I’ve seen articles like this recently, and I thought I’d mention my thoughts.
Autism isn’t over-diagnosed and not everyone can get it. It’s only getting noticed now as information has been updated over the years. Women are getting more diagnoses now, whereas before, they would get misdiagnosed as bipolar (One of my podcast guests had this issue).
CW – mention of suicide, mentions of abuse in the system with parents and schools. Mild profanity.
Autism isn’t a trend. The changes to ASD help create less of a superiority complex. It’s not to “lower the bar” so that everyone is autistic. That’s just absurd. All conditions get updated, so they can change the outdated information. There has been controversy over the ASD label as being too broad and that High/Low functioning or Aspergers should make a return. I think it shouldn’t, and those who were originally diagnosed with Asperger label can identify as such as they wish, however they need to realise its autism. Not mild autism. They’re not better than other autistic people. Also, Neurodiversity has been targeted as been described as “normalising problems”. That’s not what neurodiversity is. We are not normalising difficulties.
The increasing diagnosis of autism is seen as an epidemic. Why is this seen as a problem? Why the scary words? It’s not a disease. We should be glad that those who had autistic symptoms for years are finally seeking answers. As it’s a spectrum, symptoms vary and it can be assessed more efficiently. It can be a good thing to see an increasing number of diversity of neurological differences. However, nothing is perfect. People can get misdiagnosed. Other conditions such as ADHD can have similar symptoms and can generate confusion. This is why a second opinion (or third) from a professional is best! I think it’s wise to be vigilant. No system is perfect. Especially in the UK.
- But why is Autism getting the attention?
The media are scared because Autism is going mainstream, so they dismiss it as a trend. They believe that all of a sudden, it’s a problem. They always see autism as a bad thing and don’t want to change that mindset. It’s sad because we see enough crap with bleach “cures”, problematic 100 day kits, genetic removal posts, and yet, they don’t help the autistics that are currently living!
I also feel that it’s because we autistic people are slowly raising our voices against the fat cat charities that keep promoting outdated information and quack doctors. Autistic children getting assaulted is getting more attention in the news, and I don’t see improvements with society helping those who need the most help. Stereotypes flood the media, so they are sceptical that Autistics can actually speak out against the societal norm.
- Issues with schools and dodgy parents.
A lot of schools are still ignorant with learning difficulties. Some schools may give certain students extra help because they can’t be bothered to help them, so they slap labels like autism or ADHD or even Dyslexia (which is pretty shocking). Some parents are just as bad, as they think that if their parent is behaving oddly, they “have” to have autism, so they fight to get a diagnosis, just to make their child look more disabled than they actually are. Sadly, this is the reality. Dodgy parents misusing autistic labels for their child when they aren’t even on the spectrum. However, we shouldn’t give these people all the attention. The news like to overload the papers with this crap so that those who are actually autistic, get left out. We all get judged more because we don’t look “severe enough” or they listen to outdated information (for example, vaccines). Even the more “severe” cases don’t get enough help. It’s a sad state of affairs.
- My diagnosis experiences.
When I realised I might be autistic, I didn’t seek a diagnosis to make myself “look good” for my health records. I wanted to see if I had that diagnosis. I took a test at University, I spoke to my psychiatrist and psychologist and got confirmed by them both that I was on the spectrum. Autism made sense to me, so it was right to get a diagnosis. Throughout my childhood, I had countless doctors appointments to see if I had this or that diagnoses, and I didn’t. But my family was persistent I had this or that. I didn’t know what to believe, so in my adult years. I decided to see what I actually had for myself, and what they missed out. The family mainly focused on my physical health and they thought I had something more “severe” which I didn’t. This was to make them look good, and the doctors weren’t having it. I seeked an autistic diagnosis for me, not for anyone else. I also recieved an additional diagnosis for Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
- Masking can prevent a diagnosis?
Some autistics are prone to masking. Hence why it can be tough to get a diagnosis. We live in a world that’s not fit for us. An NT world. We adapt and survive, yet it causes more pain in the end. It’s one reason why there are many suicides with autistic people. Masking doesn’t mean you’re not autistic, we all mask. It’s just autistics mask as NT’s for their own protection or to fit in.
So, are we over-diagnosed? No. People are still ignorant about this. If we were over-diagnosed, everyone would be “autistic”. Just because there’s more autistic kids in the classroom, doesn’t mean it’s automatically people slapping labels on them. The world is more neurodiverse than you think. We are exposing that more to society, and slowly, It’s causing them to crack. Conditions change, and how we see them can change, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s overextended.