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It is so difficult to fight ignorance

Updated on March 1, 2010

outdated theories hinder how ASD people are treated

      In 1943, Leo Kanner first used the term autism in the English language.  In 1938, Hans Asperger had begun to study what was called autistic psychopaths in Vienna.  He was working with his "little professors"  who later were to be known as person diagnosed with "Asperger's Syndrome", amazingly not adopted as a true diagnosis until 1994.  That diagnosis is now in danger of being sucked back into the large umbrella of a diagnosis known as autism.  The spectrum is so wide and there are so many levels of this disorder, it deserves subtitles and various diagnosis within the general one.  This disorder has been shunned and ignored for so many years it is disgraceful.

     If one reads the theories put out in 1943 by Leo Kanner, we should be appalled.  He suggested that it was the fault of the MOTHER.  He called mothers "refridgerator mothers" and said that the child's behavior of isolation was because the mother had rejected the infant during gestation and early infancy.  How awful as a mother to be accused of such a thing.  But what is worse is that still today in the year 2010, parents are still blamed.  Parents are repeatedly accused of "making the situation worse" or "drawing attention to the behaviors" therefore causing the disorder.  How absurd!  How ridiculous and ignorant can people be?

     You may be reading this and thinking, "she is way off base, noone would think that in this day", think again.  I have been accused by EDUCATED people, people who should know better of causing this, people who are related to my son.  People that if they took a good look in the mirror would notice that they too have the same tendencies.  If I were to ignore these behaviors as suggested by these people, would my son have come as far as he has?  I don't know, my guess is no, because he was a child who developed superior language at an early age, and had begun to lose his language skills at age 2 and a half.  This was the major alert to us that something was wrong.  If we had chosen to ignore this and not draw attention to it, he would have lost his language completely, I am most certain of this.  He still has to be drawn out to have a conversation after many years of people working with him on a daily basis, but he is capable of it, and that is the important part.

     I just heard last week from a young parent that her friend's child probably did not have Asperger Sydrome,  because the parents are always overreacting.  After looking into the situation, this young person was so off base.  The child most certainly has issues consistent with Aspergers and if anyone took five minutes to read about it, they would know that the diagnosis was correct.   The information is available,  It is all over the internet, it is in every bookstore now.  There is no longer an excuse for this blatant ignorance.

      When I was an undergrad, I took a Special Education class.  The term autism was in my textbook.  There was one sentence devoted to it.  By the time I entered graduate school and took graduate level Special Education classes, we were up to a paragraph.  I truly understand the ignorance, I do, the information was limited and unavailable for so long.  But it isn't anymore.  This disorder is not a hoax.  It is not a way for the medical profession to make money, it is real, I know I live with it, I know many people who live with it or are touched by it, trust me, we didn't cause it.  We did not shut off our children or make them be like this.  This is who they are.  We are simply trying to help them be the very best they can be.



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      Baileybear 7 years ago

      as an AS parent of a AS son, my husband and I get blamed a lot for being 'bad' parents. I think the empathy criteria needs review too - it's not that I don't have feelings - in fact my son and I are very sensitive - but we find it hard to show how we care. My family has accepted diagnosis. My husband's family who have despised me for years (for my personality it seems) refuse to accept my son's diagnosis. Ironically, my MIL works with special needs children. But as long as it's not in her family