I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish children did grow out of their condition. I want my daughter to have the best possible life she can, who doesn’t? The danger with this article is that it adds fuel to fire of people who are unsympathetic to the needs of the Autistic. Why should people be aware about ASD if simply children grow out of it? Those grandparents and teachers who refuse to see the disability will say they read on the Mighty BBC website that children can in fact grow out of their ‘ways’ and become ‘normal.’

I know headlines are meant to grab us and grab us they have as the Autism community is buzzing with this latest piece of news and the impact it’ll have. All I ask is that people read the whole article and when they get to end spare a thought for the children and adults who aren’t high functioning and won’t grow out of their condition, and then think about those only twenty or thirty years ago and how they would have been treated.

We have come so far and need to keep moving forward, yes it’s nice to have hope and I do in bucket loads but sometimes I just think the headlines could be a little more considerate and a lot more careful.

As promised 😉 Offending article

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2 thoughts on “Two steps back for Autism Awareness (BBC & Telegraph article)

  1. I found your blog via twitter and thought I’d drop in and say hi. I have two children on the spectrum; one with ASD and the other with aspergers. I have no idea how they will mature though I am led to believe that my aspergers daughter may have a better outcome. But there is no certainty about this; she has learning difficulties as well as her aspergers and it is likely that even if she finds coping strategies later in life she will continue to find life difficult. For me, I’m not hanging on to the hope that my children will outgrow their ASDs because I don’t think they will but what I do hope for is that they (and us) can find ways to help them manage their lives. Great post.

    1. Thanks for the comment, I know how you feel. I have hope that strategies will be put in place so that all our children can have the best life possible whatever that is. I just don’t like people being fed false hope from a study of 34 high functioning children who are getting top notch treatment. It’s misleading and not representative when most of us are fighting to get basic therapies for our kids….and breath 😉

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