I have heard the arguments against telling a child they have a disability. But I am assuming it is only with mild, invisible disability like autism where this is followed through. First let me say that although I am comparing autism to real disabilities like blindness or amputation, the suffering isn’t comparable. I just want to compare what a lack of knowledge means.
Take for example a child born blind. His parents are told to never tell him he has a disability because that might make him feel bad about himself or might make him give up on himself. So the boy is never told he is blind, no the knowledge of normalcy is not inbuilt he may never realise on his own. Sure he’ll work out pretty quickly that there is something wrong with him; he falls over things more often than his friends, he is having trouble distinguishing pink from blue (because he is 100% blind).
His friends don’t understand what’s wrong with him so they sometimes lash out at the boy in frustration. So if he is never told he is blind, he might even hear about blind people he feels so sorry for them life is hard enough for him imagine if he couldn’t see, although he never quite worked out what seeing was.
So with all the advantages of being a normal person he still feels like he can’t keep up with his peers. What is he to think, I will tell you what I thought.
- He will think he is stupid and incompetent because no matter how hard he tries he can not keep up with his peers.
- He will think he is clumsy and or whiny because he is often in pain but he never hears anyone else complaining and he is no different to them so he must be whiny, needy & demanding.
- He will know he is lazy, he has all the advantages of his peers, more probably there is nothing wrong with him after all, so if he just tried harder.
- He will try and fail over and over again, he will not seek help. Why on earth would he need a stick to feel where he is if his peers don’t? Why should he learn Braille he isn’t blind?
I grew up believing that light and light colours hurt everyone, they all just put up with it. I didn’t know a headache was any pain in your head, I thought pain, real pain was something worse than anything I had ever experienced because injuries and illnesses that I was diagnosed with were never as bad as the pain I felt when “there is nothing wrong”. I was lazy, stupid, stubborn, insensitive, egotistical and demanding. Or I would have been if I told people what I was really experiencing. After all no one else was complaining & doctors kept telling my mother and I that there was nothing wrong with me.
3 thoughts on “For Goodness Sake Tell the Poor Kid He/She has Autism”
I’m in full agreement.
It’s vital to debunk the stigma over mental illness. I love your blog. Thank you for your support.
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