When I finally received the diagnosis for my son’s Autism Spectrum Disorder, the last thing I expected to have to do was to have to defend it. I’ve lost count of the number of family and friends who have questioned it.
“But he seems so normal,” they say, which is fine.
At first I wasn’t offended by comments like this because quite often he does seem “normal”. However one person took it too far, sitting me down and listing all the reasons why he wasn’t autistic.
He makes eye contact with me…
He talks quite well…
If he is autistic he isn’t severe…
I’m pretty sure they don’t have a psychology degree, nor do they specialise in Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses, so I decided to discount everything she’d said.
However soon after I shared the news with someone else, who immediately said, “Are you sure. A lot of people push for the diagnosis so they can claim welfare payments. Also a friend of mine had her son’s school try to tell her that he was autistic so they could claim funding.
Wait a minute. Have I just been accused of faking my son’s autism?
I’ve heard autistic kids are gifted musicians and after watching this I’m planning to buy mine a piano. Post continues after the video.
I was stunned. I didn’t have a chance to talk to her about what she said and have since become quite upset by it. How could she think that I would want this? How could she suggest I wasn’t sure, that I wasn’t thorough?
Unfortunately she isn’t the only one to have suggested this happens, although most people stop short of accusing me of it. As hard as it is to believe, apparently some parents and schools do push for an autism diagnosis so they can receive money.
How wrong. How incredibly offensive.
How could anyone wish for their children to have extra challenges to face? To label them with something they don't have for money is so wrong. This is something future employers will know about, that family and friends will know about. As parents of autistic children know, these children don't care that they are autistic. It's hard to get them to care about anything.
Without going into the process of having my son diagnosed, the days and weeks it took, the assessments he completed, the 20-plus page report I have received, the years of symptoms he showed and the support of his loving teachers, I would like to assure everyone that my son is autistic.
While I have no choice but to believe that some parents and schools have wrongly claimed benefits, I can assure you I am not one of them.
My son has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Yes, he is mild. No, they didn't get it wrong.
But thanks for your concern.
Have you ever heard of people using their kids to commit welfare fraud?